Battery maintenance is well recognized as an important part of running an efficient and safe warehouse. However, the appropriate procedure for battery maintenance is often overlooked. Performing maintenance in the correct order is just as essential as the maintenance steps themselves when it comes to saving time, extending the lifespan of your battery and protecting your equipment.
Follow the correct maintenance order for your batteries:
- Charge battery once it is down to 20% capacity.
Do not allow battery to drop below 20% power before charging. Discharging the battery’s banks too far will harm the battery, permanently impacting the performance and endurance of the battery. It may also overheat, damaging electric circuits to the forklift.
Allow battery to charge to full power uninterrupted. A battery’s lifespan is often proportional to the number of charges it receives. Undercharging, charging for short periods of time multiple times a day (this includes quick charging during a lunch break) or charging before battery has discharged more than 50% of its power can all lead to decreased performance rate and a shortened battery life.
- Deliver equalizer charge when necessary.
This is a deliberate overcharge that many batteries require to function properly and efficiently. Chargers for batteries that need this will have button that must be manually pressed to turn on the equalizer charge. If you are uncertain about whether an equalizer charge is necessary, how often to deliver it or how to deliver an equalizer charge, consult your battery/charger manual for further instructions.
During the process of receiving an equalizer charge, batteries will charge for a longer period of time. This extended charge time may lead to overheating, and batteries should be monitored during this process.
- Turn power off and allow battery to cool before removing.
Do not turn power off until after battery has reached 100% power. The battery will run more efficiently throughout the day if it has reached full power. This practice will also decrease the number of times the battery needs to be charged, thus increasing the battery’s lifespan.
Battery must cool before being placed back into service or it may overheat, potentially damaging both the battery and electrical circuits
- When water/electrolytes are needed, be sure to water battery after charging and disconnecting.
It is not safe to water battery at any other point in time. Charge before watering as heat of charging can cause changes in water levels (both as evaporation and overflow). If water levels are quite low before charging, you may add a small amount of water to prevent battery overheating during the charging process.
- If battery is overfilled, clean battery immediately following overflow.
Overflow during this process will leak battery acid across the surface of the battery and will cause corrosion if not immediately cleaned. Corrosion and residual acid can deteriorate battery life and cause battery to overheat during charging and use.
- Clean battery with a neutralizing detergent solution on a regular basis.
Surface cleaning will prevent grime build-up, corrosion and resulting problems.
Clean battery after watering. This will save you from repeating a step in the event of an overflow, water drips, etc. Always clean batteries in the designated washing area with the appropriate equipment and specialized neutralizing detergent. The neutralizing agent may be a specified cleaner or a simple sprinkling of baking soda. Whatever is used, this is a vital step that will neutralize any battery acid that has accumulated on the surface and prevent corrosion of the battery and surrounding electrical circuits.
Establishing the appropriate procedure for battery maintenance is a vital part of maintaining a productive and safe work environment. Charts and maintenance schedules are a good way to ensure that batteries receive the appropriate maintenance.
Your satisfaction and safety are very important to us. For battery maintenance needs contact your IBCI representative for options on scheduled maintenance programs to keep your fleet running efficiently and extend your battery life.