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South African firm tackling lead-acid battery thefts

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 14:47 -- Xuan Zhong
South African firm tackling lead-acid battery thefts

A mechanical locking device called a ‘Battery Boot’ is helping reduce the theft of lead-acid batteries in South Africa.

Aztec, an authorised NorthStar Battery distributor in Southern Africa, came up with the device to reduce the number of batteries being stolen from telecoms sites.

The Battery Boot is a steel frame that is glued to the base of each battery with a special adhesive. The boot then allows the battery to be locked into Aztec’s high-security battery cabinet.

The company claims to have secured more than 4,400 batteries with a calculated success rate in excess of 99.95%— ie only two batties have been stolen.

Aztec is now preparing for additional sites after receiving significant orders in 2017 and winning approval from two ‘large’ global OEMs and their customer.

Aztec has specialised in batteries since 1979 and started looking at ways to secure them around 1998. Its latest patented device was developed in 2015.

Dean Marcus, director at Aztec, told BBB: “We developed the Battery Boot to try and drastically reduce the number of batteries being stolen from cellular base stations in particular.

“Aztec has developed and manufactured high-security battery cabinets since 1998. The cabinets have been successful— however given enough time the thieves were able to open some of them and to steal the batteries.

“The success rate, although difficult to measure, was relatively high. To strengthen any cabinet, more steel is typically required, however this significantly increases the cost of the cabinet and simply delays but does not always prevent the theft of the batteries.

“Also, battery tracking allows the operator to track the stolen batteries, but does not prevent the theft. These batteries then need to be replaced at a significant cost.

“To date we have installed over 300 high-security cabinets and over 4,800 Battery Boots of which only two have been stolen from one of the initial POC sites.”

Marcus added: “We are currently manufacturing cabinets and boots at almost full capacity to satisfy demand. We are also now exporting the product to other continents where battery theft either is or is becoming a significant problem.”