This article is intended to help you extend the life of your forklift batteries while enhancing the performance of your forklift. The article aims to educate forklift operators to better manage and maintain an electric battery forklift.
FORKLIFT BATTERY CHARGING ESSENTIALS
- Every battery can work only for a limited cycle. The recommended practice is to recharge the battery after every 8 hours of usage or when it drops down to 30% or less. On the contrary, charging the batteries frequently or as per convenience can cut short the battery life.
- It’s better to let the forklift battery charge to 100% every time you charge it.
- Do not drain your forklift battery beyond 80%
- Do not let a discharged battery sit for too long as this could result in the formation of sulfur on the battery plates, leading to reduced battery life.
- Also, maintain the room temperature while charging batteries as the rise in temperature potentially damages the battery.
SAFETY PRECAUTIONS AT THE CHARGING STATION
Now that you know how to maintain the battery, it’s also essential to ponder upon the charging stations designated for the recharging of batteries. The charging areas should be well lit and have clear signages for safe maneuvering. Emergency facilities such as ventilation, fire extinguisher, water supply etc should be at hand. Apart from these, safety precautions should also be taken by the forklift operators such as:
- Do not smoke near a battery changing area.
- Abstain from wearing metal or hanging jewelry while charging as they are good conductors.
- Batteries with sealed vents should not be charged with a current exceeding 25 Amps.
- Always use safety equipment such as a glove, goggles, face shield, etc while handling.
- If the battery turns hot or the electrolyte fluid starts leaking from the vents, immediately turn off the charger and turn on at a lower charging rate once the battery has cooled down.
- Carefully dispose of the battery or send it for recycling
CHECKING BATTERY FLUID LEVELS
Water is required in the batteries to help them function properly. Have a periodic check of a fluid level such as after every 5 charging cycles. When required, top up with water. Water used should be distilled and should fall within the pH scale of 5 to 7. Batteries should only be topped off when they are fully charged.
MAINTAINING THE OPERATING TEMPERATURE
The recommended temperature to operate your forklift is under 45’C. However, it is not mandatory as the battery unit is equipped with all the cooling mechanism which helps regulate the temperature. The only flipside
EQUALIZING YOUR BATTERIES
Equalizing means to overcharge your batteries to remove sulfate crystals that have built up over time on the plates. This sulfation could otherwise shorten the battery’s life. Not all forklift batteries require equalizing but it is mentioned on the specifications. Wet cell batteries should be equalized once per week which should not be exceeded.
CLEANING THE BATTERY
Use a battery cleaner or warm water to clean the top of the forklift batteries. A monthly cleaning avoids tray corrosion due to build-up. Always read the safety instructions before cleaning the battery.
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