Battery Pack and Module Testing Safety Equipment – Thermal Incident Containment

Project Features: Battery Test Safety System, Safety PLC, Battery Cell Testing, Thermal Runaway Safety System, Battery Abuse Test, Thermal Incident Containment


The Challenge

A major manufacturer of large trucks and off-highway equipment was building a new lab facility to design and test batteries for electric vehicles. Since thermal events are a regular battery testing risk, the lab required a reactive emergency system that remotely initiates the battery to be pulled from the building and quickly placed in a burn box, then moved away from the building. Burn boxes are necessary to hold and contain a burning battery until it is self-extinguished.

The Solution

ACS built three, two-compartment burn boxes. The front compartment serves to hold the battery-under-test while the rear compartment holds the winch-style extraction device. This winch accepts an emergency signal integrated into the building’s and test equipment’s emergency safety systems. When a thermal event is detected, the winch can automatically be activated and drag the battery from the building, into the box. The extraction device was designed to extract a 700kg battery.

The separate compartment allows for protection of the winch system from weather conditions and battery thermal events. The interior of the burn box is clad in 304 stainless steel plate to resist the high-temperature battery burn conditions. The exterior of the burn box is made of carbon steel plate and painted with industrial high temperature and weather resistant paint, outfitted with forklift pockets to ensure mobility and a safe and speedy departure of the battery from the loading dock. An emergency pull lever is fixed to the top of the box as a back-up device in case the door does not swing shut. The entire structure is composed of multiple removable panels and drain plugs to allow for cleaning and maintenance.

Outcome

The new burn box capacity allows a burning battery to be held and contained until it extinguishes itself,  potentially as long as 6-10 days. With three burn boxes, one serves as a spare to allow the lab to resume testing with a new battery after the burning battery is moved to a safe location. Since the battery is not useable after a thermal event, the burn box is designed with a minimum 10-year lifespan outdoors and the ability to contain a burning battery a minimum of 20 times.

Containing a battery fire is critical to ensuring a safe testing environment. This burn box design allows for ongoing testing at an increased frequency. ACS’ comprehensive design and custom build of this auto manufacturer’s burn box systems enabled the company to focus on vehicle development operations while thermal containment system procurement, manufacturing, Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) and Site Acceptance Testing (SAT) was managed and delivered by ACS.

Key Features

  • Thermal incident containment safety system for destructive battery testing
  • Custom-designed, two-compartment EV battery burn box
  • Front compartment holds the battery-under-test; rear compartment holds the winch-style extraction device
  • Forklift pockets ensure mobility and safe and speedy removal of the battery from the loading dock

ACS Services

  • Turnkey solution
  • Design & engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT)

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