Your forklifts are in constant use, and they need battery power to keep them in motion. But, as batteries age, they may not be running quite as efficiently as when they were new. The question is, how do you know when it’s time replace your forklift batteries?
How old is too old?
The simple answer is: you should first refer to your forklift owner’s manual. This information was compiled for a good reason. It will give you a general idea of how long a battery should remain efficient under typical use and charging protocol.
But, how well you care for — and charge — each battery can add or subtract time from that average timeframe. This is where telematic battery-monitoring technology comes in handy, ensuring:
- proper and complete charging takes place
- thorough record-keeping of battery cleaning
- overall battery health is monitored and you are notified when batteries begin to fail
This is when your batteries should be replaced.
How to postpone new battery purchases
Why spend money before you have to? Regular maintenance is more effective if it is based off of data that deems it necessary. Battery-monitoring technology provides that data — allowing you to be proactive in extending the life of your batteries and replacing them when necessary.
Monitoring postpones new battery purchases because it ensures that you:
- Charge when it is needed, not when it is convenient: Don’t opportunity charge and don’t swap mid-shift. Premature charging eats away at the battery life: Each charge costs a battery a cycle, cutting its lifespan. Most new batteries will last approximately 1,500 cycles. A battery charged once each work day — about 300 times in a year — can last up to five years. Charge batteries at the end of each shift, or if it is more than 30% discharged.
- Fully charge each time: Batteries must get fully recharged Failing to do so will cut the run-time and lifespan.
- Keep it clean: Monthly, clean the top of the batteries with a battery cleaner or warm water. Regular cleaning prevents build up from the cell breather during the charge process.
- Water only when the battery is fully charged: Water boils in a charging battery, so too much water will overflow, causing damage. Water levels should be checked and filled correctly about every 10 charges for the first few years.
- Use the proper amount of water: Too much or too little water can also cut the lifespan of the battery. There is enough water when the level is high enough to cover the lead plates inside each cell.
Using battery-monitoring technology is an efficient way to extend battery lifespan, monitor battery health, and identify exactly when a battery should be replaced. It is vital to your bottom line to know when that purchase is necessary in order to avoid costly inefficiency.