Forklift Battery FAQ | Buy Cheap Forklift Battery At Low Price ...
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Electric lift trucks made up 84 percent of the U.S. forklift market last year; by now, it’s likely that some (or all) of your fleet runs on lead-acid battery power.
An industrial forklift battery is typically comprised of the following components:
Battery case. The battery case houses the battery’s individual cells. The number of cells can range from six to 36, depending on the voltage. Voltage is usually 12, 24, 36 or 48 volts.
Battery cells. The battery cells are essentially small, self-contained individual batteries made up of a series of tightly-stacked lead plates filled with sulfuric acid.
Battery bars. The battery bars are large lead bars that link the individual cells, creating a complete circuit.
Battery cables. These cables can vary in size from 4-gauge wire, which is roughly the diameter of a pencil, all the way up to 4/0 cable that can be more than an inch in diameter. Stout wiring is required in order to handle the high amperage some batteries can generate. Some batteries can have an amp hour rating of as much as 1,200 amps. A typical arc welder needs only 250-300 amps to melt and weld thick steel. You can see why large cables are critical to the operation.
Lead-acid forklift batteries provide a voltage between two output terminals with a series of electrochemical reactions. Here’s how the process works:
Three substances interact within the cell of a lead-acid forklift battery:
● Plates of lead dioxide.
● Plates of pure, soft lead called “spongy lead.”
● An electrolyte mixture of sulfuric acid and water.
Each battery cell contains layers of lead dioxide and spongy lead in alternating plates. When the acidic electrolyte comes into contact with these compounds, complex chemical reactions create an imbalance of electrons between the two types of plates. Electrons will naturally flow from the negative plate toward the positive plate, attempting to correct the imbalance of subatomic particles.
The lead dioxide plates all connect to a single positive terminal while the plates of spongy lead attach to a negative terminal; these terminals create an external circuit. If we connect the terminals to a conductor — say, a forklift’s power system — electrons will move from terminal to terminal through the conductor. That’s how we harness the voltage generated by the battery’s chemical reactions.
Forklift battery chargers reverse the process with a steady flow of voltage. The energy from the charger converts leads sulfate back into its original forms of lead, increasing the specific gravity of the sulfuric acid present in the electrolyte. This prepares the battery to restart the discharge process. It’s less like filling a gas tank and more like evaporating and condensing the same glass of water again and again.
When you’re used to seeing electric forklifts zip around a facility every day, it’s easy to take their power source for granted. However, the lead-acid forklift battery is worth considering in some detail. It’s a fascinating technology, and understanding the basic science behind forklift batteries will help you implement effective battery maintenance programs and improve the efficiency of your entire fleet.
What does a forklift battery cost?
Forklift batteries cost between $2,000 and $6,000 depending on specs and size. When selecting a battery, be sure to answer the following questions:
What is the vehicle voltage or a number of cells in the battery?
Does the truck require an EE or EX-battery?
What is the compartment size of the truck?
Is the truck compartment covered or does the battery require a cover?
What kind of charging connector is used on the truck?
What position on the battery do you wish the battery cables to come off the tray?
Can I buy a used forklift battery?
Used forklift batteries usually cost around $1,500 to $3,500. You can buy used industrial batteries through a local material handling or battery dealer. Used batteries go through rigorous testing and maintenance before being sold. This ensures the battery works at maximum capacity by being cleaned, equalized and filled with fresh acid.
What is a forklift battery charger?
The industrial charger is responsible for charging the forklift battery as quickly as possible without shortening the battery’s lifespan due to overheating and overcharging. Before the advent of the current generation of forklift battery chargers, the operator was responsible for setting the desired voltage and amperage for charging the battery, thus opening the door for human error and damage. Today’s industrial charger contains a complex network of cards and sensors that effectively remove the human from the equation. Today, chargers have preset parameters that protect the battery from overcharging and damage. These preset parameters will actually stop charging and display error codes if there is a problem with the battery instead of pumping the battery full of power until it either boils over or in a worst-case scenario, catches fire.
