Cumbersome power cords, battery chargers, and exposed metal connectors cluttering the job site will soon be a thing of the past, now that wireless charging is making its way to the marketplace.

Mobile workspace efficiency is about to get a boost thanks to eCoupled technology, a wireless power system that eliminates traditional forms of onsite charging, developed by Fulton Innovation.

eCoupled Coming Soon

Available from Leggett & Platt Commercial Vehicle Products in early 2009, eCoupled has already garnered attention. A working prototype of eCoupled technology debuted this Spring at the National Truck Equipment Association’s 2008 Work Truck Show. Show attendees voted eCoupled the New Product Spotlight Award for innovation.

The technology is capable of charging any device, once properly equipped, and Leggett & Platt will soon begin introducing the product into vehicles.

The safe and versatile eCoupled stations can charge multiple devices, regardless of voltage requirements.

“Wireless power simplifies on-the-road charging maintenance for the commercial truck industry by eliminating the need for portable charging devices and electrical outlets,” said Ross Haith, group vice president of sales and marketing for Leggett & Platt Commercial Vehicle Products. “Our vehicles with eCoupled technology enhance the mobile workspace so our customers can work more efficiently at the jobsite.”

How eCoupled Works

The wireless charging technology in eCoupled uses inductive coupling to transfer energy from the mobile commercial charging surface, which can be a shelf or other work station. Coils placed inside that surface area easily accommodate the devices being charged, and can be adjusted to match the tools the charger powers.

Communication between the device being powered and the eCoupled technology manages power needs, battery life, and charging cycles. This two-way communication ensures maximum charge, as well as maximum power capacity.

According to Fulton Innovation, eCoupled technology includes an inductively coupled power circuit that dynamically seeks resonance, allowing the primary supply circuit to adapt its operation to match the needs of the device it supplies.

eCoupled supplies optimal power as needed by determining the age and charging lifecycle of the battery or device. These functions save space in commercial vehicles and lengthen the life of expensive batteries and the devices powered.

This is all accomplished without significant power loss and is comparable to traditional forms of charging. Energy costs are nearly identical, with energy transfer efficiency at about 98 percent. This also makes for a safer work environment by eliminating dangerous metal power connectors.

Consumers may soon see this technology not just in a commercial capacity, but in kitchens, automobile consoles, and other household settings. Fulton Innovations is currently working with several companies in addition to Leggett & Platt to bring this technology to market.

More than 1.5 million eCoupled-enabled devices have been in use for the past six years. The technology  will be available in Leggett & Platt vehicle interior shelving, rugged docking stations, and vehicle mounts beginning early next year.  

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