Everyone knows forklift batteries are an expensive yet necessary part of doing business for a warehouse or distribution center. So, the more forklift battery facts you know, the better equipped you are to get the most out of each battery and reduce the frequency of costly replacement purchases.
Here are the top 10 battery facts you should know:
- If basic care and charging protocols are neglected (which is very easy to do on a tight warehouse schedule), battery lifespan is cut short. Battery-monitoring technology tracks the status of each battery, including when and how it is being charged.
- Knowing when to charge is as important as knowing how to charge. Charging should take place before batteries are discharged beyond 80 percent.
- Over-discharging is also a problem and will significantly reduce the lifespan of a battery.
- Most batteries have a lifespan of about 1,500 charge cycles. Each charge costs a cycle, which means the lifespan can be quickly depleted if you charge based on convenience rather than need.
- Heavy loads drain the battery more quickly. Warning signs of a low battery include slow starting, dim headlights, and the ammeter indicating discharge at high RPM.
- The top of each battery must be cleaned monthly with a battery cleaner or warm water. This simple step is easy to forget but it prevents corrosion, voltage tracking, and faster self-discharge.
- Water levels should be checked and filled correctly about every 10 charges for the first few years and only when the battery is fully charged. Water levels should cover the lead plates inside each cell.
- Cold temperatures impact a battery’s electrolyte, causing it to thicken and struggle to achieve the chemical reaction needed to power the forklift.
- Batteries can be dangerous to handle. Only trained personnel should charge and change batteries in electric forklifts. Training should include emergency procedures in the event of an acid splash, including how to use eyewash and shower facilities.
- Monitoring batteries in real time — while in use — ensures each forklift is operating 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 monitoring them is crucial to protect and to get the most benefit out of your investment.
Now, more than ever, real-time technology is an essential tool to quickly identify problems in your warehouse operation that will impact your bottom line. Today’s telematics software works seamlessly to monitor all the moving parts of an organization and can oversee the use and care of the batteries that keep your fleet in motion.