Tag Archives: Workstations

Green Cubes Technology Announces New System Controller for Guardian DC Power Systems

Guardian Central Controller monitors and controls all system parameters for Guardian Lithium-ion batteries and rectifiers as a Power System

KOKOMO, IND. June 22, 2022 – Green Cubes Technology (Green Cubes), the leader in producing Lithium-ion power systems that facilitate the transition from lead acid batteries and Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) power to green Lithium-ion battery power, today announced shipping of the Guardian Central Controller (GCC) to accompany its Guardian family of Lithium-ion Battery Backup Units for stationary rack mount installations in the Telecom and Data Center industries.

Utilizing new hardware, the intelligent system controller boasts new features to support mission-critical customer needs including:

  • IPv6 native support
  • Dynamic IP address configuration
  • RS-485 MODBUS communication interface
  • Lithium-ion and VRLA Battery support
  • Guardian Battery Unit communications
  • SNMP Interface for seamless integration
  • Simple Ethernet connection for remote monitoring
  • Web or standalone PC application programming support

“The GCC is a compact intelligent system controller module that provides monitoring and control for a broad range of DC power systems deployed with Lithium-ion or legacy battery technology,” said Jeffrey VanZwol, Chief Marketing Officer for Green Cubes. “The GCC monitors all system parameters including DC voltage, rectifier current, rectifier temperature, system capacity, battery parameters, and circuit breaker status. The GCC provides uniform and universal management of our new line of Guardian Battery Back-up Units, Guardian rectifiers, third-party batteries, and other third-party ancillary systems.”

Alarm and warning notifications are indicated by front panel LEDs and through alarm contacts that allow remote signaling. External monitoring of alarms and system is accomplished through a USB or RS-232 port using PC-based PowCom™ software. Additionally, the GCC has an Ethernet port allowing control over a TCP/IP network and web-based support. SNMP Events and alarms can be integrated with customer OSS (Operation Support System) platforms.

For individual site conditions, the GCC supports programmable logic to monitor and control environmental and security conditions within the Telecom or Data Center. The GCC can monitor and control ancillary analog systems such as cabinet door alarms, temperature monitors, security and HVAC systems.

This announcement follows the release of the company’s Guardian family of Lithium-ion Battery Backup Units, announced late last year. Telecom and Data Center industries are required to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to support mission critical functions. These stationary applications require battery backup solutions that are reliable, safe and cost effective. Relative to traditional centralized Lead Acid back-up solutions, the Guardian family of Lithium-ion batteries from Green Cubes will support these same applications at a fraction of the weight, size and total cost of ownership.

The Guardian family consists of three sizes, ranging from 2 Rack Unit (RU) to 4 RU heights, fit in both 19” or 23” cabinets and support capacity ranges from 105 Ahr to 175 Ahr. The Guardian batteries provide a nominal 48 Volts output and will both charge and discharge up to 100 Amps. All Guardian batteries have active thermal management and embedded energy balancing technology to build scalable power systems for Telecom and Data Center applications.

About Green Cubes Technology

Green Cubes Technology develops and manufactures safe and reliable electrification solutions that enable its OEM and enterprise customers to transition from Lead Acid and Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) power to Lithium-ion battery power. Green Cubes utilizes proven hardware and software platforms to build the most reliable Lithium power solutions in its industries. With over 300 employees across six countries, Green Cubes has been producing innovative, high-performance and high-quality power solutions since 1986.

Green Cubes Technology Expands Executive Team

Industry Leader Expects Accelerated Growth from Continued Demand for Industrial Electrification

KOKOMO, IND. May 19, 2022 – Green Cubes Technology, a leader in electrification and clean, connected, cost-effective power solutions, today announced four significant executive appointments to its leadership team – Ken Gregory as Vice President of Supply Chain and Procurement, Alan Forster as Vice President of Sales for Americas, Rita Faunce as Vice President of Sales Operations and Customer Experience, and Rocio Castellanos as International Controller. These executives join Ken Johnson, who was appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) last year. The team will provide leadership to sales, supply chain, operations, manufacturing, and customer support functions for continued growth within Motive (including Ground Support & Materials Handling), Stationary (Telecom & Data Center), and Mobile (Industrial Automation) Power market segments.

