Forklifts are a vital tool for many construction sites and warehouses. However, it is no secret they are a machine that comes with a pretty hefty price tag and considerable maintenance. It is vital to properly maintain your equipment to maximize its value and to extend its lifespan.
A battery is a vital component of a forklift. It keeps the machine running every day and is a significant financial expense itself. Most modern forklifts on the market, new and used, have lead-acid forklift batteries, although some are changing to lithium-ion batteries. Lead-acid batteries usually last about 1500 charges or about five years of daily use. There are several key aspects to focus on when you want to extend forklift battery life.
The most significant change you can make to extend forklift battery life is to be careful about your usage and charging. The average forklift battery can last for about 1500 charges. With a limited number of charges, you want to use each one to its maximum.
Therefore, you must charge your forklift battery properly. First, this means starting the charge from zero or low battery (less than 30% charged). Each time you charge your forklift battery, you must let the battery charge completely.
If you charge a battery too frequently when it still has more than 30%, it will shorten its life significantly. Bad charging practices include opportunity charging.
Opportunity charging is charging a battery on a lunch break or for a short period to get a couple more hours of use out of the charge. It is vital to let the battery run down or else you risk shortening its life. Finally, charging a battery when it is too hot or too cold also negatively impacts its life.
Changing a battery can be very expensive, time-consuming, and require a lot of space. To minimize the number of battery changes and extend forklift battery life it is vital to maintain the battery properly.
Ensuring proper battery rotation, charging techniques and protocols, and operations are key to proper battery maintenance. It is important to store, operate, and charge your battery at safe temperatures for each respective activity. Additionally, other steps in proper battery maintenance include monitoring battery water levels and equalizing your battery if and when necessary to prevent sulfating and stratification.
Cleaning is an essential step in maintaining your forklift battery. Some batteries require cleaning to maintain the warranty. However, a monthly cleaning is suggested to prevent corrosion and protect the battery’s electronics.
The forklift standard lead-acid batteries use battery management devices, but the newest technology, lithium-ion batteries, have far more advanced battery management systems. These systems monitor each battery’s statistics, use, and performance in real-time. This helps monitor battery utilization, as well as find failure points, misuse, and troubleshoot problems remotely.
This ability for the battery to be in constant communication can help deliver the longest battery life, the highest safety standards, and optimal performance. Soon, managers will monitor individual and fleet battery health remotely from a phone or tablet using connected battery technology. This remote monitoring will take many hours of maintenance, diagnostics, and troubleshooting out of maintaining your fleet.
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