Battery Maintenance Should Be a Vital Part of Forklift Maintenance
We have spoken time and time again about how vital forklifts are to the production and efficiency of your warehouse. They allow you to move more materials in a faster and safer way. After all, forklifts can efficiently transfer hundreds of pounds worth of products from a shipping truck to your storage racks with ease. For these machines to work efficiently, however, they must rely on their batteries to power them. Without a battery, your forklift is useless.
It is crucial that you properly maintain your battery to ensure that it helps your forklift perform at its highest level and to extend the life of your industrial battery. Batteries that aren’t properly maintained are often down. When they are down, that means your forklift is, as well, which leads to a drop in productivity. No warehouse owner wants to see their productivity take a hit because they failed to properly take care of their forklift batteries. Fortunately, battery maintenance is simple and easy.
Ace Equipment wants you to get the most of your forklifts, but that involves not only using it properly and safely but also maintaining it. That is why we are going to be providing you with some forklift battery maintenance tips to help you extend your forklift battery life and ensure your equipment works efficiently.
As mandated by Occupation Safety and Health Standards (OSHA), each warehouse must establish a battery charging station with the main purpose of charging forklifts. These areas should have adequate ventilation to disperse any dangerous fumes that may emerge. Your warehouse’s charging station must have clear signage for employees to recognize. Each station must also have an eye washing station on the chance that any dangerous chemicals find their way into your eyes. Lastly, they need a fire extinguisher and other fire safety equipment, plus a phone in case of emergencies.
When charging your forklift battery, you must remember that batteries have a finite number of cycles. If you aren’t careful when charging, you can waste many of these cycles. Avoid charging based on convenience, like during breaks or lunch. Each time you connect your battery to a charger, it uses a life cycle. Always stick to a set charging schedule. Recharge your battery after every eight-hour shift.
You can also charge it after it’s discharged by more than 30%. If you charge too often when it isn’t discharged by 30%, you shorten its battery life. Additionally, you should avoid letting your battery discharge by more than 80%. This can lead to irreparable damage, shortening battery life.
Some other crucial charging tips include:
- Charge in a cool, dry area
- Avoid letting a discharged battery sit for too long; this increases the likelihood of sulfation, which reduces its run time and battery life
- Once charging has begun, let it fully charge before disconnecting it
- Keep an eye on its temperature. Extreme cold and heat can both reduce the power available. Batteries should be kept in temperatures sitting around 70 degrees F
Maintaining Fluid Levels
Your forklift battery has fluid levels that must be properly maintained. Too little or too much fluid can lead to disaster. You must keep the water level in your battery at the right position to ensure your equipment functions at its full capacity. Set a schedule to regularly check these fluid levels. Check all of the cells every five charge cycles to see if they need to be topped off. You should never top off these cells before a battery is charged. Always do it after a full charge.
Keep a close eye on your electrolyte levels. If these levels are low, add distilled water to raise these levels. If you use another water, you may be adding harmful minerals to your electrolyte levels, which can reduce battery life. This water must sit at around 5-7pH. Your battery should come with documentation that provides you with further details of these recommended levels.
Furthermore, you should check the gravity levels of your battery’s cells using a hydrometer after a charge. A fully charged battery will have an ideal gravity at around 1.285. However, this may vary depending on the battery you have.
If your battery overflows, take some time to rinse it out. This will prevent corrosion from building on the top of your battery.
Other Battery Maintenance Tips
Here are some other useful battery maintenance tips to help you extend the life of your forklift battery:
- Keep the battery in a dry, cool area
- Keep the battery clean and free of corrosion
- Regularly check your battery for any defect or malfunctions
- Ensure your battery and charger are compatible
- Never overcharge your battery
- Charge your battery at the optimal temperature, never too cold or too hot
- Always ensure the charger is turned off before connecting or disconnecting the battery
- Never partially charge your battery; ensure it is always fully charged before it is unplugged
- Regularly schedule battery testing to ensure battery cells are performing correctly and to allow you to change bad cells
- Never smoke near a charging station
- Keep flames and metal away from battery tops
When handling batteries:
- Wear protective, chemical-resistant gear, which includes glasses, gloves, aprons, or face shields
- Many forklift batteries are very heavy, making it difficult for one person to move it on their own. Special equipment, such as a pallet jack, may be needed to move a battery. You should also wear steel-toed boots in case the battery drops
- Remove metallic jewelry when handling batteries
- Have an eye and hand washing station nearby
The battery of your forklift is one of the most important pieces of these machines. It’s what powers your forklift, allowing you to quickly and efficiently move throughout your warehouse. Without it, productivity would decline drastically. To ensure your forklift operates at its highest capacity and lasts a long time, you must adequately maintain it. By following these forklift battery maintenance tips, you can extend the life of your battery. For more forklift maintenance tips, give Ace Equipment a call today.