Looking after battery assets in challenging times

Posted by Andy Hill on

COVID-19 certainly has wreaked havoc with industries across the planet, and the materials handling industry is certainly no different. A tsunami of changes, restrictions and new demands means that forklift operations now have to update and adapt their processes daily. Protecting people and critical assets is more than ever going to be of the utmost importance to ensure that the wheels keep turning and pallets keep moving, this at a time when the logistics and warehousing industry, and many parts of its supply chain, ourselves included, are under immense pressure. We have to strike a difficult balance between making sure staff are safe while operations are working to the best capacity they can be, given the circumstances.

The COVID-19 pandemic has held a lens to our working world and has clearly demonstrated what’s needed to run an operation smoothly, and that’s performing essential tasks with less haste more speed. Finding new ways to optimise efficiency is an approach that was taken to innovating for industrial batteries, even before COVID-19 changed the industrial landscape for everybody.

The SmartBlinky range of battery water monitors was developed to show operators exactly when they need to water a battery, reducing the time a person needs to spend in the battery room carrying out the rather time-consuming task of visually checking water levels or watering on a schedule. We also looked at how long somebody has to stand there and water batteries for, and what that means for the operations’ efficiency and operator safety, which lead to the development of the Water Injector System. Unique in its ability to utilise high pressure the Water Injector System allows you to fill a battery up in less than 15 seconds. You can fill a fleet of a hundred batteries in under an hour as opposed to hours with low-pressure systems, or the days it takes to do by hand. In large battery change or opportunity charge operations it means the forklift is back working in the warehouse in no time.

The future of forklift batteries will be smart batteries that can be tracked remotely.

The eGO! battery life monitor, along with iBOS Battery Management and iTAG Service and Asset records, forms the ‘Battery 2.0’ platform, which turns a lead-acid battery into a smart battery, using data collected from multiple points within the battery operation, and bringing it together in one place; the ‘batterymanagement.net’ portal. This holistic approach gives you a real-time remote connection to both an individual battery and an overview of the entire fleet in your organisation. From the big picture, you then can drill down to the minutest of details, giving you the data to change working practices, ensuring your operations are running as efficiently as possible by focusing on what’s essential.

Using your battery room data, our system allows you to easily identify actions that are important and what you need to do as a necessity. You can set up critical alerts that will trigger when specific criteria have been hit. This means tasks are ‘pushed’ to the operators – so they no longer need to keep to that weekly maintenance schedule just because that’s how it has always been, you can manage exactly what needs doing and when not only helping to give accountability to staff but also helping to protect the assets that are vital to the smooth running of your warehouse.

Many operations are still engaged in the challenge of day to day operations in a difficult time, and undoubtedly the repercussions of COVID-19 are going to be felt for a long time to come. But savvy operators will use this is also an opportunity to learn about what really is essential in all aspects of their operation and use these learnings to make them stronger and better for the future. Having a sensible and practical solution to quickly and easily reduce wastage is going to be something that all businesses need to be looking into. We are the battery data experts; we’re here to help you, and we will happily talk you through exactly what will be the best solution for your organisation. ​​

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