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11 July, 2019 - 13:27 By Tony Quested

Ion mighty: Controllis launches powerful new comms technology

Critical telecoms and off-grid sites can now gain significant performance and cost improvements by switching to state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries through new technology launched by expanding Cambridge and Thetford hybrid power systems specialist Controllis.

The company has just unveiled an innovative 48V 105 Amp hour lithium-ion battery solution, IonLiFe®, purpose-designed to integrate into the company’s flexible hybrid power system for mobile, tower and off-grid deployments.

The new solution promises longer life, cheaper maintenance, lower total cost of ownership and improved reliability. Cambridge-based serial entrepreneur and communications technology doyen David Cleevely is company chairman.

Critical sites equipped with hybrid/renewable power systems typically use solar arrays combined with a battery bank to provide a reliable electricity supply. 

When the sun goes down or the batteries need charging an integrated diesel DC generator provides power to the site whilst also charging the batteries. A system controller ensures the site is powered 24×7 and minimises the generator’s fuel use.

In the past, conventional lead-acid batteries have often been used to provide power and energy storage. Whilst historically they were cheaper, they are much larger and heavier than lithium-ion and also prone to theft. 

There has, therefore, been an understandable transition to lithium-ion batteries,  as their price has fallen and performance has improved, particularly by mobile operators. 

“The cost per kilowatt hour cycle of lithium-ion batteries is now less than that of lead acid,” said Simon Albury, Managing Director at Controllis. 

“This means that lithium-ion not only costs the operator less, but also offers much better performance, lifetime and a whole range of other operational benefits.”

The new IonLiFe® battery from Controllis is ideal for telecoms and off-grid sites. Its higher energy density means it is smaller and lighter than traditional lead-acid batteries. 

IonLiFe® take up less space and can be integrated within the same secure cabinet as the Controllis DC generator. This enables Controllis to provide a ‘one-box hybrid power solution’ for telecoms and tower sites, all of which is cloud managed and provides extensive data analytics.  

IonLiFe® batteries also charge and discharge more efficiently, and many more times than lead-acid batteries – which means that they have a more reliable, longer and better working life. 

They are maintenance free and can be remotely monitored which saves telecoms operators significant operational cost.

Controllis, which has partners and customers worldwide, has now completed a move into its newly acquired headquarters and manufacturing centre in Thetford.

The new 60,000 square feet site has reduced its manufacturing premises from six to four and the company intends to consolidate all manufacturing onto the single site by the middle of 2020.

The new facility is ideal for high volume manufacturing and, once additional new building works are completed next year, will offer a manufacturing capacity of 5,000 units a year.

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