The Dos and Don’ts of Forklift Battery Maintenance
The forklift machine is the most frequently used equipment in material handling industries. Abuse of the machine will reduce the battery’s life and reduce performance. If you want to get the most out of your new or existing battery, there are a couple of things you will have to do. Here are the dos and don’ts of forklift battery maintenance.
Charging Dos and Don’ts
Most of the abuse takes place during charging. Here are the things you should and should not do when charging your forklift battery.
- Recharge when the battery reaches 20 to 30 percent
You should discontinue using the battery when it gets to the 20% charge remaining mark. If you continue to use the forklift truck past the 20% charge, you will impact the lifespan of the battery negatively. Deep-discharging will also cause the electrical components to overheat and get damaged.
- Allow the battery to charge completely
Batteries have a limited number of charges. This is about 1,500. These charges do not distinguish between full and half charging. Always charging your battery partially will shorten its life.
- Avoid extreme temperatures
The life of a battery can be reduced by as much as 50% when the ambient temperatures get to 92 degrees. The battery performance will also drop by up to 30% when the temperatures get to 30 degrees. If you plan on using your forklift in areas with extreme temperatures, always buy batteries designed for those extreme conditions.
- Don’t swap batteries mid-shift
While the ideal time to charge is when the forklift battery is at 20 to 30%, charging when it is at 50% is not ideal. Use the whole charging cycle.
- Don’t charge over lunchtime
Opportunity charging or quick charging will only shorten the life of your battery. You should charge once a day preferably at night so that the battery charges to 100%. During lunchtime, there is a chance you will disconnect it when it is not yet fully charged and charge it later. That means you will end up charging twice a day which quickly diminishes the 1,500 charges in a battery.
Maintenance Dos and Don’ts
To maintain a battery, you need to check the water at least once a week and clean the top once a month. The hard part is making sure the required maintenance is actually done. Here are the dos and don’ts of battery maintenance.
- Wear protective gear
Always follow the OSHA recommendations for removing metallic jewelry and wearing protective gear.
- Check the water level of your battery
Deionized/ distilled water should be added every 5 to 10 charges. The water should be added after charging. Call a battery engineer if you notice white crystals on lead plates.
- Clean the battery each month
The top should be cleaned using warm water or battery cleaner every month. This prevents chemical build-ups which can lead to tray corrosion and void warranty.
- Don’t try to pick up a forklift battery
The weight of a forklift battery can be up to 3,000 pounds. Use the right equipment such as a pallet jack.
- Don’t use a battery that is emitting smoke
Power the battery off immediately if it is producing smoke.
Although electric forklifts cost more than the gas forklifts, their low maintenance cost makes them a great investment. You just need to make sure you give your forklift the best care so as to get the best service from it.