Proper forklift battery maintenance will extend battery life, reduce downtime and improve safety. Make a forklift battery maintenance schedule a priority to keep your warehouse running smoothly.
Washing batteries helps to prevent corrosion and prolongs battery life. It also helps maintain proper electrolyte levels. Take a specific gravity reading of each cell with a hydrometer after every charge cycle.
Extend Battery Life
Forklift batteries can last five or ten years if properly charged and maintained. However, the life span of a battery can be reduced to half that amount with improper care.
For instance, it is critical to avoid extreme temperature environments as this can significantly shorten a battery’s lifespan. In addition, it is essential to ensure that the forklift battery is adequately sized and ventilated to help ensure proper cooling. This helps to extend the battery’s lifespan and reduce the likelihood of premature electrical component failure.
It is also vital to check the specific gravity of the battery regularly. To determine the presence of acid in a forklift battery, check the specific gravity. A low reading indicates more water than acid, while a high reading indicates more acid than water. It’s essential to add water to the battery regularly. This can be done using a forklift battery watering system that mounts on a charger cabinet, with hoses leading directly to the battery cells. This can be activated automatically right after the charge cycle is completed. Following the specific battery manufacturer’s guidance, the appropriate watering frequency is recommended. Equalizing is another essential forklift battery maintenance task by Texas Motive Solutions forklift repair that balances the acid levels within the batteries. This is typically done once a week on wet cell batteries.
As a forklift owner, you know that downtime can cost you. That’s why keeping your forklift battery in tip-top shape is so important. The longer your forklift can remain on the job, the more money you’ll save through reduced repairs and replacements.
Taking the time to maintain your forklift battery will not only extend its lifespan but also keep it running efficiently while in service. The key to reducing downtime is regularly inspecting the battery and following the correct maintenance schedule.
First, check forklift battery fluid levels at least every five charging cycles. Inspect two or three cells to ensure enough water in each cell to cover the plastic forklift battery element. If not, add water as needed. Also, for every ten charges, you should measure the specific gravity of each cell with a hydrometer. A forklift battery with a low specific gravity will perform poorly; a high one indicates more acid than water, which can shorten the battery’s lifespan.
It would also help to clean your forklift battery when you see acid leaking from the tops of the battery cells. Use a mixture of baking soda and water to clean the batteries. Be careful not to get any solution inside the battery compartments, as it can neutralize the acid and permanently damage your battery.
Batteries contain harmful corrosive acids and can leak fluids, creating safety hazards. Keeping batteries clean can help reduce these risks. Staff handling batteries should be required to wear protective equipment and must always take caution when inspecting or cleaning batteries.
Proper battery maintenance can also improve safety by ensuring that batteries are correctly charged and conditioned to work as they should. This reduces the chance of accidents caused by underpowered or overheating batteries.
To improve safety, ensure employees know how to correctly transport, charge, and handle forklift batteries. For example, using a pallet jack or a transfer carriage is essential when moving forklift batteries; attempting to lift them by hand can result in chemical burns and void the manufacturer’s warranty.
Additionally, employees should always be careful when disconnecting forklift batteries from their chargers, as doing so prematurely can lead to hydrogen gas buildup that could cause an explosion. Employees should be instructed to wait five minutes before disconnecting a battery so that the hydrogen gas levels have time to dissipate.
Another critical safety tip is to check battery water levels regularly. This is particularly important for batteries that are used in high-heat environments. Watering a battery every five to ten charge cycles helps ensure proper electrolyte levels. It should only be done using deionized or distilled water, as regular tap water can contain impurities affecting the battery’s performance.
When you regularly maintain your forklift batteries, they will have a longer lifespan. This will reduce the number of replacements you purchase and save you money in the long run. This will also help you increase your forklift fleet’s productivity and efficiency, allowing you to get more work done in less time.
For example, if you pay attention to battery maintenance, you may find that your forklift needs to be put in action for extended periods as it must be charged repeatedly. This could lead to job delays and negatively impact your staff’s morale and performance.
Other examples of battery maintenance include adding water to your forklift batteries regularly. This is essential to ensure the correct acid/electrolyte level, but it must only be distilled water, not tap water, as this contains minerals that will upset the electrolyte balance. It is also essential to equalize your forklift batteries regularly, although this will vary between different batteries as some require this more frequently than others.
Additionally, cleaning the top of your forklift batteries with battery cleaner or warm water is not only a good maintenance practice, but it is also required by some warranties (check your warranty documentation just to be sure). We recommend doing this monthly, even if it isn’t required to keep dirt and dust from building up, which can cause tray corrosion and speed up self-discharge.