Sony and Dell Executives to Chair IEEE Group Revising Portable Computing Standard

December 11, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

Jean Baronas, Director of the Technology Standards Office at Sony Electronics, and Bill Kabele, Director of Power Engineering at Dell Corp., were elected to co-chair the Portable Computer Battery Working Group of the IEEE Standards Association at its first meeting last month. The group is revising IEEE 1625,™ "IEEE Standard for Rechargeable Batteries for Portable Computing," which addresses the design, manufacture and testing of lithium-ion battery cells and packs used in portable computing devices.

The working group also set an accelerated schedule for its efforts and now plans to complete its work on the standard within 12 months. It also defined a structure for its efforts by forming a number of subgroups, including those focusing on the cell, the pack, and the system, and another to investigate all conformity assessment options and make a recommendation for the revised standard. In addition, the group tentatively set its next meeting for February in Asia.

"We made impressive progress in our first meeting by setting an organizational structure, reaching agreement on funding, and setting a development schedule," said David Ling, who had been the working group's Acting Chair and is Regulatory Policy and Strategy Manager at the Hewlett Packard Company.

Kabele noted that the first meeting was a clear indication of how serious the industry is about improving the reliability of batteries for portable computing. "About 50 people from 30 companies attended," he said, "representing the entire global supply chain for batteries used in portable computing from cell manufacturers to OEMs, including third-party test and certification bodies."

"One of the primary goals for the revised version of IEEE 1625," said Baronas, "is to establish liaisons with key standards development organizations and stakeholders to ensure better coordination, avoid conflict, and support collaboration to improve battery standardization globally. We also want to submit the completed document for acceptance by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) as a dual-logo standard."

Ling, who chairs the Subgroup on Conformity Assessment, said the subgroup will explore the need for a compliance program for the revised standard in the context of all potential options, with the possibility that an option would be not to have such a program. The Subgroup will return a recommendation to the working group by the end of the development phase.

IEEE 1625 is part of the Livium™ family of battery standards, which also includes the IEEE 1725™ standard for mobile cell phone batteries. Another Livium standard, IEEE P1825,™ is underway for mobile batteries in digital cameras and camcorders. IEEE Livium standards are created within the IEEE Standards Association Corporate Program, which involves company-based working groups. IEEE 1625 is sponsored by the Stationary Batteries Committee of the IEEE Power Engineering Society, with support from the IEEE-SA Corporate Advisory Group.