There are myriad choices as for industrial chargers from small portable chargers that plug into any wall socket, to large wall mounted units that require large amperage capacities with dedicated wiring. Current chargers allow the user to custom-tune a specific charge cycle. This customization allows you to control everything from the amount of voltage, amperage, charging time, and even the fill rate over a given time span. These controls allow you greater flexibility in charging, as well as longer battery life and performance.
Modern industrial chargers might contain the following components:
The charger case, which houses all of the internal components of the charger.
Circuit cards, large capacitors, and very large transformers sometimes weighing 100 pounds each. Sometimes, as many as four transformers can be found in some chargers and diodes. These transformers are responsible for transforming AC electricity into DC electricity.
A digital display shows the operator the vital statistics of the battery, the selected charge cycle, and its status.
The charger cable, and heavy gauge cables, which transfer the high amp loads and voltage to the battery.
What does a forklift battery charger cost?
Forklift battery chargers range in cost from $500 for a portable charger that will plug into a standard 120-volt AC outlet, up to about $3,000 for a charger that must be wired into to the building’s electrical system by a licensed electrician. The price varies depending on the specifics of the charger.
Can I buy a used forklift battery charger?
Used forklift battery chargers are available, and are generally priced about 40-60 percent less than a new forklift battery charger.
Can I rent a forklift battery and charger?
Forklift batteries and chargers are available to rent together or separately. Prices depend on battery weight, battery specifications, and desired charger specs. When renting a forklift battery, see ” What does a forklift battery charger cost?” earlier in this article.
When renting, or purchasing, a forklift battery charger, ask the following questions:
What is the voltage of the battery that you want to charge? The voltage of your battery must match the charger voltage.
What phase of electricity (1 PHS or 3 PHS)?
What is the battery AH (amp hours) rating?
What is the line voltage at the location at which the forklift battery charger will be used? The charger and line voltage must match.
Will the battery charger be stored in a freezer or cold storage?
Batteries should not be charged below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
What is battery monitoring?
Battery monitoring is the act of monitoring an industrial battery. This can include monitoring water levels, amp-hours, temperatures, electrolytes, and voltage imbalances. There are two main ways to monitor a forklift battery.
Battery Monitoring Devices. It is important to note that the way batteries are charged and discharged affects your warehouse productivity. Batteries need to be charged and discharged properly in order to maintain their full available capacity. Improperly discharged batteries can lead to more battery replacements and the battery will not be able to run at full performance.
Raymond Handling Concepts Corporation offers a battery monitoring device called battery. This device is attached to the truck and provides the following information for the operator:
● Battery temperature, water levels, charge intervals and state of charge
● Low water levels
● Battery temperature conditions, weight, and overcharges
● Maintenance alerts
● Undersized battery alerts
The information gathered by battery can be viewed on your computer, tablet or smartphone. Some of the benefits of using battery monitoring include decreased cost of ownership, optimized efficiency, increased productivity and assurance with warranty requirements.
Battery Water Monitors. This is a device that monitors the battery’s water level (also known as its electrolyte) and alerts the operator to know when the battery needs water. An LED light is placed on top of the battery and will blink green when electrolyte levels are okay and blink red when the battery needs water. LED light colors can differ, but these are their usual colors.
If batteries are watered too frequently, an electrolyte boil-over can occur. This reduces battery capacity by 3 percent each time electrolytes spillover. If batteries are watered infrequently, permanent damage can be done to both the lift truck and battery. Battery water monitors can eliminate scheduled weekly inspections since the monitor simply alerts the operator when the battery needs water.
Proper battery care and watering can help extend the life of your industrial battery. These seven simple tips will make sure your forklifts are always powered:
● Seven tips for proper battery maintenance
● Keep the battery clean, dry, and free from corrosion
● Maintain the correct water level (about one-half inch below the battery cap opening)
● Add water only after the charge cycle
● Set up a weekly or bi-monthly watering schedule to ensure proper water levels
● Avoid opportunity charging (charging during break times and lunch breaks) because each time you connect the battery to a charger, it uses one of its life cycles
● Inspect your battery for any defects or malfunctions, and have your service provider repair them as needed
● Have your batteries washed and serviced semi-annually to help control acid and corrosion.
