Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

Poor Forklift Battery Care Impacts Your Bottom Line

Posted by Thelma Marshall on Oct 18, 2018 4:00:00 AM

Forklift batteries cost between $2,000 and $6,000, depending on specs and size. So how well your enterprise cares for its forklift batteries effects profitability. The challenge for most facilities is that limited time and orders to fill take priority over proper battery care protocol. battery-98832_640

The solution for many facilities is to deploy telematic battery monitoring technology, which diligently monitors how all batteries are cared for and identifies each battery’s specific needs. Battery monitoring thus delivers a healthy return on investment (ROI) by ensuring proper care and charging practices are followed, resulting in longer lasting batteries and optimum performance.

Using battery monitoring to reduce expenses

There are several reasons why battery monitoring will reduce expenses and potentially boost your business’s bottom line. From cutting replacement costs to improving battery performance, your enterprise is probably a candidate for these improvements.  

Here are three situations to consider to determine if you will benefit from battery monitoring:

  1. Forklift batteries in your facility last about two years before they must be replaced.

This is often the result of poor charging practices, which reduce battery life expectancy from an average of 5+ years to two years or less.  

Telematics systems analyze each battery in the fleet, identifying actions that negatively impact battery life and utilization. Monitoring can eliminate premature charging, which eats away at battery lifespans. This occurs when someone charges a battery before it needs it, just because the timing is convenient. Knowing when to charge is as important as knowing how to charge. Each charge costs a battery a cycle, cutting its lifespan.  

  1. There is little accountability in your facility when it comes to battery care and maintenance.

Like the forklifts they fuel, batteries require specific scheduled maintenance to ensure safety and a long lifecycle.

Generally, proper practice includes: 

  • Weekly equalization 
  • Weekly watering 
  • Monthly cleaning

But some members of your team may not be following best practices. Are some employees over-discharging batteries? Who is putting batteries into use prematurely before proper charging is complete? Is weekly maintenance and cleaning taking place? Monitoring software analyzes worker behavior and identifies actions that negatively impact battery life and utilization.

  1. Batteries often lack the power to keep forklifts moving at the desired speed or make it through a shift.

Telematics monitors the critical battery status (e.g., state of charge, voltage, temperature, amperage) while powering a forklift. It monitors and shows you real-time information about each battery’s discharge. This can quickly identify batteries that have not been fully charged before use and lack the energy to properly power forklift movement through a shift.

The rule of thumb is to charge a forklift's battery once it falls below 30 percent charge and make sure it gets fully charged to 100 percent. 

If your batteries are not living up to expectations and powering your fleet for 2,000 work shifts or charge/discharge cycles, determine why. Battery costs can constitute a large portion of the costs associated with operating electric forklifts so telematic battery monitoring can be instrumental in reducing expenses and getting top performance out of this investment.

Topics: connected warehouse solutions, proactive warehouse management, battery monitoring, fleet monitoring, battery charging, forklift costs, real-time monitoring

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