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BULLSPOWER Tells You How To Choose Electric Forklift Batteries in 2021

0 Published by admin Aug 31,2021

How long does an electric forklift battery last?

If you are choosing an electric forklift, there are many factors to consider in order to choose the right type of battery. Electric forklift batteries are expensive; Especially when you buy that battery to use for different forklifts in your plant. The first question you often ask for electric forklifts:

How long does this battery last?

The answer depends on the battery type, quality and usage of the forklift battery. However, there are many factors that play an important role in the number of years of use, namely the number of hours the battery can power the forklift.

● Battery type

● Using

● How to maintain

Once we discover how the above factors impact forklift battery efficiency; At that time, we will answer exactly how long the forklift battery will last.

Electric forklift battery type

There are two types of forklift batteries, lead-acid and lithium-ion. Lead-acid forklift batteries have a history of many decades. Lately, lithium-ion batteries are flourishing. The technology of these two forklift batteries is completely different. Therefore, it is completely different in terms of forklift performance and battery life.

Lead-Acid Battery

Using electrolytes (sulfutic acid and water) generates an electric current due to a chemical reaction between the lead electrode and sulfuric acid. This technology has been used for decades and is the standard technology for electric forklifts. Heavy and large are the problems of lead-acid forklift batteries. Having to regularly unplug the charger every day with its large size and weight creates many difficulties for users. Lead-acid batteries also require frequent water replenishment, and their chemistry degrades or damages the battery both inside and out.

Lithium-ion battery

This is the latest and very advanced technology for electric forklift batteries. Small size, larger energy density than lead-acid battery. Therefore, the current efficiency is higher and it is more convenient to use. Unlike the open-cell design of lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries seal the cells because there is no need to fill the tank with electrolyte water. This advanced battery can be used with a wide variety of chemistries; However, the most common type for electric forklifts today is Lithium Iron Phosphate.

Lead-acid forklift batteries

How to use electric forklift battery

Forklift battery life may be based on the number of charge-discharge cycles the battery manufacturer provides. From there, we determine how many years the forklift battery investment will be. However, this can only be accurately measured if the user follows the correct usage of the forklift battery in maintenance and operation.

● Lead-acid batteries will have a life cycle of about 1000-1500 charge-discharge cycles.

● Lithium-ion batteries will have a life cycle of about 2000-3000 charge-discharge cycles.

There is one difference between the two types of batteries to be aware of; For lead-acid batteries, the process of charging the battery generates heat due to the chemical reaction of sulfuric acid with the lead electrode; Therefore, after a charging period of 6-10 hours is a corresponding time to cool the tank (discharge the tank) which also takes 6-10 hours. This process is equal to the correct loading process. If charging is complete, but installing it in an electric forklift immediately, it will cause the tank to increase heat and quickly damage the electrode wall, even causing an explosion. Unfortunately, quite a few customers still make this mistake. Thus, each lead-acid battery can only be used for a maximum of one shift per day. If you use it for 8 hours or more, be sure to spare 1-2 lead-acid batteries for your forklift.

How to Extend Electric Forklift Battery Life Up to 40%

Meanwhile, lithium-ion batteries only take 1-2 hours to charge and do not need to cool the battery. The lithium-ion battery specification also does not require a 100% charge each time it is plugged in; Therefore, you can take advantage of the lunch break or mid-shift break. So a lithium-ion battery can help you work 1-3 shifts per day. This is an advantage in terms of convenience (no need to take it out, get in), economy and manage (no need to invest and control replacement many times a day).

In short, if your factory operates one shift per day:

● Use lead-acid batteries (with good maintenance) for 5 years. 

● Corresponding to 1500 discharge-recharges for 300 working days in a year.

● Using a lithium-ion battery (fully charged before use) will last 10 years. Corresponding to 3000 discharge-recharges for 300 working days in a year.

● The above figure is calculated as 6 working days a week and 12 holidays.

If a battery works many shifts a day, it will also reduce battery life a bit. However, in all cases, lithium-ion remains the most economical choice for electric forklift batteries. In particular, if you work multiple shifts, choosing a lead-acid battery will require many batteries, a lot of replacement work, management, and infrastructure for battery charging. The more stages, the more risky and expensive. Thus, the cost of use of a lead-acid battery outweighs the benefit of the lower initial purchase cost of a lithium-ion battery.

Lead-acid forklift batteries

How to maintain electric forklift battery

Proper battery care plays a decisive role in determining the rated versus actual life of an electric forklift battery.

Lead-acid battery

Requires regular maintenance with the addition of water; This addition is to prevent deterioration of the chemical process taking place in the flask. If the solution level in the flask is lower than the required level, the lead electrodes will be deprived of electrolytes, generate heat, and cause electrode pounding. Adding enough electrolyte water to a lead-acid battery includes:

● Add water only when the battery is fully charged and the cooling process is finished.

● Add water to the tank regularly to prevent the top of the tank from being exposed (usually after 10 refills).

● Use a pH meter and use water with pH = 5-7

● Do not overfill. Because when the lead-acid battery works, the solution will expand.

Temperature control of lead-acid batteries is also very important. This process generates heat. In particular, the charging process takes place 6-10 hours long; Therefore, strict control is required. The safety of the person controlling the battery charge is very important as it can leak explosive gas at the highest voltage charging point. Due to this feature, the charging area must be cool and separate from flammable and explosive materials.

Lithium-ion battery

On the contrary, it requires very little maintenance. Therefore, maintenance has almost no impact on the life of this battery. The battery manufacturing technology has integrated a battery regulator to ensure:

● Cells are maintained at a balanced capacity because they may be in different capacities or states during charging.

● A cell will stop discharging as soon as it reaches its lowest energy void.

● The weakest or smallest cell in terms of capacity will not be overcharged.

It is really necessary to follow the manufacturer's recommendations to ensure the battery will operate at its maximum capacity according to its design capacity. Conversely, the lack of compliance specifically for lead-acid batteries will negatively impact battery life.

Whenever you need to make a purchase, a very reasonable question is: How long does it last? For electric forklift batteries, there are many factors that affect the above answer. In the forklift industry, choosing a lithium-ion battery is a choice of economy, convenience, and risk reduction. High efficiency, zero maintenance are two key factors when choosing lithium-ion for electric forklift batteries. No matter what type of forklift battery you are using, charging, storage and maintenance always determine the life and value of the battery.

More information about electric forklift battery

Thank you for reading this article of  Wisdom Industrial Power Co., Ltd. Wishing you safety and efficiency in choosing and using forklift batteries.