Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

How Well Do You Really Care for Your Forklift Batteries?

Posted by Dick Sorenson on May 15, 2018 4:00:00 AM

Your facility may have battery-care protocol in place, but is it followed every day? Are batteries failing mid-shift or needing to be replaced sooner than their typical life expectancy indicates?

Managers can’t be everywhere, so how can you ensure proper care practices are followed and charging is done correctly for all forklift batteries each day? planning-2573117_640

Battery monitoring serves well in this capacity, delivering ROI by saving thousands in premature battery replacement costs, as well as forklift downtime and lots of frustration. After all, time wasted switching out poorly performing batteries mid-shift is costing everyone time and productivity.

Why is this a common problem? Some facilities lack battery-monitoring technology. And to be blunt, laziness in battery care is a pattern of behavior that is very easy to fall into, especially when workers are pushing to get the job done quickly versus correctly.

So, battery-monitoring technology can vastly improve the health and lifespan of batteries, allowing an enterprise to adhere to scheduled maintenance and proper charging techniques. It ensures everyone follows the protocol, and it tells managers exactly how well each battery is performing, if it was charged correctly, and if it has received proper maintenance.

How to reduce the costs of batteries for your fleet

Most new batteries have a lifespan of approximately 1,500 cycles — lasting up to five years — but, long battery life requires proper charging, cleaning, and maintenance. Telematic battery monitoring puts you in control of how long and how well your batteries will perform.

Here’s what you gain:

  1. An accurate assessment of battery health. Get real-time updates on when charges are occurring, targeted temperature readings, and the state of each charge.
  2. Prevention of premature charging practices. Knowing when to charge is as important as knowing how to charge. Each charge costs a battery a cycle, cutting its lifespan, so eliminating this common error can save thousands in replacement costs.
  3. Reduced downtime & associated costs. Reduce habits that cut productivity, like time lost from opportunity charging or swapping equipment mid-shift.
  4. Reduced battery-replacement purchases. Replacement costs for batteries can be thousands of dollars, so you realize significant savings when you prolong the lifespans of your batteries.
  5. Reduced battery idle time. Batteries left sitting uncharged for extended periods allow for hard sulphation and significant loss of run-time strength. This reduces the battery lifespan.
  6. Better control and right-sizing of equipment. Determine how many batteries your fleet needs. Half of businesses have too many, while the rest do not have enough. Three batteries per forklift is typical, but by “pooling and more effectively managing batteries,” that number can often be reduced.
  7. Proper battery watering. Battery watering is often done incorrectly, which is damaging to equipment. It is possible to over-water or under-water a battery unless a system is in place to monitor correct procedure.

Telematic battery monitoring facilitates the basic steps to ensure battery care is done correctly, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in replacement costs and forklift downtime due to poor battery function.


Topics: forklift batteries, best practices, battery monitoring technology, battery charging, one-screen access, value driven strategies, cost reduction

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