The African and Middle East regions run hot and cold in part because of altitude. For example, the hot desert sands of the UAE are overlooked by the snow-capped Jebel Jais mountains, while only an hour’s drive separates the beaches of Beirut from the ski ranges of Mount Lebanon.
The temperature extremes call for rugged equipment powered by equally rugged batteries. And when much of the extreme is the dry heat of the desert, an SMF battery makes for a reliable choice when water is at a premium.
These batteries have become key players in powering everything from electric bikes and petrol/diesel engines to traffic lights. Let us look at what an SMF battery is, its distinct advantages, and its many uses.
SMF Batteries Explained
Sealed maintenance-free batteries are the power source of choice where minimal maintenance and space restrictions factor in. It is the most popular option among the different kinds of batteries available.
In fact, South Africa’s increased demand for automobiles is fueling demand for SMF batteries in the region. Added to that is Saudi Arabia’s focus on transitioning to renewable energy systems, which make heavy use of Deep Cycle SMF batteries.
The key feature of these batteries is the maintenance-free aspect. This is because they are sealed and do not require topping off with water or acid. Sealing makes them leak-proof (in correct conditions), so there is no worry about leaking battery acid, and there is no water loss during the charge-discharge cycle.
These batteries use either a flooded acid cell layout for starter engines or gel electrolyte for deep cycle applications, that fills the plates. As a result, they are especially durable and deliver well on rated performance.
The focus these days is on application-specific options, along with better recharge and discharge capabilities. Additional design improvements have begun cropping up, including better ventilation tech to avoid build-up of gas pressure and better corrosion resistance to protect from the elements. You can also find cool-down separators to help avoid overheating.
There are three common sizes or types of SMF batteries on the market. The small 6V versions provide 4.5 Ah and power emergency lights and telecom instruments. A 12V SMF battery powers vehicles as well as offline deep cycleUPS systems as it can provide a lot of current.
Larger deep cycle SMF batteries with capacities up to 100 Ah can be found in online UPS systems and starter technologies for automobiles. Their long SMF battery life and compact design make them ideal for these uses.
Advantages of SMF Batteries
Beyond the concept of maintenance-free, several key advantages to SMF batteries exist. Among the more important are:
- Can be oriented in any direction
- No fumes or smell
- Can be installed in equipment before transport (Gel types)
The lack of lead fumes allows SMF batteries to find many uses. There is no need to worry about installing them next to electric equipment or in enclosed rooms. Lead fumes from other types can be harmful to health and potentially explosive.
Sealing the battery allows them to be installed with less hassle, with the GEL types not requiring no special handling or containers for shipping. The use of gel means there is no liquid to spill out if the battery breaks, either.
With an operating temperature range running from -20 degrees C to 60 degrees C, SMF batteries can resist different climate conditions better than a flooded lead-acid one. Their rugged construction makes them resistant to shock, vibration, and heat. They can charge faster and have a shorter recharge time than flooded batteries as well.
The SMF battery life cycle runs from three to five years or longer with good care.
Applications of SMF Batteries
A sealed battery finds its way into many uses, and the different sizes and powers of the SMF make it the perfect choice for many applications. Some of the more common uses for an SMF battery include:
- UPS systems
- Emergency lights
- Telecom equipment
- Railway signals
- Golf carts
- LED torchlights
- Water pumping systems
- Traffic lights
- Motorcycle batteries
- Electric vehicles like bikes and rickshaws
- Telephone exchanges
From that list, automobiles and UPS systems make up the bulk of use for SMF batteries. The sealed feature makes them ideal for cars and other transportation since they do not give off fumes or overheat. They are also very user-friendly since they can just be dropped into place and connected.
SMF is a common choice for powering an uninterrupted power supply system, which provides emergency power when the main power fails. In addition, an SMF battery for UPS usually only has to run for a few minutes, serving as standby power so you can shut down the protected equipment. Thus, you find them protecting hardware like computers, data centers, and telecom equipment.
Frequent power outages across the MEA region drive UPS applications and the market for SMF batteries. In addition, businesses today cannot operate without phones and computers, and rising income levels have increased the number of electric appliances in use. These factors combine to power more demand and adoption of USP systems across the region.
Because an SMF battery gives off no fumes, the UPS can be installed in the same room as the equipment, which cuts down on the cost of wiring the system.
Time for a New Battery?
In recent years, SMF batteries have gotten more rugged and able to withstand the wide climate variations seen in the Eastern Hemisphere. In addition, their versatility has led to more application-specific options for running small machines, protecting electrical grids, and powering transportation.
If you need a new battery for your automobile, motorcycle, or UPS, contact us to learn more about our range of VRLA and SMF batteries designed to work in our extreme climates.