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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Depending on what type of operation you run, as well as how many shifts your forklifts are working, you may utilize different charging methods. Selecting the correct charging method can have a major impact on your ROI, and selecting the wrong charging method is often one of the primary reasons that operations don’t realize the return they want from their electric forklifts.

Use this guide to help you explore common methods of forklift battery charging and work with a material handling solutions provider like your authorized Toyota dealer to make the best decision for your operations.

What is Conventional Forklift Battery Charging?

Conventional forklift battery charging is a battery is put it on its charger at the end of a shift and resumes use in the truck when the batter if fully charged. Conventional charging works best for companies that are running a one-shift operation. The downside to this charging method is that adding shifts requires additional batteries for each forklift. Once the first shift is finished, you will need to have a driver/staff take out the battery and replace it with the new one before the next shift can start. This will decrease the amount of time operators are driving the forklift, and subsequently decrease your productivity.

Conventional Forklift Battery Charging Works Best For One-Shift Operations

What is Fast Forklift Battery Charging?

Fast forklift battery charging is partially charging your forklift’s battery in a matter of 10-20 minutes, usually during breaks or between shifts. One benefit of this method is that you do not need a great deal of space for extra battery storage – you are using the same battery and charging more frequently. The downside to fast charging is that it is extremely hard on the battery, impacting the battery warranty, and giving the battery a shorter life. The fast charging method is best used by continuous-use operations since they need to keep forklifts moving as frequently as possible. The less time it takes to charge, the more time the forklift can be in operation. Note that fast charge operations need one night per week to fully charge the trucks and equalize the battery. This is typically completed over the weekend.

Fast Forklift Battery Charging Works Best For Continuous-Use Operations

What is Forklift Battery Opportunity Charging?

Opportunity charging is similar to fast charging and takes advantage of breaks and shift changes to charge the forklift. The biggest difference between opportunity and fast charging is the start rate of the chargers. The start rate of opportunity charging is between 21-30 amps per 100 AH, while fast charging is 31-60 amps per 100 AH. Opportunity charging will also require different chargers than conventional or fast methods. If you use a conventional or fast charger, attempting to opportunity charge may damage the battery and decrease its life.

Opportunity Forklift Battery Charging Works Best For Multi-Shift Operations

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Posted by tfinco at 2/23/2021 12:37:00 PM
Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The proper maintenance and handling of forklift batteries is imperative to their longevity. There’s a right way and a wrong way to maintain and handle forklift batteries and doing it properly will ensure your investment is maximized.

Proper Handling

Forklift batteries can be heavy and dangerous if not handled properly, so it’s important to be educated on the correct way to handle them. Use these tips for some ideas about handling batteries properly:

    • Use special equipment, like a walkie pallet jack equipped with a transfer carriage, to maneuver the battery. Because of the weight of some forklift batteries, no single person should attempt to move a forklift battery alone. Steel toe shoes should also be worn while moving the batteries.
    • An eye and hand washing station should be nearby. Should any hazardous liquid come in contact with hands or eyes, a hand and eye washing station should be conveniently located nearby to remove it as quickly as possible.
    • Chemical-resistant protective gear should be worn while maneuvering batteries. Having a conveniently located eye and hand washing station is necessary, but chemical-resistant gear should also be worn to keep the need for the station at bay. This includes safety glasses and gloves.
    • Remove all metallic jewelry when handling and charging.

Proper Charging

Properly charging a battery is all about doing it at the right time, for the right amount of time. Use these tips when charging your forklift battery:

    • Designate an area specifically for battery charging. This is an OSHA-recommended best practice.
    • Remember that lead acid batteries should be charged at 80 percent depth of discharge. Charging prior to 80 percent can result in reduced battery life depending on the type of battery.  Discharging the battery past 80 percent depth of discharge can also be detrimental.
    • If your battery overflows, take time to rinse it. Rinsing your battery after an overflow will help prevent corrosion.
    • Ensure compatibility between the battery and the charger. The charger that is being used should match the voltage/amperage of the battery. Color coding the connectors and clearly labeling the chargers can help to prevent accidentally connecting a battery to the wrong charger. Proper training is also imperative.
    • Avoid overcharging the battery. Some batteries have battery management systems that can prevent overcharging. If yours doesn’t, take precautions not to overcharge it, which can reduce the battery’s life.
    • Charge and operate the batteries at the proper temperature. Charging a battery in extreme cold or heat can cause reduced service life. Since battery types and specifications may vary, contact the battery manufacturer for their recommended charging temperature range.
    • Add water when needed after the charging cycle. Adding water to a wet-cell battery prior to charging the battery is a common mistake. Pure or distilled water should be used and the watering should occur after a full charge cycle to bring the electrolytes to the proper level.
    • Ensure the charger is turned off before connecting or disconnecting the battery.
Posted by tfinco at 12/15/2020 7:35:00 PM
Monday, July 13, 2020

Lead acid batteries are one of the most neglected pieces of equipment in material handling. Low water levels, corrosion, and electrolyte spillage are common issues that need to be monitored on a daily basis, but one practice that tends to be forgotten is the equalization charge. So, what is an equalization charge? I’m glad you asked!

What is an equalized charge on a forklift battery?

An equalization charge occurs when the battery is purposely overcharged after a full charging cycle. Essentially, you are charging the battery at a higher voltage than it is typically charged to help remove built-up sulfate and balance the voltage of each cell.

Why perform an equalized charge on a forklift battery?

If you don’t equalize your lead acid batteries, this sulfate is going to build up over time until it decreases the battery’s capacity. This buildup will effectively reduce your maximum run time, leading to more battery swaps or more time spent opportunity charging throughout the work shift. The voltage imbalance has a similar effect. Batteries work by using multiple cells that are connected in series to provide a certain voltage output. When you have varying power outputs in each cell, your overall battery voltage is reduced and your battery becomes discharged more quickly.

When should I perform an equalized charge on a forklift battery?

Equalization charges should be performed as suggested by the battery manufacturer, but many companies equalize their batteries over the weekend due to the long charging cycle. A full charge cycle is around eight hours for a standard lead acid battery and the equalization charge can be around an additional three hours. Equalization intervals will vary depending on your specific application, type and size of battery, and average operating hours.

How do I perform an equalized charge on a forklift battery?

First, you need a charger capable of equalization, as not all battery chargers have the same capabilities. Ensure you have the proper charging equipment for all of your forklifts. Some battery chargers will automatically equalize the batteries. This capability is more common in more sophisticated systems on smaller products such as electric walkie pallet jacks. Toyota’s 8HBW23 model, for example, automatically equalizes each battery cell during normal charging.

For batteries that do require manual equalization, be sure to follow all instructions provided by both the battery and the charger manufacturer to ensure you are following the appropriate steps for proper equalization. Equalization charges typically require longer cooldowns than normal charges due to the higher amount of voltage. Allow enough time for cooldown prior to using a battery that has been recently charged.

Posted by tfinco at 7/13/2020 2:11:00 PM
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