News Column

Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Insulation of Rechargeable Battery Pack", for Approval

February 6, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Stoddard, Robert B. (Steamboat Springs, CO); Cunningham, James S. (Boulder, CO); Dickhans, William J. (Longmont, CO); Hempsetad, Russell D. (Lafayette, CO); Larson, Eric R. (Boulder, CO); Kerr, Duane E. (Loveland, CO); Nau, JR., William H. (Longmont, CO); Ross, Anthony B. (Boulder, CO); Kappus, John J. (Denver, CO), filed on March 30, 2012, was made available online on January 23, 2014.

The patent's assignee is Covidien Lp.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present disclosure relates to medical instruments and to the use thereof. More particularly, the present disclosure is directed to portable surgical devices and sterilization of components thereof.

"Portable surgical instruments are known in the medical arts. Portable surgical instruments overcome some of the drawbacks that are typically associated with surgical instruments that draw power from electrical outlets. That is, outlet driven surgical instruments utilize power cords that may create tripping and/or entanglement hazards in an operating room environment.

"Typically, the portable surgical instrument includes a battery or battery assembly that is configured to removably couple or 'latch' to the portable surgical instrument. In an ideal scenario, the battery or battery assembly remains coupled or 'latched' to the portable surgical instrument during the entirety of the surgical procedure. However, in certain instances, the battery or battery assembly has to be uncoupled or 'unlatched' from the portable surgical instrument during the surgical procedure. For example, the battery or battery assembly may have to be unlatched from the surgical instrument for sterilization (or re-sterilization), charging (or recharging), replacement, and the like.

"As may be appreciated, removable batteries or battery assemblies that are configured to quickly and easily couple or latch to a handpiece of the portable surgical instrument may prove advantageous in the surgical environment.

"It may be desirable to re-sterilize a rechargeable battery pack using an autoclave. However, this high temperature method is above the temperature limits of currently available rechargeable battery cells."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "Disclosed is an apparatus and method for insulating a rechargeable battery pack to allow it to survive autoclave sterilization.

"In at least one aspect of this disclosure, a method for autoclaving a battery pack includes providing the battery pack, wherein the battery pack includes a housing, a battery cell disposed within the housing, and an isolation region disposed between the housing and the battery cell, the isolation region being formed at least partially from at least one of a thermal insulating material, a phase change material, or a combination thereof.

"In another aspect of this disclosure, the method may further include inserting the battery pack into the autoclave, sterilizing the battery pack in the autoclave, and removing the battery pack from the autoclave after sterilization.

"In yet another aspect of this disclosure, the battery pack may further include a first and a second outer terminal connected a first and second battery terminal of the battery cell through at least one of the housing and the isolation region.

"In yet another aspect of this disclosure, the method may further include providing an autoclave configured to accept the battery pack and to sterilize the battery pack.

"In yet another aspect of this disclosure, the method may further include monitoring the temperature of at least one of the housing, the battery cell, and the isolation region.

"In yet another aspect of this disclosure, the method may further include providing a sterile terminal cap and placing the sterile terminal cap over at least one of the first or second outer terminals.

"In yet another aspect of this disclosure, the battery pack further comprises at least one temperature sensor configured to sense a temperature of at least one of the housing, the isolation region, or the battery cell.

"In yet another aspect of this disclosure, the method may further include providing an autoclave configured to accept the battery pack and to sterilize the battery pack, wherein the autoclave is configured to read the at least one temperature sensor and provide an indication of temperature.

"In yet another aspect of this disclosure, the isolation region further includes at least two layers, wherein each layer is formed from at least one of a phase change material or an insulation material.

"In yet another aspect of this disclosure, a battery pack may include a housing, a battery cell disposed within the housing, and an isolation region disposed between the housing and the battery cell, the isolation region being formed at least partially from at least one of a thermal insulating material, a phase change material, or any combination thereof.

"In yet another aspect of this disclosure, the battery pack may further include at least one temperature sensor configured to sense the temperature of at least one of the housing, the isolation region, or the battery cell.

"In yet another aspect of this disclosure, the isolation region further includes at least two layers, wherein each layer is formed from at least one of a phase change material or an insulation material.

"In yet another aspect of this disclosure, the isolation region is formed from two or more materials selected from the group consisting of a phase change material and an insulation material.

"In yet another aspect of this disclosure, the battery pack may further include a sterile terminal cap configured to selectively cover at least one of the first and second outer terminals.

"In yet another aspect of this disclosure, the sterile terminal cap may be puncturable such that at least one of the first or second outer terminals may be accessed by piercing or removing a portion of the sterile terminal cap.

"In yet another aspect of this disclosure, a battery autoclaving system may include a battery pack having a housing, a battery cell disposed within the housing, and an isolation region disposed between the housing and the battery cell, wherein the isolation region is formed at least in part from at least one of a thermal insulating material, a phase change material, or any combination thereof, a temperature sensor adapted to sense at least one of a temperature of the battery cell temperature of the isolation region, and an autoclave configured to receive a temperature indication from the temperature sensor and to inhibit autoclaving when the temperature indication exceeds a predetermined value.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"Embodiments according to the present disclosure are described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

"FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of a rechargeable battery pack in accordance with the present disclosure;

"FIG. 2 illustrates another embodiment of a rechargeable battery pack in accordance with the present disclosure;

"FIG. 3 illustrates yet another embodiment of a rechargeable battery pack in accordance with the present disclosure; and

"FIG. 4 illustrates an embodiment of a system for autoclaving a battery in accordance with the present disclosure."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Stoddard, Robert B.; Cunningham, James S.; Dickhans, William J.; Hempsetad, Russell D.; Larson, Eric R.; Kerr, Duane E.; Nau, JR., William H.; Ross, Anthony B.; Kappus, John J. Insulation of Rechargeable Battery Pack. Filed March 30, 2012 and posted January 23, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=3029&p=61&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140116.PD.&OS=PD/20140116&RS=PD/20140116

Keywords for this news article include: Surgery, Nanotechnology, Medical Devices, Emerging Technologies, Phase Change Material.

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Source: Politics & Government Week


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