Maxim Integrated Products (MXIM) recently launched MAX11080, the first high-voltage, 12-channel battery protection chip for high cell-count lithium-ion (Li+) battery stacks.

Lithium ion batteries are in the evolution stage and the fastest growing secondary battery type in the market today. The lithium ion polymer (cobalt, manganese or phosphate) offers high energy density at low weights, which is the primary reason for its growing adoption in notebooks, cell phones and cameras. As the target market continues to expand, the batteries are now being used in automotive, industrial and power line applications as well.

One of the most attractive features of the MAX11080 is that up to 31 devices can be daisy-chained together to monitor up to 372 battery cells, reducing power consumption by 10X and battery management costs by up to 80% in hybrid cars. It also uses 75% less board space than other discrete designs.

The product also offers redundant cell monitoring to detect thermal leakage, thus preventing batteries from exploding. Battery explosion is always an area of concern and many big computing and consumer electronics firms like Dell (DELL), Apple (AAPL) and Sony (SNE) have faced such issues in the past. Enhanced safety makes the product particularly suitable for automotive and industrial applications, where hazardous operations sometimes increase the significance of thermal discharge.

Maxim has a broad range of products that enables it to serve customers across many end markets. This product is an addition to the core analog range and is targeted at small and mid-size industrial and communications customers. This is a key strategic area for the company as it affords scope for differentiation and thereby, stronger prices and higher profits.

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