5 Tips To Make A Forklift Battery Last

Posted on: 11 April 2016

If your forklift battery stops working, your business productivity will take a hit. Industrial batteries are designed for durability, but a number of factors can shorten their service life. If you take these steps to maintain your forklift battery, you can help it last as long as possible.

1. Don't over or undercharge the battery. A forklift battery should only be charged when it falls below a 30 percent charge, or as close to a 20% charge as possible. Also, make sure to only charge until the battery is full and no more. Overcharging results in a high battery temperature, which will reduce the battery's life span. Routinely undercharging a battery can permanently diminish the battery's ability to hold a charge because it leads to excessive sulfation.

2. Check and maintain water levels. Water needs to be frequently added to prevent damage to the battery cell due to low electrolyte levels. Check the water levels every time you charge to get an idea of how often water will need to be added. Older batteries will use up water faster than newer batteries and will need to have water added to them more frequently. New batteries usually need water added every 10 charges.

3. Rebalance the battery by equalizing it. With use, battery acid will become more concentrated at the lower part of the battery, a process called stratification. When that happens, the battery isn't as able to hold a charge. Equalizing the battery will rebalance the electrolyte distribution and also helps to remove crystals of sulfate from the battery plates. You'll need an industrial battery charge that has an equalizing setting to perform this maintenance step.

4. Monitor the temperature. Forklift batteries can function well up to a temperature of 115 degrees F. If the battery consistently exceeds this temperature, overheating will occur. Over time, overheating will damage the battery and shorten its service life. If it's not possible to keep the temperature below this level, make sure there is a lot of air flowing in and around the battery compartment to aid with cooling. This can be as simple as directing a fan over the battery's intercell connectors. Additionally, always charge with the battery's covers open.

5. Keep the battery clean to prevent corrosion. Perform a basic cleaning when the top of the battery appears soiled or damp. That may be as frequently as every two weeks, or you may go six months between cleanings; that frequency depends on the particular environment where the forklift is operating. Make sure all vent caps are tightly in place before cleaning. Then use a clean paint brush with a neutral detergent solution to loosen any dirt or grime. Rinse the battery with fresh water and dry.

For more information about your forklift battery or other industrial batteries, talk with a supplier, such as those at RME Energy.


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