10 commandments of battery care
● Add approved water only— never add acid
● Keep electrolyte level above separator protectors
● Keep battery top clean and dry
● Keep flames and metal away from the battery top
● Keep vent caps tightly in place
● Discharge to no lower than 80 percent, and do not operate battery if the specific gravity is below 1.150 for Powerline, Varta, Waterless, and
● Top Power batteries, and 1.175 for Energy-Plus batteries
● Cool before charging or operating if the battery is above 115 degrees Fahrenheit
● Only use approved chargers of correct voltage and current output
● Keep truck compartment and battery cover open during charging
● When in doubt, call your service representative for assistance
● Approved water: Only distilled and deionized water should be added to batteries, be sure to check your manual for specifications.
● Proper electrolyte level: The electrolyte level must be kept between the “high watering level” and the separator protectors. Only fill batteries at the end of the charging cycle.
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Forklift Battery Price - Why it's Not the True Cost of a Battery
How Much Does a Forklift Battery Cost You?
Many people erroneously believe that the purchase price of a battery is the largest cost they will incur from ownership. In reality, the total cost of ownership goes much deeper than that. Different types of forklift batteries vary in price.
In general, the purchase price of a lead acid battery is much lower than the price of a comparable lithium-ion battery pack. Sure, the cheapest battery option might seem like the most cost-effective choice initially. But knowledgeable and wise warehouse managers understand that they need to look at the big picture in closer detail to understand the true costs.
The True Cost of Lead Acid Batteries
From labor to maintenance, there are hidden costs associated with lead acid batteries that may be more than just a nuisance.
Hidden costs come in the forms of:
Lead acid batteries can only be used for 8 hours, with 16 hours of charging and cool-down time.
Labor: More labor is needed for lead acid batteries due to all the maintenance requirements they have.
Safety: Lead acid batteries need special charging rooms because of the chemicals and gasses they produce.
Since lithium-ion is more energy efficient, the reduction in energy costs can be substantial compared to lead acid.
Here are some hidden costs you should know about before you commit to lead acid forklift batteries for your entire fleet.
Lead acid batteries might be cheaper to purchase initially, but you will be replacing them more often.
The main differences you will see when purchasing a lead acid battery versus a lithium-ion battery pack is the shorter cycle life lead acid batteries have. Lead acid batteries usually have a cycle life of 1,000 to 1,500 cycles if maintained correctly.
On the other hand, lithium-ion batteries usually have a cycle life of 2,500 to 3,500 cycles. This means you will be replacing your old lead acid forklift batteries twice as often as lithium-ion batteries - and that doesn’t even account for how much shorter the lead acid battery lifespan could be if operators do not take care of the battery!
A few key factors that could contribute to a shortened lifespan for lead acid batteries include opportunity charging and overfilling water levels.
Opportunity charging: Lead acid batteries are not meant to be opportunity charged or fast charged like lithium-ion batteries. If you opportunity charge a lead acid battery, this could lead to sulfation. Sulfation is when sulfur forms on the lead plates which decreases battery performance as well as lifespan.
Overfilling water levels: Overfilling water levels in a lead acid battery could cause electrolyte loss and corrosion of the battery. This causes the battery to unevenly charge, therefore shortening the lifespan of the battery.
Forklift Battery Maintenance
Lead acid batteries are not closed systems. Instead, they require periodic maintenance.
Lead acid maintenance requirements can include:
Cool down periods
Checking ventilation holes
Watering: You must water lead acid batteries after charging to replenish electrolyte levels. The tricky part about replenishing these batteries is that it is possible to overwater or underwater the batteries. Both overwatering and underwatering can cause significant damage to the battery’s lifespan.
Cool down periods: After fully charging a lead acid battery, it requires an 8-hour cool-down period because the battery can get extremely hot. If the battery is used immediately after charging, instead of cooling down, the lead acid battery can heat up too much, damaging the battery.
