Several safety issues exist that can be easily managed when you set up the forklift charging station properly and employees are trained to handle batteries and chargers safely. Some forklift charging best practices include:
- Require battery room attendants to always wear proper PPE—including gloves, aprons and eye protection—while watering batteries to avoid contact with battery electrolyte.
- Keep open flames and sparks away from batteries during charging, as batteries produce combustible hydrogen gas during the gassing phase of battery charging.
- Make sure all battery and charger cables are clean and undamaged because old, cut or damaged cables can cause shorts and potentially produce an electrocution hazard.
- Properly mount chargers up off the floor to prevent forklifts from running into them and causing potential electrocution hazards.
TMS can guide you on best practices for setting up a battery charging area and train employees on safety protocols. We’re also happy to install the equipment and accessories necessary to help ensure your space for charging forklift battery inventory is safe.
How do I know if my forklift application is a good candidate for opportunity charging, rapid charging or IONIC charging?
Every application is unique, which is why TMS recommends performing a thorough evaluation of each customer’s forklift utilization. During our analysis, we evaluate available idle times, based on the time the application allows for charging and how many hours the lifts run per day. This insight dictates which charger technology best suits the specific application and helps us formulate the optimum solution for the customer.
Based on your charging needs and the size of the battery, proper forklift battery chargers can range in price between $500 and $10,000. Seeking the guidance of an expert to help you pick the most economical charge solution for your application is a very important step.
No, it’s highly recommended that you NOT use one charger for multiple forklifts. Each piece of equipment should have its own charger at your forklift battery charger stations because it has to be equalized weekly, and you can’t do that with one charger. This approach to charging is also very difficult to manage because charging is a manual process. More likely, you would end up voiding your warranty due to the inability to manage charging properly.
It depends on the type and age of the charger, the application and whether your charging needs have changed. Many newer chargers improve energy efficiency much like HE (high efficiency) appliances do and offer advanced technology to help prevent battery damage due to improper use. For example, the HAWKER® IONIC charger helps overcome certain issues that arise when a battery is treated improperly during operation. From an energy efficiency perspective, most warehouse operations want to conserve energy and recognize the importance of reducing the amount of power consumed from the energy grid. High frequency chargers help meet both goals because they are much more efficient in converting A/C power to D/C and don’t waste as much power as older charger technology.
When you deep discharge a battery, you discharge the battery beyond the recommended minimum state of charge for the battery technology you are utilizing. Deep discharging damages the battery and shortens battery life. Each technology is different (flooded lead acid = 80% DoD; TPPL = 60% DoD; lithium varies depending on manufacturer and application), so it’s critical to know what type of battery you are using.
Equalize charging provides an extended charge to balance the voltage of all cells in the battery, which develop variances over time. Equalizing also helps prevent premature battery failure.