“We’re very pleased to add so many talented professionals to Green Cubes’ executive team,” said Keith Washington, CEO of Green Cubes Technology. “This reflects the rapid growth of the company, and the leadership that each of these individuals bring to the company will help us continue to lead the charge to electrification.”

Mr. Gregory has a history of success with enterprise operations and transformation, customer experience, supply chain and channel/alliance sales across enterprise and consumer Information Technology, Education and Learning organizations. He has driven sustainable cultural and digital transformations in highly matrixed organizations resulting in increased revenue, enhanced customer confidence, organizational capability, and employee engagement. He brings over 25 years of core supply chain experience gained at IBM supporting its enterprise computer hardware segments. Mr. Gregory’s most recent experiences were at Pearson, a global leader in learning and education where he oversaw customer service and digital operations transformation.

Mr. Forster is responsible for managing and accelerating Green Cubes’ pipeline and revenue growth while developing its channel and sales enablement programs. In his recent role as Sales Director for the company’s Telecom and Data Center business unit (operating as Unipower), he helped rebuild sales and channel relationships, managed consistent quarterly growth, and increased sales channel coverage during the global pandemic. By working diligently with the Unipower team, he doubled bookings and revenue during a global supply chain and transportation slow down.

Ms. Faunce directs Green Cubes’ sales operations teams globally, drives its customer experience strategy, and will facilitate ownership of customer experience excellence. She has vast experience managing global teams in sales operations, customer service, and customer satisfaction with success in delivering customer facing programs that foster a spirit of transparency, continuous improvement, and mutual accountability in customer relationships. Ms. Faunce will implement continuous improvement plans, leverage customer insights and data, and work across multiple departments to ensure team members and leadership are aware of and dedicated to the goals of continuously improving the customer experience.

Ms. Castellanos joins Green Cubes as a key member of the global finance and accounting team. She is responsible for the internal and external financial reporting of all Green Cubes affiliated entities outside the U.S. In her role, she will support the entities in financial reporting topics and bridge the information to the U.S. headquarters. She will focus on continuous improvement of processes and deliverables to enhance financial performance visibility across the entities, as well as act as a strategic business advisor for International Operations. Ms. Castellanos brings over 20 years of experience and has worked for various companies including PwC, Swiss Life and Daniel Swarovski Corp.

The expansion of Green Cubes’ executive team follows the company’s announcement last year that it added a second 36,000 square foot domestic facility in Kokomo, Indiana, and expanded its product lines for Motive and Stationary Power to support accelerated growth in Material Handling and Telecom markets. The Kokomo facility is currently increasing its manufacturing throughput and is expecting a 150% increase in Motive Power shipments in 2022, relative to 2021. Additionally, Green Cubes previously announced that it established two new facilities in Europe and a Technology Center in Zurich, Switzerland.

About Green Cubes Technology

Green Cubes Technology develops and manufactures safe and reliable electrification solutions that enable its OEM and enterprise customers to transition from Lead Acid and Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) power to Lithium-ion battery power. Green Cubes utilizes proven hardware and software platforms to build the most reliable Lithium power solutions in its industries. With a global footprint across six countries, Green Cubes has been producing innovative, high-performance and high-quality power solutions since 1986.

Green Cubes Technology Announces Membership in CircuBAT Research Program

KOKOMO, INDIANA March 31, 2022 – Green Cubes Technology, a leader in electrification and Lithium power solutions, today announced its participation as a founding member in CircuBAT. CircuBAT is a Swiss research program that aims to create a Swiss circular business model for the production, application, and recycling of Lithium-ion batteries. Seven Swiss research institutions and 24 companies are joining forces to look for ways to boost sustainability in all stages of a battery’s life cycle.  

CircuBAT will focus on finding solutions that boost sustainability in all phases of a Lithium-ion battery’s life cycle. This will include extending the lifespan of batteries during their first application. Researchers hope to achieve this by developing optimal charging and discharging strategies as well as new concepts for battery construction that make repairs easy. The project also aims to put batteries to use as stationary energy storage systems after they are retired from their first mobility-related application. To that end, CircuBAT will look at the best ways of integrating these batteries at a local level and ensuring their safe and efficient operation. Finally, the researchers will look for solutions for remanufacturing batteries and recovering materials that enable large quantities of high-quality secondary raw materials to be used to produce new batteries.

