At Texas Motive Solutions, we regularly hear customers boast about how many extra years they get out of their motive batteries. “Oh yeah, we get 7 to 8 years out of a battery,” they say. Sure, squeezing extra years out your batteries may sound great but there is a downside. Most likely, you either over purchased or your operation wasn’t using those batteries as efficiently as it could.
The reality is, if you get more than 10-20% additional time beyond the end of the warranty period, you’re not utilizing the battery fully.
A little insight on battery power
A forklift battery has a definitive amount of power. Fundamentally, regardless of the manufacturer, we know the exact amount of energy it can provide in a given time period.
Chargers are what provide the variable output of the battery. We like to call them battery expanders. They don’t do anything physically to the battery but do allow the operator to utilize more energy throughout the day compared to what the battery would offer if discharged fully.
Did you overspend or are you underutilizing your forklift batteries?
Typically, when you purchase a forklift you won’t be given options for batteries because they serve as a counterweight for the forklift. What we find with most operations is that their lifts could be used more efficiently.
For example, you say, “Yes, I need my forklift 10 hours a day. However, the battery is not being discharged more than one hour because most of the time it’s sitting idle while I’m doing my work outside of the lift.” Or, you may say, “I’m only driving, not lifting and driving, which pulls a heavier demand from the battery.”
Because these applications would be classified as light duty, it appears that the batteries are lasting way beyond warranty. In reality, the batteries weren’t utilized to their full potential during the warranty period. In both cases, if we were to connect those 8-year-old forklift batteries to a test machine, we’ll probably find they only run two hours non-stop—not exactly stellar performance.
Analyze forklift usage to get more bang for your battery buck
Most operation managers juggle multiple tasks, which means they don’t have time to monitor how efficiently their lifts are being used day in and day out. That’s where TMS comes in.
Our sales and service reps specialize in analyzing forklift utilization for all different types of operations—from lifts running in a freezer to applications in an unconditioned warehouse in Texas. We also understand that the needs of a third-party logistics company are different than a manufacturing facility.
Our team works closely with each client to identify their operation’s unique needs, challenges and pains. We also gather data on forklift utilization using technology like Hawker’s Battery Boss WC, a wireless electronic battery monitor, and HawkerNET, a cloud-based battery management tool. With human insight and data in hand, we can recommend a customized solution to help optimize forklift and battery utilization and mitigate forklift battery repair.
For example, some operations may benefit from staggering shifts. In other applications, where a certain lift is used mostly for lifting and not driving, we might suggest replacing that unit with a lifting table. We’ve even had scenarios where the drivers preferred one truck over another simply because it had a cup holder—that was an easy fix!
Another recommendation may be to reduce forklift count. We’ve suggested this to clients with drivers who get overly possessive about their lifts. We know some operators get a sort of “pride of ownership” and consider the lift their own, when multiple drivers could share it. These are just a few of things we’ve run into when analyzing forklift fleet operations.
Curious if your battery utilization is on track?
The experienced sales and technical consultants at Texas Motive Solutions are here to help. To speak with a member of our team, contact us. Our team would be delighted to analyze your operation and equipment demands and create a customized forklift battery and charging solution just for you.