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How To Reduce Forklift Fleet Operation Costs

Posted on February 6, 2012 19:02 by Admin

Forklift fleets will always incur some costs, but wise fleet management can keep these costs to a minimum. Here are a few tips to keep your fleet in top shape. These tips may cost you a little money up front, but they will save you many times your investment over the months and years to follow.

1.    Keep Batteries Charged - OK, we admit we are a little biased, but here at Multi-Shifter we think the most important components of a forklift fleet are the industrial battery systems. Batteries charged too often or not often enough will at best reduce productivity as trucks stop working and need battery replacement, and at worst cause permanent damage or worker injury.

2.    The Impact Of Impacts - Your forklift can take the occasional bump as a driver misjudges a turn, but that doesn't mean your warehouse should become a demolition derby. Minimize collisions by ensuring aisles are plenty wide, obstacles are well marked, and drivers are alert to any dangers.

3.    Fleet Maintenance - Use Multishifter equipment to keep your industrial battery systems clean of corrosion as well as fully charged. However don't forget other components. Replace worn tires and wheels and inspect all systems regularly. Proper maintenance now prevents breakdowns or accidents later.

4.    Floor Maintenance, Part 1 - Remember forklifts tend to go back and forth over the same ground. A damaged threshold or hole in the floor might not hurt the tires much if a driver goes over it once, but that damage builds up as he goes over it repeatedly. Address any floor repairs as soon as possible to minimize damage to the fleet.

5.    Floor Maintenance, Part 2 - Sweep up any debris in forklift aisles. It may not seem like a stray bolt or a splinter off a pallet will do much damage, but these small items can damage tires and increase maintenance costs. Plastic wrap or twine can foul the wheel and damage bearings. The floors don't need to be clean enough to eat off of, but they should be free of debris.

6.    Worker Training - Drivers can't read your mind. New drivers should receive training in fleet operations, industrial battery systems maintenance, and safety procedures. Training should be repeated annually, since even the most dedicated drivers forget things over time.

7.    Find The Right Truck - Don't use the wrong forklift for the job. If you do, you run the risk of damaging the truck, injuring workers, or slowing down production. If the truck doesn't fit the job, you either need to change the job or get a new truck.

Pay attention to details like tire wear and industrial battery systems, and you will extend your fleet life and reduce repair and replacement costs.

A well-designed forklift battery maintenance program includes a dedicated recharging area, but that should be more than just a random corner in the warehouse. Pay careful attention to the maintenance area's location, layout and safety to ensure you create the most effective and economical facility.

Finding The Best Site

Forklift battery maintenance areas are often tucked out of sight, almost as afterthoughts to facility layout. The problem with that kind of location is your forklift drivers have to go out of their way each time a battery change is needed. This is more time the vehicle is off the floor. It's better to put changing area in the middle of your facility to minimize the distance each truck has to go to get a new battery.

Many fleet managers prefer to use portable battery lift vehicles to replace batteries out in the field rather than having the trucks drive in individually. Since the lift carries many batteries at once, it means fewer trips to the recharge area and location is less important. However the maintenance area shouldn't be too far out of the way.

Accessible Layout

The forklift battery maintenance area is going to get more traffic than most places in your facility so plan the approaches accordingly. Aisles should be straight and wide so drivers can get in and out quickly. Exiting trucks should not get in the way of arriving ones. Some managers prefer a one-way pass through design, while others ensure routes are wide enough to allow two-way traffic in and out of the area.

Plan the maintenance area with plenty of room for the actual replacement of batteries. Workers shouldn't have to twist or strain to get to the batteries, nor should drivers have to navigate through obstacles to get into position. Plants using mobile battery changing systems, either in addition or instead of having trucks come in, should be sure approaches are wide enough to handle these larger vehicles.

Worker Safety

There are many dangers in a forklift battery maintenance area, but as long as you have the right equipment, policies and attitude toward safety, your workers will be protected. One of the most obvious dangers is burns from battery acid. Not only should you have an eyewash station, but the approach to the station should be kept clear so blinded workers don't stumble.

Another important danger is the buildup of hydrogen gas that occurs during recharging. The area should be well-ventilated, smoking should be absolutely prohibited, and all necessary fire safety equipment should be available. This includes alarms and clearly-marked fire extinguishers. Workers should receive emergency response training so they know what to do in the event of an accident.

A dedicated forklift battery maintenance area is essential to efficient fleet operations. Make sure the design the facility right in the first place, and you will have less downtime and fewer accidents in the long run.