Checking ventilation holes: Forgetting to check ventilation holes is an easy to forget maintenance mistake. Ventilation holes allow gas to escape and if it cannot escape, pressure is built up. If the pressure gets too high, it can cause an explosion resulting in safety concerns for the operator and others in the facility.
In contrast, lithium-ion batteries are virtually maintenance free, so they:
Can’t be overcharged
Don’t require watering
Don’t require cooldown periods
You may not realize just how much lead acid batteries can impact your operational efficiencies in terms of uptime, but lead acid batteries might be the one thing that are holding your operations back from scaling your warehouse efficiency to the next level.
Lithium-ion batteries can run for longer before needing to be charged, take less time to charge, and can be charged at your convenience (i.e., operator breaks). If you are trying to improve efficiencies, eliminating the extra step of trying to charge a lead acid battery is a big bonus.
To charge a lead acid battery, the operator must use special equipment to remove the battery and transport it to the charging station only to take a second lead acid battery that is charged and install it into the waiting forklift. Though it might only take 15 to 20 minutes, this is non-productive time that is repeatedly lost ever charging cycle.
If you want an efficient warehouse, lithium-ion batteries might be the solution since the battery packs do not need to be removed from the forklift for charging. That extra 15 to 20 minutes could be reclaimed for productive use to meet operational goals.
Accurately tracking labor costs can be tricky, especially when you are talking about minutes spent here and there on certain tasks. The labor costs associated with lead acid batteries are often overlooked for this reason. The time spent to maintain and operate forklifts with lead acid batteries should not be underestimated. Shorter run times means you will be spending more time swapping out batteries or equipment downtime for charging.
Plus, additional travel time to and from the battery charging room. You will spend labor on maintaining the batteries through:
Lithium-ion batteries help you eliminate all the unnecessary labor costs associated with lead acid batteries because they are essentially a maintenance free forklift battery pack. The battery management system (BMS) integrated in a lithium-ion battery pack helps to keep temperatures under control and automatically balance the cells when needed. This minimizes extra labor costs.
Lead acid batteries are more labor-intensive than lithium-ion batteries. Not only do they present more health and environmental hazards, because of watering and off-gassing, but they also create more ergonomic hazards. One of the most taught things in material handling is forklift safety. Within forklift safety training, handling the batteries that are used with the equipment is crucial, especially with lead acid batteries. Because of their maintenance and chemical hazards, they can produce, training is implemented to ensure workers are safe in certain situations that involve handling batteries.
When it comes to getting maximum ROI out of your operations, warehouse space is something to consider. Improving the physical flow and storage space of your warehouse is essential to saving time and money. That is why lead acid batteries might be costing you more than you think.
They require large, ventilated, and isolated charging/changing/maintenance rooms. These rooms are made to release lead acid battery gas cause by the heat from charging. Having a ventilated changing room is one requirement that is a must when purchasing lead acid batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries can help make your operations more cost-effective by eliminating the need for a dedicated battery room. The extra charging space can be reclaimed for your operations.
Improve Your ROI & Avoid Hidden Costs by Switching to Lithium-Ion Forklift Batteries
Many people think that a forklift battery’s purchase price is all they will need to consider. But this simply is not true. There are many other “hidden” costs associated with lead acid batteries that often get overlooked.
Time (i.e., efficiencies)
Fortunately, there is an easy way to avoid losing money to these hidden costs - make the transition to lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries can help reduce those maintenance costs and safety concerns that are attributed to lead acid batteries, all while helping you create efficiency gains and a return on your investment.
How much does a forklift battery price? What You Should Know Before Buying One
Lithium Forklift Battery
Forklift Battery Price: When it comes to buying a battery for your forklift, the true cost of a forklift battery involves much more than just the initial price.
Often times, what appears to be the cheapest option can end up being the most expensive option in the long run.
