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Thursday, January 19, 2023

Being in a warehouse, and running forklifts through multiple shifts a day can be an extremely taxing job. You need to take time to charge and let them cool down, which in busy operations can be difficult. Now, with the emergence of lithium-ion batteries, opportunity charging is becoming more popular. But what is it?

What is Opportunity Charging?

Opportunity charging is available for forklifts with lithium-ion batteries and lead-acid batteries but is much better suited for LiB. With this method, the batteries can stay in the truck for multiple shifts while being charged. It also takes advantage of breaks to charge the forklift. This means, when your employees are on lunch, taking a break, or switching shifts, the forklift can be plugged in and charged. When the operator returns, the forklift will have enough juice until the next charging opportunity. While opportunity charging is still available for lead-acid batteries, it can have some negative side effects, such as shortened battery life, and increased maintenance requirements. Whereas lithium-ion batteries, it can actually extend the overall life, and there is no need for increased battery maintenance.

What type of Warehouses Utilize Opportunity Charging?

While opportunity charging is best used for multi-shift warehouses, you can schedule a warehouse consultation with your Toyota Forklift dealer to see if it would be beneficial for your business. But in a single shift cycle, you have plenty of time to allow the forklifts to charge when the shift is over. In a multi-shift cycle, you don’t have the benefit of time, so opportunity charging can be extremely helpful in reducing downtime.

Considerations for Opportunity Charging

Now that you know the basics of opportunity charging, you might be open to the idea. But before you can move any further, make sure you take these things into consideration:

  • Will your operation benefit from opportunity charging?
    • As we talked about before, opportunity charging is typically for multi-shift operations. See how much time passes between each shift break and if you find that some forklifts have downtime while you wait for them to charge, opportunity charging may be beneficial.
  • What kind of charging stations do you have?
    • Opportunity charging does require a specific charging station, so you won’t be able to use the same charging station as you used for your lead-acid batteries. This is an initial investment that your company will need to consider before they make a decision.
  • Contact Dillon Toyota Lift if you have any doubts!
    • We can be an excellent resource if you’re thinking about changing to lithium-ion batteries and opportunity charging. We will be able to help you understand if your business needs to make a change, as well as the proper location and process for when the changes are made.

Keep in mind, opportunity charging won’t work for every operation. 

Posted by tfinco at 1/19/2023 1:08:00 PM
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
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