The Secret To Buying Cheap Forklift Batteries

Posted on August 18, 2011 20:05 by Admin

Multi-Shifter battery changing systems allow our customers to get more life from their batteries through proper recharging policies. However our equipment can help you save money on the purchase of new batteries as well. Instead of buying new batteries, squeeze more life out of the used batteries you can buy from other electric vehicle fleets.

The Market For Used Forklift Batteries

Every fleet manager knows that rechargeable batteries "wear out". With each recharge cycle the battery holds a little bit less charge. Our battery changing systems stretch out the life of a battery but eventually every power cell is doomed. However just because a battery is not longer effective in a particular role doesn't mean it can't be saved. Batteries used in large vehicles can be repurposed for use in smaller vehicles, such as forklifts carrying light loads. A battery that is no longer usable in a forklift transporting steel beams might be fine in a forklift operating in a clothing warehouse, since the latter is transporting much smaller loads.

Used Battery Benefits

The most common reason companies turn to used batteries is the cost savings. Used batteries are much cheaper, costing as little as half or even less of the price of a new battery, and can be used for many months. If your company uses both heavy and light lifters, you can even supply your own used batteries. Buy new batteries for the heavy machinery and then, as the power capacity dwindles, move the batteries to the light fleet. You get twice the use for the same price.

A less obvious benefit of reusing batteries is the environmental impact. Batteries are recycled to keep the dangerous heavy metals out of the environment, but even the recycling process uses energy and resources. If you can repurpose a battery and double its life, that means fewer resources used in the recycling process.

How Multi-Shifter Helps You With Used Batteries

To be fair, used batteries do require a bit of special handling. They need to be recharged more frequently than new batteries, but that doesn't have to have much of an impact on fleet productivity. Multi-Shifter battery changing systems are designed to make it easy to swap out discharged batteries for new ones, getting the forklift back on the floor in minutes. The discharged battery is transported to your recharging center where it can be ready to go in a few hours. Battery changing systems are safer and faster than manual battery removal. We think you'll find there is very little loss of productivity even with the more frequent replacement.

With more frequent battery replacement and the help of a Multi-Shifter battery changing system, your fleet will run as efficiently as before but at a much lower cost. Battery purchase expenses are lower, and you will be doing your part for the environment.

When winter arrives many fleet managers are surprised at how quickly forklifts and other electric vehicles required battery recharge. Low temperatures affect how industrial battery systems operate and can have a negative impact on fleet performance. Here are a few tips to keeping your batteries and vehicles at top productivity during the cold winter months.

How To Keep A Charge On Batteries

Industrial battery systems provide power by a chemical reaction between the electrolytes and the metal in the battery. The speed of chemical reactions is affected by temperature, proceeding more quickly when it's hot and more slowly when it's cold. This in turn affects the battery's power output--a slower reaction means less power. A cold battery puts out less power so has a shorter operating life before needing recharge. Managers can increase the frequency of battery replacement, or can use battery heaters to keep the units warm.

One benefit of this relationship between power and temperature is that unused batteries hold their charge longer when it's cold out. All rechargeable batteries slowly leak power when unused, but the rate of loss slows as the temperature drops. Refrigerated batteries hold their charge much longer than ones stored at room temperature.

Freezing Dangers

The liquid in industrial battery systems can freeze, preventing the battery from operating and potentially damaging the casing. Battery solution has a lower freezing point than water, and the actual temperature it freezes is based on the battery's charge. Fully charged batteries can be stored safely even at temperatures well below zero, but partially discharged batteries freeze at temperatures only slightly below the freezing point of water.

If possible, keep vehicles inside on very cold nights. The area doesn't have to be warm, but should be kept above freezing. Charge the batteries at night since charging batteries, like running water, can't freeze. If the vehicles can't be stored indoors, consider removing the batteries and taking them inside at night. This doesn't have to happen every night, only on nights where the temperature is going to drop below freezing.


Most fleet managers know to keep battery recharging areas well ventilated due to the hydrogen gas given off by industrial battery systems during the charging cycle. Explosive hydrogen gas plus the ignition source inherent in the battery recharging process is a disaster waiting to happen. Good airflow ensures the gas is never able to build up to explosive levels.

During cold months, workers may close doors and windows to keep out the cold. Managers need to consider whether or not recharging areas are getting enough airflow in this case. If not, workers need to be educated about what needs to be kept open during charging operations. Worker comfort is important, but so is worker safety.

Follow these simple hints and your fleet and the industrial battery systems they depend on will run just as well in the winter as they do in the summer. Contact us for more information!

