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Search and rescue product development calls on batteries

[fa icon="calendar"] 20-Mar-2018 15:07:00 / by Rob Brown

Rob Brown

In an emergency, search and rescue devices need to be put swiftly to use and cannot shutdown until the mission is complete.  Therefore, the source of power should be a vital consideration for OEMs early in the product development or design process.  Taking emergency beacons, drones and back-up generators as examples; here we consider how the functionality of these devices can dictate the battery design.

Emergency Beacons

emergency-beacon.jpgOver the last few months, emergency beacons have likely been powered down for the most part, yet they will need to spring back to the life as the weather improves and more people venture into the ocean.  Therefore, the batteries used will need to have a low self-discharge to retain power during prolonged periods of inactivity.  When in use, the power demands on beacons can vary depending upon whether they are ELT, EPIRB or PLB, as some will require more energy than others.  Furthermore, some beacons offer advanced functionality such as GPS tracking that can be constantly draining power.  A lithium ion battery (li-ion battery) can prove an effective choice in such circumstances.  Moreover, Li-ion can operate in temperatures as low as -40⁰c at a reduced discharge rate, which is another vital consideration as oceans are notoriously cold environments.  Size also matters, as small beacons can be stored inside lifejackets, making them easier to locate.  Ultralife currently offer thin cell products with a thickness of 0.4mm that are perfectly suited for use in portable electronics.


search-and-rescue-drones.jpgDuring new product development, size is also a vital consideration for manufacturers of drones, which can be used for surveillance by search and rescue teams.  Airborne vehicles cannot risk being weighed down by heavy batteries, so Ultralife offer a range of lightweight options that are well suited.  Another risk is that the battery could lose power at sea, which would have costly consequences, so taking extra precautions at the design stage to make the correct power selection is a must.

Back-up Generators

backup-power-generator.jpgExtensive research and development went into the design of our back-up generators that can be used to operate emergency equipment and lighting.  If you are manufacturing a tool to aid in a search and rescue operation then Ultralife’s URS0007 Power System is a lightweight and easily transportable power choice.  As there are often no warnings of an impending crisis, the power system can recharge from solar, wind, 24V vehicle or mains power source.  At full charge, it can provide over 40 hours of power for a 100Watt equivalent LED light and can hold charge for 6 months before needing recharge.

When it comes to protecting people in the ocean; batteries can provide invaluable power where it is needed most.  For over 25 years, Ultralife Corporation has been overseeing battery development for use in critical situations, with products certified to high standards of efficiency.  To find out more

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Image of emergency beacon from U.S. Army Africa

Topics: Manufacturing industry insight

Rob Brown

Written by Rob Brown

Marketing Executive with over 10 years' experience.