Electric powered forklifts eliminate expensive fuel costs for your facility, but unless the batteries that power your fleet are properly cared for, they may not deliver the expected cost-saving benefits. The solution is telematic battery monitoring.
Batteries require basic care and charging protocols. If these are neglected (which is very easy to do on a tight warehouse schedule), then their lifespan is cut short.
Here are three ways battery monitoring delivers ROI:
1. Correct charging
If batteries are left sitting uncharged for extended periods they accumulate hard sulfation, which reduces the battery’s lifespan and causes the battery to lose significant run-time strength.
Knowing when to charge your batteries is as important as knowing how to charge your batteries. 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. Charging should take place before batteries are discharged beyond 80 percent. Over-discharging will significantly reduce the lifespan of your battery.
For optimum lifespan and run time, batteries must be fully recharged daily. That means they must be 100% charged before they are used.
Battery-monitoring technology tracks the status of each battery, including when and how it is being charged. This can prevent many unexpected equipment issues, ensure you get the most power out of every battery, and reduce battery-replacement costs by extending battery lifespan.
2. Regular monthly cleaning
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.
Battery-monitoring technology tracks monthly maintenance and sends reminders when each cleaning should be scheduled, cutting the costs of poor maintenance.
3. Proper water levels
Unless a system is in place to monitor the correct procedure, it is possible to over- or under-water a battery. Water levels should cover the lead plates inside each cell. These levels should be checked and filled about every 10 charges for the first few years. Reconditioned batteries require attention every 5 charges. Watering should only occur when the battery is fully charged.
Many companies have transitioned to electric powered lift trucks because they are efficient, have zero emissions, and provide a cost-effective solution to rising fuel costs. In fact, electric lift trucks account for almost 65% of the total forklift market in the U.S.
But after forklifts, batteries are the most expensive asset in your warehouse. Battery-monitoring technology delivers ROI quickly because fleet managers can identify how to get the most cycles out of each battery. This insight is a critical component to reducing the need for costly premature replacement purchases and downtime.