Although forklift batteries are reasonably safe, there are a few hazards associated with handling the units. Multi-Shifter's battery handling equipment is designed not only for convenience and fleet efficiency, but also for safety.

Shock Hazards

Workers who touch exposed terminals can suffer serious electrical shocks that can cause skin burns, muscle spasms, respiratory and heart failure and even death. Even people who carefully avoid the terminals can get a serious shock if a tool, jewelry or other metal object brings someone into indirect contact with live electricity.

Multi-Shifter's battery handling equipment minimizes an employee's contact with the terminals, and reduces the chance of dangerous electrical shock. All of our products are designed to distance the operator from the power cell, and to minimize the chance that an electrical circuit between the user and the terminals can be completed.

Corrosive Dangers

The acid in forklift batteries may seem minor, but sulfuric acid is a strongly corrosive substance. It can cause scarring skin burns, and eye damage so severe it can lead to permanent blindness. Workers may know to be careful when opening battery caps, but they can also be splashed with acid if the power cell should drop during removal or transport.

Our battery handling equipment holds batteries securely so they can't fall, and our patented bed design ensures they won't roll off during transport. Operators stand far enough away from the cells that even in the extremely unlikely even one splashes acid, the worker should be safe.

Explosive Gases

One of the most overlooked dangers in lead-acid power cells is the potential for the buildup of volatile hydrogen gas. During recharging, batteries naturally give off a small amount of gas. Over a long period, the gas can build up in pockets in the room where any spark or ignition source can trigger a fiery explosion.

Workers cannot detect hydrogen since it has no odor or color, so the gas could build up for hours without anyone realizing. Recharging should be done only in well-ventilated areas, and all ignition sources such as flames or cigarettes should be expressly forbidden.

Strain Injuries

Batteries are very heavy. Workers can injure their backs, shoulders, and other muscles and joints if they are not very careful when lifting and transferring the power cells. An employee who drops one of these batteries on his foot better hope he's wearing steel-toed boots. A better option than manual transport is our line of battery handling equipment such as lifters and shifters.

Let the machines do the heavy lifting so your workers don't risk injury. Although our products are designed to be simple to operate, we strongly recommend every worker receive formal training on proper operation before using the equipment.

Safety should always be the primary focus of any job site. Multi-Shifter battery handling equipment protects your workers from the hazards of forklift batteries.

Many companies offer their customers the convenience of a ride on an electric vehicle to and from their cars. Hospitals, airports and concert arenas are just a few of the facilities where you'll find these vehicles. Rather than using inefficient methods of recharging, we recommend a Multi-Shifter battery changing system to keep your fleet operating efficiently.

Keep Vehicles In Service

A common protocol is to run the vehicles during the day and then plug them in to recharge overnight. However what if you have a day of high traffic and your shuttles grind to a halt? Can you really afford to keep extra vehicles around to fill in while the drained carts are recharging? A more economical choice is to swap power cells with a battery changing system.

With Multi-Shifter equipment, workers lift the old cell out of the vehicle and then replace it with a fully charged one. The shuttle is back in operation in a few minutes. It's more affordable to keep a few extra batteries around then to maintain an oversized fleet. This fast turnaround means you can expand your hours, since shuttles can go as long as you can keep putting in fresh batteries.

Healthier Batteries

Any piece of equipment will last longer if you treat it right, and rechargeable batteries are no exception. The leading cause of battery failure is incorrect charging schedules. If you discharge batteries either too much or too little before recharging, it greatly impacts the unit's ability to hold a charge. Soon you find your vehicles need to come back for recharging more and more frequently. Even worse, deep discharges can cause serious electrical problems in the vehicles themselves, leading to expensive repairs.

The short swap time of a Multi-Shifter battery changing system means you can bring vehicles in for new batteries when the cell is discharged at the proper level. Smart management can greatly increase the unit's life, and significantly cut your expenses. And yet this is done without any negative effect on fleet operations.

Reduced Worker Injury

It's no surprise that a big chunk of lead filled with electricity and acid offers numerous hazards. Our battery changing system keeps your workers safe by removing them from the danger area.

Manual power cell replacement is a problem because many vehicle manufacturers are concerned with making the vehicle pretty, often by putting the battery in an inconvenient place. Workers have to bend over to lift it out, straining their backs. A better option is to use a battery changing system that puts the weight on equipment sturdy enough to handle it.

Workers can be shocked or burned with acid if they are not careful. While these injuries may not be common, they can be devastating when they occur. Multi-Shifter equipment lets workers stand back, out of harm's way.

Contact Multi-Shifter today and let one of our representatives show you how a battery changing system can help your fleet of electric vehicles.

