One of the most expensive parts to replace on an electric forklift is the battery, so it’s important to not only understand the correct operational and maintenance procedures, but also how other factors in your working environment such as temperature can affect a battery’s performance and life expectancy.
In this blog we will provide tips which will help to preserve the working life of your forklift battery and reduce the chance of premature costly replacement.
Select the right forklift truck charger
One of the key factors to consider when prolonging your battery life is selecting the correct charger. Approximately 50% of battery problems stem from charging methods or an incompatibility between the battery and charger.
There are two main considerations when selecting a charger:
- The type of battery that requires charging.
- Shift patterns and frequency the battery needs to be charged.
- Time available to fully charge the battery.
Finally, consider your priorities when it comes to battery charging. Different models focus on speed, extending the battery life or energy efficiency and this has a direct impact on the price.
Lead acid battery charging procedure
When looking to optimise battery life it is important to adhere to the correct charging procedure.
This involves six key steps:
- Place on charge when the battery falls below to 20 to 30 percent. Opportunity charging not only damages the battery but could reduce or invalidate the warranty.
- Check the charger and truck are turned off before connecting or disconnecting a battery.
- Check the battery caps are secure before charging.
- Only top up the battery when fully charged to avoid overflow and corrosion.
- Check the battery temperature while charging. (High temperatures can reduce the battery’s life.)
- Allow the battery to fully charge before disconnecting it from the charger.
Forklift battery testing
Regular battery testing will identify any potential problems before a catastrophic failure occurs. Battery forklift testing can either be completed by your battery care professional or inhouse by investing in a battery status system.
Monitor forklift battery fluid levels
It is important to maintain the recommended fluid levels in the battery to avoid cell damage. During charging electrolyte levels rise so only top up when the battery is fully charged to avoid corrosive overflow. By introducing and maintaining a regular maintenance and topping schedule it is also possible to avoid overheating through lack of fluid. Toyota battery care provides services including basic regular scheduled top up and a full battery report on every topping visit.
Check your battery operating temperature
Another factor which has a direct impact on battery life is extreme hot or cold temperature ranges. It is important to avoid charging your forklift truck or operating the battery in high temperatures. The general rule is that for every 15 degrees Fahrenheit over 77, battery life is cut in half. There are batteries designed to operate in extreme conditions, so seek advice from your battery care professional.
It is important to include equalising your battery as part of your maintenance schedule. This involves charging the battery at a higher voltage than it is typically charged to help remove built-up sulphate and balance the voltage of each cell. If this is not done regularly, the acid concentration becomes higher at the bottom of the battery, which can reduce the lifespan of the battery and your electric forklift truck.
Cleaning your forklift batteries
Maintain a regular battery cleaning schedule to avoid problems arising from dangerous corrosion.
How can Toyota Material Handling support you?
Toyota offers a range of after-sales battery care solutions whatever the make of your electric forklift truck, to suit the business needs of companies of all sizes, operating in all industry sectors.
- Training on battery care, handling and health and safety.
- Replacement batteries and chargers.
- National maintenance and repair service.
- Breakdown support.
With Toyota’s dedicated Battery Care technicians and support team to guide you through the various options available, you can choose your plan with complete confidence, with the knowledge that we will keep your batteries safe and in good working order to ensure you get the most out of your material handling equipment.
For more information on our range of battery care solutions or if you're looking for an electric forklift for sale, or other service packages, speak to our battery care team on 0370 850 1402, or follow the below link to fill in a contact form.