Over the past few years healthcare IT professionals have seen a rapid change in their mobile cart power systems from primarily sealed lead acid (SLA) based batteries to lithium chemistries. Although the lithium solutions come with a premium price tag, the workflow efficiency gains from rapid recharging coupled with the drastic reduction in consumable batteries has helped to lower supply chain costs and make the upgrade a foregone conclusion. There are multiple types of lithium based chemistries on the market, yet the most prevalent are lithium iron and lithium ion.
The truth is that one letter “R” makes a big difference at the end of the day. Here are some key factors when understanding the differences between these battery chemistries.
Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) Batteries Are Safer
The lithium iron phosphate batteries win on safety considerations over alternative chemistry lithium ion batteries. Under stresses such as overcharging or rapid discharging, a lithium ion battery can heat up very rapidly potentially causing a fire. Under the same circumstances, a lithium iron battery will remain cooler and not pose as much of a safety risk. This has been at the center of one recent story in the news, concerning the grounding of Boeing airlines 787 Dreamliner fleet due to the volatility of a lithium ion battery that powered the jet’s electrical system when the engines are turned off.
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