Bern University of Applied Sciences BFH is the Leading House in the CircuBAT project. On the science side, an additional six Swiss research institutions are involved in the project: Empa, the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM), the University of St. Gallen (HSG), the Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences (OST), the Switzerland Innovation Park Biel / Bienne (SIPBB) and the EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology). These institutions are joined by 24 companies from economy and industry, among them Kyburz, LeClanche, Buhler and Green Cubes Technology.

As a founding member of CircuBAT, Green Cubes Technology has made a multi-year financial investment in the program. The company will also contribute first-use lithium-ion batteries for experimentation and testing within the program, provide engineering design services to develop new more-efficient batteries, and contribute intellectual property to achieve the objectives of CircuBAT.

Green Cubes Technology will participate in two working groups. The “First Use” group will focus on extending the life of first-use batteries through extensive analysis of deployed batteries in the field. Green Cubes Technology will contribute performance data collected from its prolific installed base of Lithium-ion batteries. The “Second Life” group will focus on creating second-use and second-life opportunities to minimize the total CO2 footprint of lithium-ion battery systems during their lifetime.

Since its inception 30 years ago, Green Cubes Technology has gained considerable experience minimizing the environmental impact of its deployed batteries. This positive impact will be amplified with a system of second life batteries, where the installed base of first use batteries is redeployed when they reach a certain age limit. The Lithium-ion cells used in Green Cubes Technology’s batteries are non-toxic, and are currently recycled and reprocessed at their end of life. Going forward, these cells can be repurposed into less demanding second life applications such as backup energy storage.

“We joined the CircuBAT research program because its mission is very well aligned with ours,” said Keith Washington, CEO of Green Cubes Technology. “We all want the same thing and that is a circular economy for Lithium-ion batteries. We are looking forward to sharing our experience, and giving electric mobility batteries a second life with our Swiss partners in the CircuBAT research program, as they strive to make the Swiss economy as sustainable as possible”.

More information on the research program can be found on its website: https://circubat.ch/

About Green Cubes Technology

Green Cubes Technology develops and manufactures safe and reliable electrification solutions that enable its OEM and enterprise customers to transition from Lead Acid and Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) power to Lithium-ion battery power. Green Cubes utilizes proven hardware and software platforms to build the most reliable Lithium power solutions in its industries. With over 300 employees across six countries, Green Cubes has been producing innovative, high-performance and high-quality power solutions since 1986.

Green Cubes Technology Awarded Patent for Modular Batteries for Medical and Industrial Mobile Workstations

KOKOMO, INDIANA 15 Dec, 2021 – Green Cubes Technology (Green Cubes), the leader in producing Lithium-ion (Li-ion) power systems that facilitate the transition from lead acid batteries and Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) power to green Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery power, today announced the patent award for modular Lithium-ion batteries for medical and industrial mobile workstations. These battery modules simplify transportation and disposal of Lithium-ion batteries.

The patent specifies a method of utilizing battery modules to build a scalable power system within the base of a mobile workstation. This modular approach enables the workstation operator to 1) select multiple increments of battery power for the workstation, 2) physically ship battery modules using less restrictive Department of Transportation (DoT) regulations, and 3) more easily dispose of the battery modules once they reach their end of life. When a traditional Lithium-ion battery in a mobile workstation reaches its end of life, it cannot be readily recycled because they weigh more than the typical eleven-pound threshold imposed by battery recyclers.

As indicated in USPTO patent # 11,189,875, the individual battery modules each weigh within the allowable limit to permit recycling at the end of their life, which can be conveniently done at many home improvement stores. Should the operator of the mobile workstation need to replace one or more battery modules, those individual battery modules can be easily replaced within the base of the workstation, and the expired battery module can be readily recycled. Battery modules within the workstation base can be connected together, so the power provided by the battery modules can be effectively combined and used to power the workstation for longer run times.

