There is no doubt that innovative technologies have created an ‘always-on supply chain’ for many businesses, but smart warehouses also need smart solutions to keep momentum going. There is no time to spare when customers always want things faster and cheaper, so delaying the decision on efficient charging technologies for your forklift is only going to cost your business time and money.You might be thinking that the life span and optimisation of your batteries isn’t a priority for your business right now. Or maybe you’re thinking that looking for the right charging technology is too much of a complex task, especially when the end goal is to keep forklift fleets operational for longer. And these are very valid concerns because there are a variety of solutions in the market right now and it is difficult to determine which one will be right for you.
The global market for forklift batteries is set to grow 8.1% in the period from 2016-2020. However, traction batteries are the most expensive part of the forklift, and on top of this, they are also very hard to maintain and analyse. So it’s clear that businesses would be looking for solutions that deliver immediate cost-savings.
Charging technologies can improve efficiencies up to 90%, and further, maintenance costs of batteries can be monitored and reduced with new charging technologies that can help to reduce the total cost of operating them.
Below we look at a new forklift battery regeneration system and how it can save you money.
Energic RePLus Battery Regeneration
Lode Baert, Team Leader Technical Sales: Energic Plus Battery Regeneration and Maintenance at TVH delivered a presentation at the CeMAT 2016 Knowledge Theatre on how best to extend the life of your batteries with the Energic RePlus Batter Regenerator. He states:
“You should treat a battery like it’s an engine, with proper maintenance you can extend the life of the battery as long as possible. With a good and proper analysing system you can take out the bad cells and bring back the proper balance to the battery extending the battery life by 2-3 years.”
To Lode, battery recharging systems aren’t just about the ability to rapidly charge your forklifts while they’re out of operation, but constantly monitoring them and assessing any damaged areas is key to keeping your battery in tip-top shape.
“One bad cell in a battery can give you a 50% capacity loss in the battery. I cannot tell you how many batteries we have saved just from a bad connection. We change the connection and recover the battery just from a simple thing as identifying the situation through thermal imaging.”
80% of batteries that break down or lose capacity are sulphated, but can be restored with the right equipment. The Energic Plus battery regenerator removes sulphation due to an electrical high-frequency pulsation process. This process restores the battery capacity, giving you the ability to reuse old and sulphated batteries. You can also use the battery regenerator for annual maintenance to strongly prolong the lifespan of your batteries.
Lode states it uses 5 cycles of controlled discharging with a max of 42 hours for a complete regeneration process.
“We try to extend the life span as long as possible and optimise the life of the battery as long as possible During both discharge and charge the technology monitors the voltage of the battery, so data is collected around the whole system without the hassle of making measurements yourself.”
According to Lode, 80% of batteries that are replaced could have 2-3 years longer if they applied this technology.
If you have a large number of batteries this technology could save your business a lot of money because a battery is like chain and is only as strong as the weakest link. When you charge a battery, the sulfur crystles turn into a liquid form. This results in a process of sulfation, and after a few years of this, you’ll find you can’t work a full shift with just one battery.
Lode states the the Energic RePlus improves the life of your batteries and is efficient because it doesn’t remove the sulfur in the process of regeneration. There is also an increased density of cells and increased voltage of cells
However, you may find that another charging technology is suitable for you. For example, rapid charging would also allow you to charge your batteries rapidly so they are never underutilised. Opportunity charging is when operators use break periods throughout a work day to keep a high state of charge in a forklift battery. Whenever a forklift is not in use (e.g. during lunch breaks) it is connected to a charging station.
Only time will tell which technology in the battery charging space will win, but it’s a safe bet to say businesses will go with the chargers with the lowest operating and fuel costs per hour.