There are a number of fleet management cost cutting strategies that will save the company money, but only after weeks or months. One option that cuts costs from the first day of operation is investing in a Multi-Shifter battery lifter.

Lower Liability And Worker Time Off

Even if you've been handling batteries for years, it's still easy to be surprised by just how heavy a chunk of lead can be. Workers not prepared for the weight of batteries can strain muscles. If the unit is not gripped tightly it can slip and fall on someone's food, or even crack the cell cover and spray acid. Worker's compensation claims and sick days as employees recover from battery-related injuries can be significant costs.

The safer way to replace batteries is to use a hydraulic battery lifter. Workers are protected from strain injuries, and the power cells are gripped tightly so they won't fall. Fewer injuries not only reduce company liability and costs, but improve worker morale.

Less Downtime

Manual replacement of batteries is slow and inefficient. Workers have to move carefully to ensure the power cell is removed safely, and then the unit has to be taken to the recharging station. The new cell has to be inserted just as carefully to avoid injury. This downtime reduces fleet productivity as both forklift and driver sit there idle through the process.

Swapping power cells with a battery lifter takes a fraction of the time over doing it by hand. The old cell is easily popped out and a new unit placed before the driver even has a chance to get comfortable. The forklift is placed back on the line much more quickly. Productivity improves across the fleet as each truck is able to get more done in a day.

Reliable Batteries And Forklifts

A good maintenance program extends the life of both the forklifts and the power cells. Running equipment to failure simply runs up repair and replacement costs. Despite this, some fleet managers extend maintenance periods to get the most work out of each forklift, balancing equipment costs against productivity levels.

Battery lifters mean fleet managers don't have to make that choice. Since power cell replacement goes so quickly, it doesn't significantly affect downtime. Batteries are replaced at optimal discharge points and can be kept in service far longer than cells that have been deep discharged. Forklifts have fewer maintenance problems associated with excessively discharged batteries.

Fleets large and small benefit from battery lifters from the first day the equipment is put into service. Why wait when you can start saving money today? Contact Multi-Shifter today and let us help you choose the battery lifter that is right for your fleet.

Corrosion on batteries is a serious problem that leads to increased costs, worker injury and forklift damage. There are three ways companies might choose to keep terminals clean, and Multi-Shifter washing equipment is the best of these three choices.

Problems With Manual Washing

Most drivers have a little battery washing experience. Baking soda and a wire brush keep the terminals on car batteries shiny and corrosion free, but this isn't efficient when you have a fleet of vehicles. It takes time and exposes workers to corrosive chemicals and toxic heavy metals.

Another drawback of hand washing is that there really isn't any way to keep the wash water from going down the drain or spilling on the ground and soaking into the soil. Batteries give off small amounts of lead and other heavy metals during the wash process, and even a tiny amount of these metals can devastate a water table. The practice is not only environmentally unsound, but will trigger massive financial penalties for violating government regulations.

What About Battery Washing Companies?

Sometimes the answer is outsourcing. If your company doesn't have the equipment or expertise to do something right, find a vendor who can do it for you. Most forklift fleet managers get cold calls from battery washing companies who offer convenient and environmentally safe washing services for the fleet's batteries.

Although these battery handling services are preferable to manual washing, they are very expensive. Contracting with a cleaning service greatly inflates fleet operating costs, and can seriously jeopardize company profits. Outsourcing is generally used to save money, not spend more, and many forklift fleet managers are looking for an alternative. Luckily there is an alternative that offers the convenience of onsite cleaning with the low cost of doing it yourself: Multi-Shifter dedicated washing stations.

Multi-Shifter Battery Washing Systems

Our battery washers have been designed with one goal in mind: removing corrosion from batteries' terminals. The washing process is automated so operators can complete their tasks quickly and with a minimum of training. Our Programmable Wash Cabinet takes batteries through a feeder system, automatically indexing, washing and drying each cell. The Power Wash Cabinet is easily loaded with our Mobile Shifter vehicle.

Operators are not exposed to dangerous chemicals. Both systems used a closed loop washing system, which has two environmental benefits. It reduces water use by recycling water from the last cycle, and it keeps acids and heavy metals out of the drainage system, and out of the water we drink. Add the Multi-Shifter Environmental Filtration Unit to remove contaminants from the wash water for easy and safe disposal.

Contact Multi-Shifter to find a dealer in your area who can set up your business with the latest in battery washing and water filtering equipment so you can start reducing fleet operating costs right away.

