Battery Pack Certifications
What They Are, What They Cost, How Long Do They Take?
Lithium battery safety is at the top of the list for anyone who manufactures custom battery packs. The battery pack certifications listed here are near universal standard industry practice for leading companies in the electronic industry. Product safety is important to all product stakeholders and passing safety certifications are an independent means of assuring products are safe. The practice of testing to UL, IEC, and IEEC, is routine for companies with years of experience and with in-house resources to manage the process.
Below you will find a chart that outlines some general guidelines for costs and timing of these certifications.
|Packs Required||0||21||33 sealed, 11 open||16|
|Est Cost||$500||$5 – 10,000||$15 – 20,000||$5 - 7,000|
|Test Timing||3 weeks||6-8 weeks||10 - 12 weeks||4 – 6 weeks|
All of the costs and the lead times of these tests will vary depending on the battery construction, capacity, pack size, and cycle requirements. In our initial proposal we will provide you with the specifics for each based on your design.
- IEC testing includes CB certification.
- IEC and UL testing must be done after the transportation certification is complete.
In order to ship ANY lithium batteries products via air freight, the UN 38.3 test must be passed by the battery packs. New regulations were passed in 2016 that tighten requirements for shipments of lithium products and that forbid lithium batteries to be shipped on passenger aircraft. It is been projected by some that shipping lithium by air freight all together may eventually become forbidden. So currently, unless a company intends to be extremely restricted in its options for transporting their lithium batteries (ground transport as Class 9 Hazardous Goods), they will need to certify that their batteries have passed UN/DOT 38.3.
The UN (United Nations) issues recommendations for the transport of dangerous goods worldwide. The U.S. DOT (United States Department of Transportation) defines shipping regulations for the U.S. under 49 CFR, Sections 100 - 185. Section 173.185 specifically addresses specifications and exceptions and packaging for lithium batteries; section 172.101 covers shipping. Together, the UN and DOT guidelines define test requirements for the safe packaging and shipment of lithium metal and lithium ion batteries. Safety test criteria are defined in the "Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, Section 38.3."
UN/DOT 38.3 (also known as the T1-T8 Tests and UN ST/SG/AC.10/11/Rev. 5). Covers transportation safety testing for all lithium metal and lithium ion cells and batteries. The test criteria span 8 different tests (T1 - T8) and are all are focused on hazards associated with transportation.
See our United Nations Testing for more information.
IATA (International Air Transport Association)
To assist in understanding the complete requirements related to the transport of lithium batteries, including packing instructions, IATA has developed guidance for shippers, freight forwarders, ground handlers, airlines, and passengers. The 58th (2017) Edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) provides the definitions, classifications, exceptions, and prohibitions for shipping lithium batteries. While you don't need to submit product to get certification from IATA, any employee who will be responsible for shipping lithium batteries must pass a test to become certified to do so. It also requires that this person re-certify this qualification on a yearly basis.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
UL is an independent product safety certification organization which, in conjunction with other organizations and industry experts, publishes consensus-based safety standards. For lithium batteries, key standards are:
- UL 1642 (Lithium Batteries) – This standard is used for testing lithium cells. Battery pack level tests are covered by UL 2054.
- UL2054 (Requirements cover portable primary (no rechargeable) and secondary (rechargeable) batteries for use as power sources in products. These batteries consist of either a single electrochemical cell or two or more cells connected in series, parallel, or both, that convert chemical energy into electrical energy by chemical reaction).
- UL 2580 (Batteries for use in Electric Vehicles)
The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
IEC is a non-profit standards organization that writes International Standards for all electrical, electronic, and related technologies. IEC standards address general, safety, and transportation specifications. For lithium batteries, key standards are:
- IEC 62133 - Secondary Cells and Batteries containing Alkaline or other Non-Acid Electrolytes – Safety Requirements for Portable Sealed Secondary Cells and for Batteries made from them, for use in Portable Applications.
- IEC 60086-4 - Specifies tests and requirements for primary lithium batteries to ensure their safe operation under intended use and reasonably foreseeable misuse.
- IEC 61960 - Secondary Cells and Batteries containing Alkaline or other Non-Acid Electrolytes – Secondary Lithium Cells and Batteries for Portable Applications.
- IEC 62281 - Requirements for primary and secondary (rechargeable) lithium cells and batteries to ensure their safety during transport other than for recycling or disposal.
The European Union's CE Marking requirements help to ensure that all safety requirements are met. CE Marking is a self-declaration made by the manufacturer to acknowledge that a product meets requirements for EU product safety. The CE Mark does not apply to products sold in the U.S.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
ANSI is a private nonprofit organization which develops consensus-based standards. The ANSI C18 Standard specifies tests and requirements for portable primary lithium cells and batteries, both the chemical systems and the types covered in ANSI C18.3M, Part 1, to ensure their safe operation under normal use and reasonably foreseeable misuse. ANSI's safety standards for primary and rechargeable lithium and lithium-ion cells and batteries are:
- ANSI C18.2M, Part 2 (Portable Rechargeable Cells and Batteries - Safety Standard)
- ANSI C18.3M, Part 2 (Portable Lithium Primary Cells and Batteries - Safety Standard)
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
IEEE is an international non-profit organization covering technologies related to electricity, and develops safety standards for industry, including batteries. For lithium batteries, key standards which are design guidelines, not pass/fail safety standards are:
- IEEE 1725 (Rechargeable Batteries for Cellular Telephones) Design analysis criteria for qualification, quality, and reliability of rechargeable lithium ion and lithium ion polymer batteries for any device that utilize cellular phone capabilities it's operation. Also included in the standard are: battery pack electrical and mechanical construction, packaging technologies, and pack and cell level charge and discharge controls and overall system considerations.
- IEEE 1625 (Rechargeable Batteries for Multi-Cell Mobile Computing Devices) this standard establishes criteria for design analysis for qualification, quality, and reliability of rechargeable battery systems for portable computing.
Society of Automotive & Aerospace Engineers is a professional organization for the aerospace, automotive, and commercial vehicle industries. With hybrid and full electric vehicles now entering the marketplace in large numbers, the need for battery standards is getting greater attention and the SAE has created standards for these products that are very specific to that industry and the few large companies that manufacture batteries for vehicles.