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And failing to properly recharge your forklift battery can lead to a shorter battery life. Replacing forklift batteries can be costly. Plus, when your battery is dead, the forklift is out of service, costing you both lost productivity and profit potential.
Every battery has a limited number of charges, typically about 1,500 per battery. Each time you recharge the battery, it takes one charge out fo the battery’s cycle.
The Hidden Costs of Forklift Batteries
While most large industrial operations that use electric forklifts have a system in place for charging and maintaining forklift batteries to prolong their life and reduce their costs, many small- and medium-sized companies that don’t have huge fleets but instead may have only one or a few vehicles often misuses batteries, chiefly out of ignorance.
Replacing forklift batteries can cost a company thousands per year in unnecessary costs. And because forklift batteries are often classified as consumables, ownership may not always realize that this expenditure can be minimized or even reduced with better battery charging handling and procedures.
Making sure forklift batteries are used properly — including charging them at the right time and not allowing the power to drop too low between recharges — can not only increase the life expectancy of your forklift battery but save your business money as well.
How to Ruin Your Forklift Battery
The main reasons why the life of forklift batteries is often reduced can be broken down into four main categories:
- Charging Too Early — When forklift batteries are recharged to early, it can decrease its life expectancy. Most battery makers recommend that users wait until the charge is lower than 25 percent before recharging.
- Charging Too Late — Allowing a forklift battery to run all the way down is also a bad idea. Not only can it leave your electric forklift stranded somewhere, require it either to be towed back to the charging station or the use of a remote charging unit, but it also decreases the batteries life.
- Early Picks — Taking the battery off the charger before it has been recharged all the way can wear down the battery faster.
- Operator Error — Drivers who aren’t trained to maximize battery efficiency can also shorten the life of a forklift battery.
Getting the Most from Your Forklift Battery
Because each forklift battery has about 1,500 cycles a battery charged one time each working day it is used generally will last about five years.
But “opportunity charging” — such as charging a battery too early or too late — can reduce that life expectancy by up to half.
Properly maintaining your battery will extend its life span, reduce your replacement costs, increase workplace safety, and improve the performance of your operation as a whole.