“We have utilized this patent to design integrated Lithium-ion power systems for some of the leading medical and industrial mobile workstation manufacturers,” said Jeffrey VanZwol, Chief Marketing Officer of Green Cubes. “Green Cubes pioneered the migration from Lead Acid to Lithium-ion power for the mobile workstation market, and effectively eliminated Lead for the material footprint of the modern mobile workstation. This patent enables our Lithium-ion power systems to provide even higher levels of convenience through the entire life cycle of our products. As a leader in rechargeable power solutions, this patent demonstrates that Green Cubes is committed to minimal ecological impact by enabling its customers to easily recycle Lithium-ion batteries.”

About Green Cubes Technology
Green Cubes Technology develops and manufactures a complete portfolio of lithium power systems that enable its OEM and enterprise customers to transition from Lead Acid and Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) power to Lithium-ion battery power.  Green Cubes utilizes proven hardware and software platforms to build the most reliable lithium battery systems in its industries.  With over 300 employees across six countries, Green Cubes has been producing innovative, high-performance and high-quality products since 1986.

Electronic Design: The Lithium-Ion Cells and Chemistries You Need to Know

An industry insider’s snapshot of Li-ion battery cells, covering the most popular sizes, formats, and chemistries. Given the diversity of Li-ion cells available, the focus is on cylindrical and prismatic cells in metal cases.

What you’ll learn:

  • The latest trends in lithium-ion cell sizes, formats, and chemistries.
  • What are the performance characteristics of popular lithium-ion cells? 
  • Who are the major cell suppliers for each lithium-ion cell chemistry?

The foundational building block of the batteries that supply power to everything from consumer electronics to electric vehicles is the lithium-ion cell.

Lithium-ion cells tend not to be standalone parts. They’re connected in series and parallel, forming a final assembly called a battery pack. But for each battery pack, the selected cell is what comes to define the lifespan and performance of the overall battery.  The cell performance characteristics determine the size, weight, voltage, current, power, and environmental capabilities of the final battery pack. 

Lithium-ion cells come in three basic form factors: cylindrical, prismatic (or brick-shaped), and the flat rectangular shape of lithium-polymer cells. The standard formats for metal-encased cylindrical cells are 18650 (18 mm in diameter × 65 mm tall), 21700 (21 × 70 mm), or 26650 (26 × 65 mm). Within cylindrical and prismatic cells, layers of battery material are rolled inside like a jelly roll. Lithium-ion cylindrical and prismatic cells are packaged in metal cans.

Prismatic, or brick-shaped, cells are often cost-effective and available in myriad sizes. One of the major features of a prismatic cell is the pressure vent with terminals on top of the metal can. The positive and negative terminals on the prismatic cell are tabs protruding from the cell. In multi-cell battery packs with space constraints, prismatics are recommended as their rectangular shape results in minimal air gaps between the cells. 

Lithium-polymer cells, sometimes called “laminate” cells, are available in custom footprints. They can be very thin or bulky depending on the required format. The primary advantage of lithium-polymer batteries is the wide range of form factors available. These types of cells are encased in inflexible aluminum-foil laminate pouches that measure only 0.1-mm thick, compared to the 0.25- to 0.40-mm thickness of the aluminum or steel cans used to enclose cylindrical or prismatic cells. Unlike cylindrical cells, there aren’t many standard footprints in the lithium-polymer category.  This results in an array of cell offerings.

Lithium-polymer cells are preferred by major manufacturers of smartphones and other portable devices because they offer more flexible footprints. Over the last decade, many personal computers have shifted from cylindrical to lithium-polymer cells, opening the door to thinner, lighter laptops and tablets.

Cell Chemistry Trends

With lithium-ion cells, the underlying chemistry determines the performance characteristics of the cells. Lots of cell chemistries have been introduced over the last decade, and clear trends have emerged from each of these formulas. The most common cell chemistries are lithium cobalt oxide (LCO), lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide (NCA), lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC), and lithium iron phosphate (LFP). 

Ten years ago, LCO was the most common chemistry for cylindrical and prismatic cells. However, NMC has vaulted ahead with the best performance characteristics of all cell chemistries. It’s also more economical as it uses less cobalt, which is in limited supply and expensive.

Nickel and manganese enhance each other’s characteristics, and variations of the basic formula result in more advanced, higher power cells. Industry analysts estimate that NMC will account for 20% of all lithium-ion battery cells on the market by 2025. In addition, NMC is the preference for manufacturers of electric vehicles (EVs). The leading NMC cell manufacturers include BYD, LG, Murata, Panasonic/Sanyo, and Samsung. 

