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Forklift Battery Extraction: Overhead vs. Side Removal

Competing Designs for Forklift Battery Compartments Two types of battery compartments are typically found in electric forklift fleets, differentiated by method of access. Electric forklifts configured for overhead extraction place batteries vertically into battery compartments. Side removal compartments provide access through a removable gate in the truck’s flank, allowing battery extractors to gently pull batteries into carts or charging racks. Horizontal removal provides important safety benefits by limiting vertical travel. When batteries are held higher in the air, they become more of an accident risk. There are also operational cost benefits to side-removal systems, which are especially evident for facilities with larger lift truck fleets. Leading manufacturers of electric forklifts frequently offer both systems as options, allowing consumers to choose…more

Finding Government Tax Credits and Incentives for Electric Forklifts

Electric forklifts are superior to combustion-powered trucks in many ways, but while they offer excellent performance with lower fuel costs, full-scale fleet conversion is often a tall order. Electric lift trucks can be expensive, and some businesses stick with gas-powered trucks — despite the clear drawbacks of combustion technologies — to avoid the capital costs of a brand-new fleet. Government tax incentives can help some industrial businesses reduce the costs of electric forklifts, since electrical power is an eco-friendly alternative to gasoline and diesel. The bad news is that programs are often handled at the state level, and finding credits can be difficult if you don’t know where to start. However, if you’re considering lift truck fleet conversion, it’s worth…more

Ergonomic Compliance with the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act

Complying With Ergonomics Rules Under the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act Federal ergonomic laws in the United States can be difficult to interpret due to the complex nature of workplace safety regulations. In 2000, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) adopted rules to specifically address ergonomics hazards — but the following year, Congress used an obscure law to block the introduction of the ergonomics standards and prevent similar rules from being introduced in the future. Without explicit ergonomics standards on the books, OSHA turned to a broader rule to enforce safe practices: the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act of 1970. Section 5(a)(1) of the General Duty Clause requires employers to keep their facilities “free from…more

Lift Truck Fleet Rightsizing: Are Heavy-Duty Forklifts Overkill?

Downtime is the enemy of a productive facility. If your lift trucks are off of the floor, they’re not making money — and for many operations, that’s a scary proposition. As a result, some businesses end up overpaying for their lift trucks, choosing gas- and diesel-powered units where electric power would be a much less expensive (and much more productive) option. Facilities also routinely purchase too many trucks, and underutilized fleets can be just as expensive as overutilized fleets. If you have heavy-duty combustion forklifts, you should routinely review your fleet to determine whether or not your operation is overdue for some rightsizing. Ask yourself these questions to decide whether it’s time for a fleet audit: How heavy are your…more

Reasons to Switch from Combustion to Electric Forklifts

At one point, nearly all forklifts were powered by internal combustion. The market has shifted as electric forklifts have become more efficient; according to numbers from the Industrial Truck Association (ITA), 63 percent of new lift trucks purchased in 2010 used electricity as a primary power source. That number is up from 2007, when the market was only about 57 percent electric. Choosing the right power source is an important part of planning your forklift fleet, and you probably know that fully converting away from internal combustion can be costly. However, it’s often a worthwhile goal, as battery-powered lift trucks offer a number of advantages over their gas-guzzling brethren. To help you decide whether conversion is an appropriate option for…more

The Importance of Flatness and Levelness in Battery Room Floors

Introduction: Optimizing Battery Extractor Systems With Flat Floors Flooring is an important consideration when planning a battery charging room. A safe and efficient battery room requires appropriately level surfaces, and appropriate construction practices can help to meet all building codes and federal regulations while ensuring reliable operation for battery handling equipment. Flooring in areas designated for charging, changing, or maintaining forklift batteries must meet strict technical requirements in order to provide the safest travel for lift trucks and battery changers. In some cases, forklift battery handling areas will present builders with unique structural challenges. Floors that support battery handling systems will need to withstand forces not encountered in other parts of the facility, such as: The tremendous weight of forklift…more

BHS Announces Additions to Warehouse Equipment Line

July 6, 2015 – St. Louis, Missouri — Battery Handling Systems, Inc., a leading manufacturer of material handling and battery changing equipment, has announced new additions in its successful line of warehouse products. “BHS products help warehouse managers improve productivity and storage efficiency while promoting a safer work environment,” said Katy Cortinovis, Marketing Manager at BHS. “We consulted directly with our end users when designing our new equipment, and each product is ideally suited for warehouse applications.” New products include the forklift reel attachment (model name BHS RHA) and the BHS Parallel Reel Payout (BHS PRP), both of which simplify cable-pulling actions while limiting unnatural repetitive movements. The related Spool Winding Box (BHS SWB) can be mounted to reel take-up…more

5 Pieces of Essential Safety Equipment for Battery Charging Areas

While forklift batteries present some challenges, they are extremely safe when paired with appropriate safety equipment and well-trained personnel. In fact, with some planning, the process of changing and charging lift truck batteries can be as safe as filling a car’s gas tank. Battery room hazards are usually related to four specific issues: the great weight of the batteries, the corrosive electrolyte in flooded lead/acid cells, electrical current at terminals and within cells, and the potentially explosive gasses generated by the charging process. Each of these hazards can be easily controlled — and danger can be mitigated — with appropriate safety gear and equipment. By ensuring easy access to a few crucial pieces of safety equipment, battery room managers can…more