Have you recently purchased used electric forklifts?
Sure. It saves you some money and gives you access to advanced technology.
But it also makes maintenance more crucial than ever. After all, you own a forklift that has been used before, with some of its parts having undergone wear and tear.
And the battery is often the part that demands the best of your maintenance. Regular maintenance ensures that your forklift battery works at its peak efficiency.
Diligent attention to the battery, involving regular checks, thorough cleanings, and timely interventions, proves essential for maximizing both its efficiency and lifespan.
Taking proper care of your electric forklift battery can increase its life by more than 40%. As a result, it leads to decreased expenses; improved battery safety, and enhanced forklift performance.
So let’s walk through some simple steps to keep your forklift’s batteries in top shape which ultimately saves you money, time, and stress down the road. Let’s get started.
Avoid Using Your Forklift When the Battery is at 20%:
If your forklift’s battery is consumed more than 80% (or reaches 20%), make sure to charge it. Deep charging is generally not recommended as it can risk the battery’s health and could impact the machine. The traction and hydraulics are likely to slow down when the battery is below 20%.
Don’t Charge Intermittently:
Let’s admit it.
Many electric forklift operators tend to charge their forklift whenever they have a spare couple of minutes or during a lunch break. This practice is called “opportunity charging”. However, it is not good for your battery’s health and can impact its lifespan.
A battery’s lifespan depends on the number of charge cycles it has undergone. Regular short charges will affect battery efficiency and ultimately reduce its ability to get charged.
If people charge the forklift batteries for only short times, say 30 minutes or so, they’ll have to do it more often over time. Sadly, doing this on and off will make the batteries less and less good at holding a charge, and eventually, they might not charge up at all.
Check the Water Level in the Battery:
Keep in mind that water plays an important role in maintaining your batteries.
During a cycle, the water inside it gets hot and separates into two parts: hydrogen and oxygen. The negative plate releases hydrogen, and the positive one releases oxygen.
As time goes on, the water level decreases. When it goes down too much, the plates are exposed to air. This makes the material on the plates dry and easily breakable, causing lasting harm. To prevent this, regularly check the water level and add distilled water when needed. Just be careful not to put in too much water.
Maintain a Safe Temperature:
Forklifts are usually operated in extreme environments. However, to keep your battery last longer, try to keep the operating temperature at or below 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius).
If you still have to operate at a higher temperature, make sure to maintain circulation in the battery compartment for effective cooling. Due to the chemical nature of the battery, the life of the battery is reduced by 50% for every 10 degrees Celsius above 25 degrees Celsius, the battery life is halved. Consequently, the longevity at 35 degrees Celsius is half that at 25 degrees Celsius, and at 45 degrees Celsius, it is half that at 35 degrees Celsius.
Be Careful with Fast Charging:
Fast charging seems great because it can reduce downtime by up to 10%, but it has some downsides. It’s important to be careful, especially with lead-acid batteries, as they can be seriously affected by the heat produced during fast charging. While other batteries like nickel and lithium can also feel the impact of heat, they are usually more resilient when charged quickly.
So try to keep fast charging to emergencies only.
Check the Electrolyte Levels Regularly:
Keep an eye on the electrolyte levels regularly. After three months, it’s important to check the electrolyte levels of all batteries, including those that have had a refresh charge.
Following these steps is crucial because batteries that are not fully charged or partially charged can develop a problem called sulphation. This can decrease the battery’s capacity, and fixing it can take a lot of time and money.
Clean the Battery:
Using battery cleaner or warm water, carefully clean the tops of each battery. This simple thing can help prevent chemical build-up, which can lead to tray corrosion over time.
The buildup of dirt and corrosive substances on the battery’s surface poses a threat to its overall health, potentially causing damage that could have been easily prevented.
It’s a small effort that goes a long way in ensuring that your equipment operates at its best, avoiding unnecessary repair costs and downtime.
Know When to Replace Your Used Forklift’s Battery:
While regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of your used electric forklift battery, certain indicators suggest a replacement might be necessary.
If you observe uncontrollable and excessive sulfation on the battery plates, it’s recommended to consider replacing the battery. Another red flag for potential replacement is an unusually rapid drain shortly after charging. To maximize battery life, it’s crucial to keep a close eye on charging times and levels.
Sluggish charging, accelerated discharge, and the presence of corroded terminals are additional clear signs that it’s time to invest in a new forklift battery. Recognizing these signals promptly ensures that your forklift continues to operate efficiently and avoids potential disruptions caused by a failing battery. Regular vigilance and proactive action contribute to the overall reliability and longevity of your forklift’s power source.
The Bottom Line:
Battery is the heart and soul of your electric forklift. You should take battery maintenance more seriously if you have used forklifts. It will increase the life of your battery and add to the performance of your forklift.