Factors That Influence Your Decision on a Forklift Battery Provider
Wow! Forklift batteries are available in a wide range of types and sizes. The type of forklift you have and your operating hours will determine what kind of battery you need to keep your operations running smoothly.
Lithium-Ion batteries are a newer battery technology for forklifts. They are maintenance-free, require no watering, and have a fast-charging time. They can also employ opportunity charging, allowing top-ups during breaks or shift changes.
There are many different types of forklift batteries on the market. Choosing the right battery type depends on the existing forklift equipment type and specifications, including the forklift’s battery compartment size and voltage. Also, battery chemistry is essential in how long the battery will last and its power capacity.
Lithium-ion batteries are the most cost-effective for single-shift and multi-shift operations compared to lead-acid batteries of the same capacity. This is especially true for processes where the forklifts operate for extended periods and travel significant distances with heavy loads.
Factors influencing battery cost include the forklift charging system, charger brand and type, and battery capacity. Choosing the right forklift battery charger is essential because different chargers charge batteries at different rates and capabilities. A single-phase charger will charge a battery in 15- or 30-min spurts throughout the day, whereas a three-phase charger can charge it in 1- or 2-hour sessions.
Adding to the cost of a forklift battery is its maintenance costs, which typically include watering (refilling the battery with electrolyte), cleaning after acid spills or leaks, and equalizing (using a special charging mode to ensure all cells in the battery are charged at the same rate). Additionally, storing and charging lead-acid batteries in a controlled environment is critical to prolonging their life.
Many companies offer extended warranties to save the cost of forklift battery repair, but you should always read the fine print. Often, the warranty only covers some things that it should. It’s essential to find a company that offers a great warranty and will be there to help if you ever have any problems.
Lithium-ion forklift batteries have a longer lifespan than lead-acid batteries and are more efficient at charging and discharging. They can be charged in 15-30-minute spurts, called opportunity charging, during breaks or anytime the forklift is idle for a few minutes. This allows them to be used for multi-shift operations. Additionally, they have a flatter discharge curve than lead-acid batteries, so they can still operate even when the battery is nearly empty.
To maximize the life of lithium batteries, you should keep them separated by age and type. This helps prevent the ends from touching and keeps batteries close to the end of their life, away from newer ones. It would help if you also stored them in a battery cabinet that provides the needed environment for safe storage and includes insulation to protect against fire.
Flooded Lead-Acid batteries (Wet Cell Batteries) comprise two oppositely charged plates suspended in water and sulfuric acid. These batteries require much maintenance, including regular topping with water, equalizing charging, and periodic cleaning. This can require a trained person with special safety equipment to handle these high-risk chemicals.
Most supply chain managers understandably prioritize productivity as a key driver of success. Forklift batteries are critical to productivity and must be maintained appropriately to ensure uptime. Whether you choose lithium-ion or lead acid batteries, following battery maintenance best practices can extend their life and support your productivity goals.
Look for a battery with a CAN (Controller Area Network) option that allows the forklift to communicate directly with the battery and understand its state of charge. This means you can avoid having to check and reset chargers manually. Also, look for a battery with multiple levels of safety redundancy. This will help prevent accidental damage to your lift truck or property.
A battery with an internal monitoring system will provide real-time data about its performance, including ampere hours of use and capacity. This information is essential for right-sizing your battery fleet to meet operational needs and productivity goals.
Be sure to follow your forklift manufacturer’s recommended battery watering schedule and use proper PPE, such as gloves, aprons, and eye protection, when handling the battery and its liquid electrolyte. Contact a professional if a battery shows excessive sulfation or acid leakage. These conditions are hazardous and pose a potential fire and explosion hazard. They may also cause costly internal forklift damage. Loose or disconnected cables and chargers are another common source of battery problems. Ensure they are securely connected and off the floor to avoid running into them during charging.
The forklift industry has two main types of batteries, lead-acid and lithium. Lithium batteries are a newer technology that offers several benefits over traditional forklift batteries, including lighter weight and higher energy density. However, lithium batteries are more expensive than lead-acid batteries.
When choosing a battery provider, it is essential to consider the manufacturer’s history and product line. A company’s product line reflects its core expertise and how much of a focus they place on the material-handling equipment market. The number of batteries they offer demonstrates how likely it is to find a compatible lithium battery model for your material-handling equipment. It can also indicate how rapidly a given brand develops new models.
Some lithium-ion batteries are built for specific applications, and it is helpful to know the intended use of each battery. For example, some lithium-ion batteries are designed to provide a high amount of energy over a short period and are often used in e-bikes, power tools, and digital cameras. Others are built for longevity and are usually found in heavy-duty cleaning equipment, airport ground support vehicles and tugs, and mobile data centers.
In addition to batteries, some manufacturers also offer complete power systems, chargers, and a variety of other battery-handling equipment. When you’re shopping for batteries, be sure to keep this in mind, as a complete system is essential to optimal battery performance.