For an electric forklift, the battery should last up to 5 years. To extend the life of the battery, proper care and maintenance are essential, and it can even extend the battery’s life up to 10 years. Routine maintenance and daily care help the battery reach its full potential. Following these recommendations can protect the battery’s life and extend it past its five-year capabilities.
Recharge the Battery at 20-30%
Once the battery hits the “red zone” or 20-30% charge remaining, it is time to charge the battery. Discontinue use of the battery and start charging immediately because further use can negatively affect its life span.
Allow it to Charge Complete
Be sure to avoid charging the battery for short intervals, like lunch breaks, or swapping mid-shift. The battery needs to charge completely before it can be used again. The battery can be charged around 1,500 times, so only half-way charging it is a waste of one of those times.
Avoid Extremely Temperatures
Whether it is extreme heat or cold, make sure the battery avoids it. The life of battery can be reduced by 50%, if the temperate reaches above 92 degrees. The life will be reduced by 30%, if it drops below 30 degrees. There are batteries designed for extreme temperatures, if the working conditions will require it. When the battery is charging, be aware of the temperatures and that it will need to cool. Do not run hot batteries because it will warp lead plates and cause the battery cells to short out.
Wear Protective Gear
When working with forklifts, safety is a top priority. Batteries contain sulfuric acid, so it is recommended to wear protective gear and no metallic jewelry to protect from burns. When servicing the forklift, also wear protective eye gear.
Check the Water Level
Batteries need to be watered, just like plants. Deionized or distilled water is to be added to the battery every 5 uses for older batteries and every 10 uses for newer batteries. It is to be added after charging. Too much water has been added, if condensation appears. The water should only be enough to cover the Element Protector by a fourth of an inch.
Clean the Batteries
It is recommended to clean the battery monthly. Warm water or battery cleaner is used to clean the top. Neglecting to clean the battery can lead to chemical build-up, which causes tray corrosion and can void the battery’s warranty. Also, clean battery overspills with a neutralizer like baking soda, so corrosion does not occur. If the battery is kept clean, dry, and away from flames, sparks, and metal objects, it should remain in the best shape.
Don’t Pick Up or Drop the Battery
With a weight up to 3,000 pounds, it is not recommended to pick up a forklift. Equipment, such as a pallet jack, should be used to move a forklift battery. Even with a heavy weight, forklifts will still be moved around. When touching the battery and its parts, be sure to not drop or damage connectors or other parts by dropping them.
Don’t Use a Battery that Emits Smoke
If the battery starts to emit smoke, quit using it and power if off immediately. It is advised that one does not use this battery again for the safety of those around it and the equipment. This is a key indicator that the forklift’s battery needs to be replaced. Batteries that are excessive temperatures or produce a sulfur smell will require service.
Don’t Ignore Forklift Batteries
When you do not use a forklift battery for extended periods, you risk the battery being damaged. Long periods without use can cause hard sulfation to form on the battery. Batteries should either be properly charging, in use, or in the process of being serviced. Unnecessary downtime is not only poor for efficiency and productivity, but it can physically ruin the battery.
Charge It in Well Ventilated Areas
With the potential of hazardous emissions from forklift batteries, it is always best to charge batteries in a well-ventilated area. Whether it is smoke or a sulfur smell, precaution and proper safety measures should be used around batteries. Wearing protective gear around batteries is a great way to protect against any accidents, but proper ventilation can prevent the unseen accidents from being more harmful.