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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.

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.

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.

Tips For Longer Forklift Battery Life

Posted on January 25, 2011 00:46 by Admin

Battery replacement cost is a big part of an electric fleet budget, so companies want to get as much use as possible out of their batteries. Useful battery life can be greatly extended by observing a few forklift battery maintenance tips.

Clean Batteries Are Happy Batteries

A little mud here and a little scratch there aren't considered a problem in most forklift fleets. After all, you care more about performance than looks when it comes to your vehicles. However there is one kind of mess you don't want to see, and that's battery corrosion. The white residue that builds up on terminals is conductive and causes batteries to drain even when not in use.

The first step in most forklift battery maintenance programs is to clean the battery terminals using a solution of baking soda. This simple task keeps batteries charged longer and cuts replacement costs. Cleaning by hand works only for the smallest of fleets, so we recommend Multi-Shifter battery washers to make the process easy, fast and safe.

With Battery Charging, More Is Not Better

Different rechargeable batteries respond to different charging schemes. The lithium-ion batteries in your cell phone may benefit from frequent charging, but the lead-acid batteries in your forklift won't. Constantly topping off a forklift during the day or recharging batteries daily in vehicles used only occasionally is not the right tactic.

Forklift batteries are designed to work until they are discharged about 80% of their power. Most charge gauges start the "red zone" at this point. It doesn't matter if it takes a few hours or a few days to reach this point, recharging the units early will shorten the unit's life. Our forklift battery maintenance recommendation is to recharge as soon as a battery hits this point but not before.

But Less Is Not Better Either

Don't take the above advice too far. Using a battery well into the red zone is known as a deep discharge, and this is even worse than charging too often. Not only will this compromise a battery's ability to hold a charge, but it can damage the forklift. Deep discharged batteries cause the vehicles electrical system to run hot and this will eventually lead to breakdown and big repair bills.

The best forklift battery maintenance policy is to recharge a battery is right about the point it reaches 80% discharge. Of course, this is not necessarily convenient to forklift operation. We recommend that our clients remove the discharged battery and put in a new one rather than using the common practice of plugging the vehicle in to recharge. Replacement means the truck can be back in service in a few minutes, and the drained battery can be recharged at your leisure.

Multi-Shifter's line of battery handling equipment makes forklift battery maintenance safe and easy, as well as extending battery life and reducing operating costs.