From April 29 through May 1, nearly 400 attendees from eight countries met in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, for the Sixth Annual International Battery Conference — Battcon 2002.
A new location and expanded trade show helped make Battcon 2002 the most successful yet. Total attendance this year reached 385, up from last year's 363. The expanded trade show prompted increased vendor participation as well. Battcon 2002 had 42 vendors, compared to 31 in 2001. The conference welcomed 46% first-time attendees, with 9% having attended all six conferences.
The Battcon conference brings together experienced manufacturers and system-oriented users at one location to share experiences and expertise. Some of the users come with seemingly insurmountable battery problems, and others come with apparent solutions to these same problems.
This year, the topics for presentations and discussions covered a wide range, including:
- Currently operating battery systems
- New methods of battery system management
- Ways to properly manage (not mismanage) battery systems
- Installation of large-scale battery systems
- Monitoring and maintenance
- New technology
Over the course of the three-day conference, 20 technical papers were presented in seven sessions, each followed by a question and answer period. Interspersed among the technical sessions were five panel sessions where battery experts (manufacturers and users) responded to attendee questions, many of which were somewhat controversial in nature.
For example, this year's attendees exchanged some lively debates over the life expectancy of valve regulated lead-acid batteries and the importance of proper maintenance for battery systems. The hallmark of the Battcon conference, however, isn't about how confrontational the topics are — it's about resolving any battery issue, large or small.
Another item of interest was a two-hour seminar that addressed battery sizing, applications, and testing. These topics were of high interest to the attendees, as indicated by the majority of Battcon participants that attended the seminar instead of spending the afternoon on the beach. The proximity of the beach — just outside the conference hall — was a severe temptation.
This same attentiveness was observed throughout the conference, even up to the last discussion hour, which focused on many of the questions that could not be addressed during the regularly scheduled sessions.
Everyone we spoke with, at one time or another, said they learned something new and useful at this year's Battcon. Even the experts and near experts take something useful away from the interactions of this diverse group. In fact, 97% of attendees indicated the conference met or exceeded their expectations.
Most of the PowerPoint presentations used at the conference will be posted to the Battcon Web site (www.battcon.com) within the month. In addition, copies of the 2002 Conference Proceedings book are still available by calling 561-997-2299.
Activities for Battcon 2003 are already underway. Plans are to reconvene the battery users and manufacturers in Florida in April or May of next year. The call-for-papers is already out. Interested parties can find out how to submit an abstract by visiting http://www.battcon.com/download/CallPapers.pdf.
If you missed this year's conference, plan on sharing your knowledge and experience at Battcon 2003.