Newry Based Testing Facility, Resonate Testing has issued a warning on the importance of battery safety this festive period. Pictured is Managing Director Tom Mallon.

As the festive season approaches and the usual scramble for those last-minute gifts becomes a full-scale assault on your senses and your pocket, often overlooked but essential elements of today’s Christmas gifts are batteries.

From mobile phones, drones to electric bikes, so much of today’s world depends on high-capacity batteries most of which are made from lithium-ion.

As the world move towards more carbon neutral stance with power generated by more sustainable sources, the requirements for effective power storage have increased; however, with the increase in use comes an increase in risk. 

Generating electricity creates heat, which can lead to battery fires — or even explosions., manufacturers test their products to the point of failure to ensure that they are safe in normal use and to see what abuse they can tolerate.

Newry firm Resonate Testing is at the forefront of battery testing. Whether it is testing batteries that will power satellites in Space, or dealing with more earth-bound technology, Managing Director Tom Mallon, is keen to stress the need for effective testing. 

He said: “Battery testing is crucial. Most batteries are made up of lots of lithium-ion cells which are easy to charge, capable of storing large amounts of energy and delivering voltage up to three times higher than conventional batteries.

“If the battery or cell is damaged that energy can be released through a process called thermal runaway which releases tremendous amounts of energy in the form of heat which leads to fire and also the release of toxic vapour.  This can have devasting consequences and tragically we have seen the results with a number of deaths in the UK caused by house fires started by battery fires.”

Another source of ignition could also be in accidental damage to your mobile phone battery. Tom explained: “If you’re used to carrying your phone in your back pocket and you were to sit on it breaking the battery that same process of thermal runaway could start and cause severe burns.”

He is keen to spread the message when it comes to battery safety whether they are in orbit or powering an e-bike or mobile phone, he said: “We have one of the best testing facilities anywhere in the British Isles. Our engineers have decades of experience between them, and we know what can happen when batteries fail.”

“My advice when buying your powered devices is to check that it has a proper UK kite mark and if you are buying replacement batteries to buy them from a reputable supplier and use only the charger provided by the manufacturer.”

European Space Agency Astronaut, Tim Peake and Irish Aeronautical Engineer and an award-winning STEM advocate, Norah Patten visiting the Resonate Testing stand at the UK Space Conference.

In the run up to the UK Space Conference on the 21-23 November 2023, UTV reporter, Stewart Robson interviewed Tom Mallon, Director of Resonate Testing on the growing opportunities for Northern Irish manufacturers and product testing in the UK Space industry, as well as the other benefits that the UK Space Conference will bring to Northern Ireland business.

Click here to listen to the full story

The UK Space Conference took place from the 21-23 November 2023 at the ICC Belfast.

Ahead of the UK Space conference, Tom Mallon, Director of Resonate Testing spoke to BBC Economic and Business Editor, John Campbell about Resonate Testing’s facilities and what they can offer the UK Space industry.

We also hear from NI SPACE cluster Manager, Robert Hill on the incredible opportunities available to companies in Northern Ireland within the wider UK Space sector.

Click to listen to the full story

On the 18th February 2016, The Nacelle Group and Resonate Testing‘s principal engineer, Mr. Tom Mallon gave an informative presentation on Aerospace Testing to the Royal Aeronautical Society (Belfast Branch). The Presentation was entitled ‘Testing: When "trust me" won’t cut it!’ and also featured an insight in to the capabilities and services available at Resonate Testing.

Speaking afterwards, Tom voiced his gratitude for the opportunity to speak to the society, and the warm welcome provided by the committee and attendees. The lecture highlighted that aerospace was not a “trust me” industry, with regulations cited for acceptable means of compliance. It developed on the theme of testing for certification reasons, to include customer reliability enhancement testing, and product integrity requirements and tracing these to technology readiness levels.

In anticipation of Resonate Testing's commissioning and impending opening, attention was focused on Fire Testing and Vibration Testing, from component level and how this fed through to real-life improvements in product integrity within the aerospace sector. There was also a short discussion on combined Environmental Testing as the new focus, and way forward within the industry.

‘Regulatory and customer specification requirements, and in turn test requirements are becoming ultimately more sophisticated.  The industry response is for more comprehensive and accurate testing: a new challenge which Resonate Testing will embrace.’  Tom commented.

Hon. Secretary Malcolm Cloke of RAeS Belfast Branch voiced their interest in visiting the Resonate Testing facility once it is operational:

‘The RAeS Belfast Branch is most interested in taking Resonate Testing up on their kind offer to visit the facility once it is set up. The Resonate Testing facility in Newry will offer the commercial aerospace sector in Ireland the capability for state of the art Environmental, Vibrational and Flame testing.’

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