Before you spend a few thousand dollars on a battery, take a few moments to learn how to choose the right battery for your forklift and important questions to ask. When uninformed buyers choose a cheap battery with no warranty, they inevitably end up buying a second battery - the right battery - a short while later.
5 Things to Know Before Buying a Forklift Battery
First, collect some stats about your forklift to ensure you get a battery that fits in your battery compartment and provides the correct amount of power. A forklift dealer can also help you find a battery with the right specifications.
1. What voltage can your lift truck use?
Forklifts can use either 36-volt or 48-volt batteries, be sure to confirm what your lift truck can handle. The wrong choice can cause severe damage to your equipment.
2. Measure the battery compartment dimensions
Write down the size of the battery compartment in inches (width, depth and height). Important: measure the size of the compartment, not the size of the old battery.
3. What is the amp hour capacity of the battery?
Check the ampere-hour (AH) capacity rating on your current battery. To get the maximum power and run time, choose the highest-rated amp hour battery approved for your lift truck that can fit in the battery compartment.
4. Confirm the minimum counterweight requirement
Check the forklift's data plate or owner’s manual to confirm the minimum battery weight. Installing an underweight battery can cause stability issues and is extremely dangerous.
5. Check the connector type, cable position and cable lengths
You'll need to know:
● Where the battery plugs into the forklift
● How long the battery cable needs to be (when in doubt, choose longer cables)
● The color and position of the connectors
Choosing industrial batteries can be complicated — there are just so many options that it can be difficult to decide which factors are most important: Ah capacity, chemistry, charging speed, cycle life, brand, price, etc. If you already know what to expect of your battery, go ahead and select lithium forklift batteries using the tool above to see available options. Visit our blog: How to Choose the Right Forklift Battery
Average price of a forklift battery
Initially, for a single battery, the lithium-ion is the more expensive option of the two. Prices vary, but when you simply compare the starting price of a single battery, a lithium-ion battery can cost about twice as much as a lead-acid battery.
If you have a warehouse, multi-shift or manufacturing, or if your business operates on low profit margins, this article is a must-read.
If you’ve never considered lithium-ion batteries due to cost, we’re going to share two statistics that might make you change your mind.
In the United States, an equipment manufacturer saves more than $ 1 million a year by switching to lithium-ion batteries. After looking at the numbers, the company found that it was spending $ 4,800 per day:
Pay employees to change batteries, twice per shift.
15 minutes of inactivity with each exchange (90 minutes per day)
Spending money on electricity (lithium-ion batteries are 40 percent more energy efficient)
Lithium ion forklift battery maintenance
Increase Productivity – Lead-acid batteries cause your forklift to lose power when discharged, but lithium forklift batteries don’t have this problem. In addition, the lithium-ion batteries do not require maintenance, watering or replacement.
Try this simple experiment: Ask your operators to keep track of how much time they spend changing, charging, and maintaining forklift batteries each week.
You can find out how the company is spending a good chunk of the profits on those “cheaper” forklift batteries.
How much does a forklift battery cost?
Forklift batteries cost between $2,000 and $6,000 depending on specs and size.
How much does a forklift battery charger cost?
Forklift battery chargers range in cost from $ 500 for a portable charger that plugs into a standard 120-volt AC outlet, to $ 3,000 for a charger that must be plugged into the building’s electrical system by a licensed electrician. The price varies depending on the charger specifications.
Total cost of a forklift battery:
Lead-acid batteries are the lowest-cost alternative when it comes to purchase price, although there are significant drawbacks such as maintenance requirements, safety, inefficiency, and the need for a charging room.
Lithium-ion batteries are priced higher (perhaps two to four times higher than lead-acid). However, these batteries are more energy efficient, store more energy in a smaller unit, fast charge, are safer and last longer.
You may need to install charging stations. And if you want to replace lead-acid to Li-ion batteries, you will need a specialist to adapt the equipment. Take into account the difficulty of recycling.
If you have questions about forklift batteries or electric forklifts, please don’t hesitate to call the location nearest you, or contact us online. At BSLBATT we handle batteries, module and service for all forklift makes and models - not just battery.
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