Optimizing Your Fleet
When it comes to success in a warehouse, distribution center, manufacturing facility, or any other industrial workplace, productivity is key. Facility managers are always looking for ways to improve efficiency in their operations. One of the key areas of focus has been in the performance of their electric-powered machines, such as forklifts and other similar types of equipment.
These units are only as good as the lead-acid batteries powering them. Therefore, battery charging optimization is a critical piece of a facility’s efficiency solution. Consider the four ways that facilities can optimize their fleets in the area of lead-acid battery charging capabilities:
Conduct a Power Study to Maximize Performance
Understanding the true demand of your electric forklift fleet can be achieved through a power study. An experienced service provider can conduct a power study to measure overall energy consumption of the battery, along with the length and frequency of use. The study maps critical details of a user’s application and leads to the best recommendations for charging capabilities within the facility.
Choosing Charging Methods
The most widely known type of lead-acid battery charging is known as the conventional method. This process involves an equipment operator removing the battery from a unit and placing it on a charger for 8 hours or more. This activity normally coincides with the end of a shift.
After charging, the operator would reinstall the charged battery and start the work day. The conventional charging process requires multiple batteries to be available for each unit and a large amount of storage space for battery racks so that equipment can keep running while a battery is on charge.
Today, the conventional charging method is usually recommended for facilities that do not exceed 1 EBU* on a daily basis.
*an Equivalent Battery Unit (EBU) is used to quantify a building's power requirement. EBU is one battery discharge to 80% depth of discharge. For example, a battery with an AH capacity of 1,000 is discharged to 800 AH (80%) would equal 1 EBU.
Opportunity Charging is centered around replenishing lead-acid batteries for short time intervals during a shift instead of leaving them on a charger for long periods of time. As the name suggests, opportunity charging occurs whenever there is an opportunity that a lead-acid battery can be recharged up to its full capacity.
Opportunity charging not only keeps a facility’s battery-powered equipment running for long periods of time, but it also reduces the need to buy multiple batteries for every unit in use. There are many additional benefits to opportunity charging including:
- Increased equipment productivity
- Time conversation
- Enhanced safety conditions
- Optimization of storage space
Opportunity charging is best for facilities that utilize lead-acid batteries at a rate of 1.00-1.25 EBU each day.
Fast charging is a method to replenish the energy in lead-acid batteries more quickly than traditional charging techniques. Fast charging allows industrial equipment users to optimize their productivity by minimizing unit down time due to battery charging requirements.
Fast charging can restore the power in lead-acid batteries at the rate of 40-50 amps per 100 ampere hour. This method is most effective for facilities utilizing battery power at 1.25-1.6 EBU on a daily basis.