A group of laptop vendors and battery manufacturers plan to announce a standard for making safer lithium ion batteries by 15 June 2007, in an attempt to recover from a massive series of battery recalls in recent months.
The new standard will cover "process requirements, quality control and assurance" for all forms of rechargeable lithium ion battery cells, from prismatic to cyllindrical and pouch, according to the Association Connecting Electronics Industries, known as IPC.
At an 12 October meeting in Illinois, the group voted in Lenovo Group executive Anthony Corkell as chairman of the IPC Lithium Ion Battery Subcommittee. Corkell, Lenovo's executive director of standards and quality engineering, will report to a larger IPC standards board run by John Grosso, Dell's director of supplier engineering and quality.
The group did not list specific changes it was requiring, and Corkell did not respond to requests for comment. But lithium ion technology is already well-established, so the new standard will probably focus on process controls and quality assurance, said IPC spokeswoman Kimberly Sterling.
The group first convened in September, after batteries made by Sony Energy Devices short-circuited and caught fire. In August, PC vendors including Dell, Apple and Lenovo worked with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission to recall about eight million batteries and offer free replacements.
Other vendors were also involved in the recent recall, such as Apple, Fujitsu, IBM and Toshiba, but it is unclear if any of these firms took part in October's meeting. Even the battery manufacturer itself - Sony - may not have attended, raising questions about who would actually follow the new standard when it is published.
IPC declined to provide a roll of attendees. "All I can tell you is that the major laptop manufacturers were well represented," Sterling said.