Posted by Thelma Marshall, VP of Solutions, April 23, 2020

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If your business is not essential in the supply chain industry right now, it probably has been shut down due to the Covid-19 quarantine. This costly time can impact a business in many ways including its forklift batteries. Batteries not cared for properly before left sitting idle for a prolonged period can have a severely reduced lifespan.

So, if trucks are no longer moving, following proper battery care and charging procedures now will prevent costly problems when your business is back up and running. After all, nothing will be moving without the power those batteries provide.

Why care so much about battery care? Batteries are one of the most expensive investments in your warehouse. They are also a necessary part of doing business for a warehouse or distribution center. So, it is vital to get the most out of each battery and reduce the frequency of replacement purchases.

It’s important to consider how being shut down for COIVID-19 quarantine may impact forklift batteries and what to do to reduce that risk.

Forklift battery considerations:

  1. A period of inactivity puts batteries in danger because, when left in a discharged or semi-discharged condition, batteries eventually become damaged by sulphation of the plates. This reduces output capacity and can be costly to rectify.
  2. So, if a battery is left on a truck instead of a charger, disconnect the forklift DC plug from the truck.
  3. Over-discharging is a big problem that significantly reduces the life span of a battery. Any auxiliary equipment connected to the battery or truck must be switched off or disconnected – remove the plug to stop the battery from discharging and avoid sulphation.
  4. The top of each battery must be cleaned before it is left sitting idle. In fact, this cleaning procedure should be occurring monthly. Clean the unit with battery cleaner or warm water. This prevents corrosion, voltage tracking, and faster self-discharge.
  5. Water levels should be filled correctly after each battery is fully charged. Water levels should cover the lead plates inside each cell.
  6. Batteries sitting idle should be protected from extreme cold. Cold temperatures impact a battery’s electrolyte, causing it to thicken and struggle to achieve the chemical reaction needed to power the forklift.
  7. Once your business is back in operation, monitoring your batteries in real-time – while in use –ensures each forklift is operating properly. This means each unit is working at a safe temperature, voltage, and amperage. Real-time alerts from monitoring technology, while in use, let managers act before damage or potential accidents occur.

Batteries are probably the most expensive asset in your warehouse after you factor in your fleet vehicles, so caring for them during a shut-down is crucial to protecting them and your investment.

Now, more than ever, the use of real-time technology is an essential tool to quickly identify problems in your warehouse operation that will impact your bottom line. Today’s telematic software works seamlessly to monitor all the moving parts of an organization in real-time and can oversee the use and care of the batteries that keep your fleet in motion.

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