The benefits of electric forklifts in Indiana supply chains are nearly immeasurable. Lower fuel costs, easier maintenance, and fewer emissions are just a handful of reasons to transition from LP forklifts to electrics. But maintaining your electric fleet is a whole different animal from maintaining a traditional LP fuel forklift fleet.
Here’s what equipment managers need to know about maintaining an electric forklift fleet.
In an electric lift truck, your battery is everything. If you ever have a problem with an electric truck, more often than not it has something to do the the battery. You can make sure you avoid unnecessary forklift maintenance visits by following these best practices.
Opportunity charging refers to the act of charging a forklift battery during short periods of downtime, like during a lunch break. While it may seem like a great way to squeeze some extra hours from your forklift, it’s actually worse for the life of your battery in the long run. The lifetime of a battery is more accurately measured by number of charges, and using one of those charges just to get an extra hour of work from your lift truck just wastes money in the long run. Run your forklift until it’s nearly dry, and then fully recharge it to get the most out of your battery life.
The one exception to opportunity charging your forklift is if you're able to purchase specialized forklift opportunity chargers. These chargers typically cap off a battery's charge at around 80%, meaning the charge cycles used are limited. Additionally, you'll want to do weekly equalizations to help protect your battery from damage and extend its life.
Batteries need to be watered every 5-10 charges to keep the acid levels balanced, and to prevent unbalanced ionization from damaging the battery. Remember to only water your battery after it’s completely charged, because the heat generated by charging it can cause the water to overflow, possibly damaging the battery.
Even more than LP fuel forklifts, electric forklifts need to “stay in their lane,” meaning they should only be doing the work they were expressly designed for. For example, never use a narrow aisle lift as a tugger just because it’s convenient. Doing so can cause unnecessary and damaging strain on the hydraulics, the mast, or any of several parts of the assembly.
Fleet Management Software (FMS) is an investment that every business with a forklift fleet should invest in. Not only will it help you diagnose issues with your forklifts before it’s too late by tracking engine diagnostics and downtime, but a FMS can help you optimize the little things in your operation. Say you’re comparing a few different models of forklifts in your warehouse – a FMS can help you track vital KPIs such as average travel time, fuel efficiency, and productivity measures to help you figure out the best fit for your operation.
If it’s time to take the plunge with an all-electric material handling fleet, turn to Indiana’s forklift authority in Tynan Equipment. With industry-leading lease rates and partnerships with some of the best names in forklifts from Yale to Bendi and beyond, Tynan is greater Indiana’s first name in forklifts. Call us today at 317-597-4003 today to get in touch with one of our experts.
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