Lithium Power, Inc. is doubling its commitment to support the designers of robots and other mobile mechanical devices. Dedicated design teams have been placed in their design center to foster interactive innovation and cross-functional creativity.
“Smart robot designers have discovered that it is more efficient to hire battery design expertise than it is to try to add that expertise to their engineering staffs,” says Wilson Chan, CEO of Lithium Power. “We needed to respond to this increased demand by beefing up our resources and continuing the process improvements that allow us to help our clients get through the design and testing phases faster and ‘go-to-market’ more quickly.”
Chan thinks this switch to hiring out battery design is driven in part by its unique engineering challenge. “Battery design combines electrical engineering with chemical engineering,” Chan notes. “This combination is not found on the engineering staffs of many robot design teams. Larger companies can keep a battery engineer fully employed with multiple projects. Smaller engineering firms cannot, and have found that hiring the expertise project-by-project works better.”
Larger companies can also tap into resources like Texas Instruments’ open source lithium battery designs, but smaller firms are not TI’s target market. Such firms need a partner that is used to working with smaller firms with fewer resources, and can add value quickly with turnkey solutions.
“That is the market trend we are responding to,” notes Chan. “So far, the reviews are positive, and we will keep honing the model with our clients, keeping their engineers focused on the mechanical and electrical aspects of the project. Our mission remains the same: Help smaller robotics firms incorporate the right power source that will allow the robot to deliver on its consumer promise, and do our part quickly to keep their projects moving forward on schedule.”
The best reason for hiring a battery management system design team up front is not hard to figure out, either, says Chan.
“If the power solution, and the battery management system that runs it, is not thought out in parallel with the development of the robot, design conflicts will arise later that cause delays and unnecessary design overhauls. In all the work we have done designing batteries for robots, we see this happen too often, even with engineers that know better. They get caught up in solving the mechanical and electrical challenges, mentally saying ‘we’ll plug a better battery solution in once we get the basic design done.’ With a battery specialist working with the team from the start, conflicts between robot design and power requirements are spotted and dealt with early. This keep battery issues from becoming showstoppers, and speeds the move from design to production.”