Batteries serve every industry in the marketplace, especially manufacturing or service sectors. You’ll find batteries in forklifts, on technician’s benches and in a variety of other applications. Each battery must be serviced on a regular basis so that it can operate with peak power. Entire departments can lose time and money if even one battery breaks down. If you’ve got batteries, learn about the expert tips that can lower your long-term costs. They make a difference come year end.
1. Charge Before 20 Percent
One of the best tips for motive-power improvement is avoiding battery use below the 20-percent threshold. When the battery dips below this power level, you’re scraping the reserves.
Other issues persist, such as:
- Overheating critical components
- Damaging the machine’s electrical system
Use a multimeter on the battery before every use. When the 20-percent level approaches, start the charging process. The battery will have a more useful lifespan as a result of your efforts. Early decline is the effect of draining batteries to the lowest points.
2. Keep up With Planned Maintenance
Planned maintenance or PM is the routine set forth by motive-power managers to maintain the batteries in use. Some of the PM tasks include:
- Cleaning corrosion from the contacts
- Refilling the water levels
- Verifying vent-cap efficiency
Depending on the battery’s specifications, perform PM at least once or twice a year. Some batteries require more frequent evaluations, such as every five to 10 charging cycles. An experienced manager or battery professional can help you carve out the right PM schedule for your applications. Some machines are simply used more often than others.
3. Perform a Maintenance Charge
Take a look at your battery’s charger. There should be a button indicating a maintenance or equalization charge. This mysterious button contributes to lower costs when it comes to motive power.
As a battery discharges and charges back up, the acids within the housing will eventually accumulate at the base. Your charges afterward will be less than stellar. After about five to 10 charging cycles, press the maintenance button. Charge the battery up.
Several benefits occur with a maintenance charge, including:
- Rebalancing acids with the water
- Sulfate crystals dissolve from the battery plates
Be sure to add an equalization charge into your PM because it’s the fine details that enhance your bottom line.
4. Consider a Single-Point Watering System
Watering your batteries is supposed to lower costs. However, manually performing this task actually costs you time and money. Think about adding a single-point watering system to your business. These systems make battery watering a short-and-simple process. It takes only a few minutes to top off the water level. Your accuracy improves too. The system determines when it’s time to shut off the water. Without any level mistakes, the battery operates as if it was just manufactured.
5. Never Interrupt a Charge
Interrupting a battery in the middle of a charge will shorten its life. Most batteries have around 1,000 to 1,500 charging cycles possible. If you interrupt just one cycle, you’ve reduced that number without benefiting from the power output. Pay careful attention to the charging levels as they rise. At least one battery should be ready to go with a full power level.
6. Know the Ambient Temperature
There are various types of batteries for forklifts and other machinery. However, most of them have the same reaction to extreme temperatures. Batteries tend to discharge faster in hot environments. For this reason, storing batteries in the refrigerator is a good idea for power conservation.
In general, confine a machine battery to temperatures that are lower than 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Operating any machine in temperatures above this value will diminish the components’ useful lives. Replacing the battery more often is the ultimate result.
Battery science is constantly evolving. Keep up with the times by observing, practicing and questioning your maintenance plans. Well-maintained batteries will improve your bottom line over the fiscal year.