Forklifts need to be maintained properly to extend their lives. One of the most important components for this to be successful is battery maintenance. If taken care of properly a forklift battery should last for a number of years. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of your investment.
By checking fluid levels you can make sure that your battery has the proper amount of water to work at its maximum potential. The rule of thumb is about every five charge cycles you should check the fluid levels. Check the battery cells and make sure the fluid is covering the plastic battery part—if not you need to add water.
To capitalize on the life of your battery you need to charge it correctly. This does not mean you can charge whenever you feel like it. It should only be charged at a certain point, and that is when the battery drops below 30%—and then charging it fully. By interrupting a charge cycle or under/over charging the battery you can significantly lessen the battery’s effectiveness and lifespan.
Another helpful tip is by equalizing your batteries you can avoid the problem of stratification. Stratification is the chemical process when battery acid concentrates at the bottom of the battery—this makes it harder for the battery to hold a charge. Most batteries need to be equalized every five to ten charge cycles, depending on the manufacturer and the model. Only some battery chargers have an equalizer setting and it is beneficial to make sure your warehouse is equipped with one of these.
The last two tips seem like common sense, but are still worth mentioning and should be taken into consideration. Maintain your water levels, and keep your batteries at a safe temperature. About every ten charges make sure you are topping off the fluid in the battery. And that you are only doing this after the battery has been fully charged. Temperature is the last key element to consider. Forklifts can operate in extreme climates, but the battery should not be used in temperatures that go above 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees C). In hotter climates it is necessary to make sure there is some amount of circulating air around the battery.
Remember with the proper care and attention to detail your battery can last for several years, saving you headaches and money.