Posted by Thelma Marshall, Product Director, March 17, 2020
Forklift batteries are a huge expense, especially if they do not power your fleet as expected or if that lack of power leads to an accident. How you care for your forklift batteries impacts your bottom line and safety.
Battery-monitoring technology is the solution to avoiding issues and improving battery care. This data tells you the battery’s discharge, temperature, voltage, and amperage with real-time alerts and warnings while in use, before damage or potential accidents occur.
Think of what could be avoided if an alert instantly told you when batteries were overheating or when a forklift is operating at a reduced capacity. Monitoring technology delivers these real-time warnings to help you prevent damage to equipment and operator injuries.
Battery maintenance basics that improve safety
- Each forklift battery should be charged fully as it is needed. Monitoring batteries in real time, while in use, facilitates this, ensuring each forklift is operating at a safe temperature, voltage, and amperage.
- Heavy loads drain batteries more quickly. Electric forklifts are powered by large lead-acid batteries, which must be routinely charged in a separate designated area. Knowing a battery has an issue, before maintenance begins allows for greater caution in handling practices.
- Only trained personnel should charge and change batteries in electric forklifts. These employees should be trained on emergency procedures, including how to use eyewash and shower facilities, in the event of an acid splash.
- Heavy loads drain batteries more quickly. Warning signs of a low battery include slow starting, dim headlights, and the ammeter indicating discharge at a high RPM.
- The top of each battery should be cleaned with a battery cleaner or warm water every 30 days. This prevents corrosion and faster self-discharge.
- Water levels should be checked and filled correctly about every 10 charges for the first few years, and reconditioned batteries require attention every 5 charges. Watering should only occur when the battery is fully charged.
- The cold impacts a battery’s electrolyte, causing it to thicken and struggle to achieve the chemical reaction that powers the forklift. So, a fully charged forklift battery with an electrolyte temperature of about 32 degrees Fahrenheit will be working at only 75% capacity of operational capacity at room temperature.
Why battery monitoring matters
Battery-monitoring technology lets warehouse managers easily track the status of each battery, including when and how it is being charged; if it is performing as expected with proper temperature, voltage, and amperage; and if maintenance is required.
Batteries that are often used at reduced ampage, due to lack of maintenance or poor charging practices, will cause unexpected downtime and delays because forklifts are functioning at a reduced capacity. Battery life is extended because monitoring data shows battery’s discharge, temperature, voltage and amperage — providing real-time alerts and warnings while in use. Action can be taken.
Leveraging battery monitoring technology quickly extends battery lifespans and improves safety, by ensuring each forklift is operating at a safe and expected capacity.