How important is a battery management system?

Posted by Andy Hill on

If you were asked to personify forklift battery management as somebody at a party, chances are, you’d pick somebody who stood in the corner talking to the accountants. Stereotypes aside, forklift battery management doesn’t sound like it’s the most interesting topic in the world, but in truth it’s so much more than just counting lead-acid batteries and making sure you don’t run out.

Usually, tucked away in the corner of the warehouse, the battery room is actually the heart of the operation. You might think that it is a bit of an exaggeration but if there are no batteries, there are no forklifts and if there are no forklifts, well, everything comes to a standstill.

An unmanaged battery room seems like it works just fine. A forklift truck drives in, changes the discharged lead-acid battery out for a fully charged one and then travels off to carry on with their task. On the surface that’s fine, but if you look at the data for that battery room you’ll see that that particular battery wasn’t the best one to take. It was either the drivers favourite because it was new, or the one closest to the door. More often than not, this means that that battery is overused and has not had enough cooldown time. At the same time, the lead-acid batteries at the other end of the rack are under under-utilized and have started sulphating. All of this leads to a loss in performance across the entire fleet of batteries, meaning they’ll all fail prematurely for separate reasons. Premature battery failure impacts heavily the time cost in the running of the operation and the cost to replace the assets.

With the advancements in technology, using battery room data and the latest management and maintenance tools available, it is now a lot easier to make sure that the heart, the battery room, continues to beat without interruption and as efficiently as possible. A forklift battery management system such as the iBOS System by Philadelphia Scientific, guides operators to which battery is the best to take. This means all the batteries in the fleet are rotated properly, in turn, maximizing their performance. While all of this is going on, the battery room data is being recorded, uploaded and stored so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

The online battery room data, gives access to each site in the entire organization, allowing you to streamline and improve the performance without missing a beat. Using an interconnected approach to forklift battery management, you can ensure that each lead-acid battery maximizes its performance and gets properly maintained, and each fleet has exactly the right number of assets it needs to maximize its efficiency and improve its cost performance.

Using battery room data is how you can exercise a forklift battery room and make sure that the heart keeps beating as smoothly as possible. So, while forklift battery management may not sound glamourous, it is pretty cool when you realize how important it is in keeping everything ticking.

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