The LFP chemistry also offers good electrochemical performance with low impedance, as it uses a phosphate material for the cathode. Key advantages are high current delivery and exceptional cycle life, good thermal stability, and superior safety against abusive conditions. These types of cells have an intrinsically safer cathode material than NMC batteries and don’t decompose at higher temperatures. Lithium-ion cells tend to contain highly flammable substances; if they’re damaged or overcharged, they can overheat uncontrollably in a thermal runaway. The overheating may result in smoke, fires, or even explosions.

LFP batteries provide the best thermal and chemical stability. In addition, because LFP has less energy density (in both volume and weight), and a higher cost per watt-hour than LCO, NCA, NMC, or LFP batteries, it’s ideal for applications that need high-power ratings, long cycle life, or elevated operating temperatures. Traditionally, there’s been very little overlap of LCO/NCA/NMC and LFP in their specific applications.  The leading LFP cell manufacturers include BAK, BYD, CALB, and CATL. 

NMC battery cells are displacing LFP cells in some applications due to increasing power ratings, high energy density, and lower cost per watt-hour. They’re also starting to replace LFP cells in high-power systems, such as power tools, batteries for material handling equipment, and powertrains for electric buses.

For each cell chemistry, segmentation exists within each category as battery manufacturers push their products to the high-energy or high-power segment of the market. We’re starting to see more overlap between high-power NMC and high-energy LFP cells. In many cases, there’s no longer a clearly superior cell chemistry for a specific set of performance requirements. 

Green Cubes Technology manufactures battery packs for many industrial applications, and the company generally uses NMC or LFP cells. The performance gap between NMC and LFP is closing. 

Cell Format Trends

To review: Lithium-ion cells packed in metal enclosures come in two shapes—cylindrical and prismatic. 

Cylindrical cells come in many formats, but traditionally, the most popular format for the LCO, NCA, and NMC battery cells has been the 18650. And when Panasonic partnered with Tesla to create a new EV battery, they developed the unique 21700 cell format.

Expanding the 18650 cell dimensions by several millimeters (Fig. 1) results in a 50% volumetric increase for the battery’s active material. This cell size is now currently supported by most leading NMC cell manufacturers. As a result, the 18650 and 21700 are the two most common formats for NMC chemistry.  If you select a 18650 or 21700 cell to construct a NMC battery pack, finding an alternate cell with similar performance is assured given the standardization.

1. The illustration compares the 18650 and 21700 cell sizes.

According to industry analysts, more than 2 billion cells based on the 21700 format were shipped in 2020, a 25% increase over the previous year. These types of cells also accounted for 24% of all cylindrical batteries shipped in 2020, other estimates show. The 26650 cell isn’t commonly paired with the NMC chemistry. Smaller prismatic NMC formats, such as the 103450 (10 × 34 × 50 mm), have fallen out of favor in recent years as lithium-polymer cells have become more popular.

For LFP cells, the 18650 and 26650 formats are common; both tend to be offered by leading LFP cell manufacturers (Fig. 2). That enables dual sourcing from competing cell manufacturers when choosing LFP cells for a battery pack. The 26650 format has been largely limited to the LFP cell chemistry. Large prismatic LFP cells, in the 50- to 100-Ah range, have risen in popularity over the last several years.

2. Performance characteristics of typical 18650 NMC and LFP cells.

Larger LFP prismatic formats are commonly used in electric vehicles or industrial equipment such as forklifts (Fig. 3). These batteries are classified as medium- or large-format, and demand very-high-power ratings. Unfortunately, standards are scarce for large-format prismatic LFP cells, so any cell selected for a battery pack will be single-sourced from a specific manufacturer.

3. This medium-format forklift battery is based on 100-Ah LFP cells.

Conclusion

When developing a mobile or portable device that uses lithium-ion batteries to supply power, it’s important to keep in mind the various cell formats and chemistries on the market. Cell selection is the most critical decision in the early design stage of not only the battery pack, but also the end device. Choosing a lithium-ion format and chemistry with market momentum can help guarantee a long lifecycle for the cell and provide a roadmap of performance and cost improvements throughout the cell’s life.

Jeffrey VanZwol

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