Fleets of forklifts are a necessary component of many industrial operations. Many organizations are abandoning gasoline-powered vehicles in favor the greener alternative of electric vehicles used with an efficient battery management system.

Green Benefits Of Electric Vehicles

You can't use a gasoline-powered forklift inside a warehouse, but that doesn't make them any safer when used outside. In addition to producing large amounts of greenhouse gases, gas engines also put out emissions that cause health problems including lung cancer and genetic damage. Nearby workers are exposed to disturbingly high levels of these dangerous chemicals. Fuel kept onsite is an explosion or fire waiting to happen, and a gasoline spill can contaminate the water table.

Electric vehicles give off no dangerous emissions, which is why they are the choice for fleets used indoors. However this lack of emissions is exactly the reason to use them outdoors as well. They improve local air quality, keeping workers healthy, and the batteries are safer to use and store than gasoline is, especially when used as part of a comprehensive battery management system.

Reuse And Recycling

The most environmentally responsible policy is to use any resource as long as possible. For batteries, that means implementing a battery management system to make replacing and recharging the units simple and safe. The flexibility of replacing drained batteries with new ones, and then recharging outside the vehicle allows the units to be charged at optimal times. This improves their ability to hold power and extends their useful life, minimizing replacement.

Eventually, despite the most efficient battery management systems, all batteries wear out and can't hold power for very long. This is the time for the units to be taken to a recycling center where the resources in the cells can be recovered and used again, possibly to make more batteries. Maximizing the useful life of each battery ensures this recycling is done only as a last resort.

Keeping Batteries Clean

A battery management system is more than just equipment to replace power cells. Supporting devices allow batteries to be moved, stored and recharged quickly and safely. Periodically, batteries need to be cleaned. Corrosion builds up on the terminals, which is not only dangerous to workers, but causes the power cell to slowly discharge even when not in use.

Washing batteries creates the risk of heavy metals such as lead getting into the groundwater. Heavy metals cause serious environmental damage, which is why dedicated battery washers have been designed to recover these dangerous elements for proper storage and disposal. Dumping battery wash wastewater down the drain is both irresponsible and illegal. The wash units are simple to operate and require less effort, and therefore incur less cost, then washing manually.

For managers not impressed by the environmental advantages of electric fleets and battery management systems, explain the cost benefits. Well maintained batteries greatly reduce operating costs, and everyone loves a better bottom line.

An Industrial Battery Systems Primer

Posted on December 29, 2010 20:25 by Admin

If you have a small fleet of electric forklifts or other vehicles, you might be charging the batteries overnight or replacing them by hand. As your business grows, this is no longer an affordable or safe way to keep your fleet operational. We understand that new customers may be confused by the different industrial battery systems we offer and what role they serve in fleet operation.

Lifts And Transports

It's rarely cost effective to remove a vehicle from service for a long recharge. Instead, it's better to replace a drained cell with a fresh one and move the dead cell to a recharge station. Rather than taking the unit out by hand, which can be dangerous, our battery lifters use powerful magnets to raise the cell out of the vehicle and move it onto a bed for transport. The lifts then carry their cargo to the recharge area, load up with new units, and head out for another round of replacement.

Recharge Stations

It's a bad idea to use standard industrial shelving to store batteries during the charging cycle. Our battery storage systems are solidly built to take the weight, protected against acid spills, and have rollers to make it easy to insert or remove power cells safely. Designed specifically to accommodate the dimensions of the most common power cells, Multi-Shifter industrial battery systems let you store more batteries per square foot than would be possible with other storage solutions.


Acid leaks and corrosion, as well as just good old fashioned dirt, accumulate on terminals and the outsides of batteries. Washing them by hand is not only tedious, but can be dangerous as the corrosive and toxic chemicals are sprayed everywhere. Multi-Shifter industrial battery systems include a line of self-contained washing equipment that automatically move the cells along rollers through a wash cycle and a dry cycle, collecting the water for later treatment. The hands-off cleaning treatment keeps your workers safe, and gets the batteries cleaner than manual washing can.

Water Treatment

Another reason to use our industrial battery systems for washing is we collect the waste water for treatment. The acid and heavy metals in the wash water cannot simply be dumped into the sewer system. Outside treatment is expensive, but our water filtration products have been designed specifically to clean up the contaminants found in wash water from batteries. They neutralize the acid and, more importantly, capture the lead, copper and other heavy metals that are devastating environmental pollutants. The closed-loop design ensures the water never comes near your sewer system, instead feeding it back to the washers for the next cycle.

Contact one of our representatives and let us demonstrate how our products save you money and keep your fleet in operation.