As one of the most critical tools of logistics work, a warehouse’s fleet of forklifts must remain in top shape. Mistakes with critical equipment can set back a schedule and leave workers in the dark. Battery failures can also be hazardous to warehouse staff. Identifying these warning signs of battery problems can help you prioritize forklift maintenance and avoid unexpected expenses and damage to your fleet.
Decreased Water Levels
Forklift batteries are an expensive investment and need to be properly maintained. Failing to do so will result in lower truck run times and reduced battery life. According to experts in forklift battery service, a key part of battery maintenance is ensuring that the water levels are appropriate for each cell in the battery. The correct water to use is clean, pure and free of impurities that can damage electrolytes. Distilled water is preferred, but deionized water can be used so long as it’s free of impurities. If distilled water isn’t available, a battery watering system is the most cost-effective way to produce water on-site.
Battery sulfation is a common problem that affects lead-acid batteries. It occurs when a battery does not receive a full charge and leads to the buildup of sulfate crystals on the plates. This reduces the surface area of the battery’s plates, limiting the amount of active material it can use to generate power. Fortunately, sulfation is usually reversible. However, if left to grow for a prolonged period, it can become permanent and impossible to reverse.
Corrosion is a process that occurs in metals when they react with oxidants. It causes metals to deteriorate in strength and appearance, as well as their ability to withstand moisture and chemicals in the environment.
Batteries are no exception to this rule, and they’re subject to corrosion too. This process degrades the useful properties of the battery, which can shorten its lifespan. Heavy corrosion on the battery terminals is a common sign that it’s time to replace it, as it can impact the battery’s ability to be charged. Additionally, acid leakage can cause a dangerous hazard to anyone handling the battery or its contents.
If the battery terminals become damaged, this can greatly reduce the performance of your forklift. This is because the terminals can no longer connect properly with the charger and thus cannot charge the battery.
Fortunately, this can be avoided by performing routine maintenance on the battery. Inspect the battery and its cables regularly to ensure they are secure. Also, check the water levels to make sure they are in the proper range.
Leaking Sulfuric Acid
The lead-acid batteries in electric forklifts contain sulfuric acid in their catalyst solution. Over time, the water in this electrolyte will evaporate and need to be replaced (ideally with purified water). The sulfuric acid can collect on the battery’s plates over time, which is called sulfation. If this sulfation is not addressed, it can damage the battery plates and make them unfit. This can also result in the battery leaking acid onto your workplace floor or other areas. This hazard must be handled properly by a trained battery service technician.
Overheating can be caused by several issues, including cooling system leaks, blocked hoses from corrosion and mineral deposits, radiator issues or broken water pumps. It is important to get these things inspected regularly, especially when they are causing your vehicle to overheat. Overheating can be a severe issue, as it can cause damage to the vehicle. This can be expensive and permanent, so it is important to take care of it before it gets out of control.
Excessive Charging Time
Your batteries play a vital role in the performance of your forklifts and can impact your entire operation. A battery that isn’t working properly can cause increased maintenance, downtime and damage to your machines.
Excessive charging time can shorten a battery’s life significantly. It can also make the battery more susceptible to hard sulfation, reducing its ability to hold a charge and ultimately leading to failure. Forklift operators should always check the percentage of a battery’s charge before charging it. Discharging a battery to 20 percent or less before connecting it to the charger can prevent serious problems later on.
Progressively Lower Run Times
Most seasoned warehouse operators know that the battery is the lifeblood of your operation. So when your battery starts to give you the craps, it’s time to give it a makeover before it wreaks havoc on your bottom line.
Battery maintenance is a must to keep equipment running at peak efficiency. It’s also a safety measure to protect workers and equipment from harm. If your forklifts are constantly stalling or having trouble moving goods, then it might be time to check the battery. Batteries can only withstand 1,500 charging cycles before they begin to degrade. When this happens, it’s time to consider replacing your batteries with newer options that can handle more charge cycles and a wider range of operating conditions.