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Forklifts

Forklift Battery Handling Equipment for the Coming Year’s Budget

Improved battery room configurations and new equipment can yield big gains in productivity and profitability. As the end of the year draws closer, managers of large forklift fleets consider placing an investment in this type of infrastructure in the coming year’s budget. BHS custom designs its battery handling equipment for safety, efficiency, and lifetime cost savings. A complete system can make battery change-outs, charging, and washing a seamless process that keeps lift trucks running with less downtime.  Even a single piece of well-chosen equipment can make a big difference in a battery room. Carts and carriages are fine for operations that only require one or two battery change-outs per day. A BHS Automatic Transfer Carriage accommodates up to 20 change-outs.…more

Preventative Maintenance for AGV Batteries

Automatic guided vehicles (or automated guided vehicles, depending on who you ask) are touted as the future of material handling. They’re driverless forklifts or carts that follow paths through floor implants, pre-programmed routes, or by using cameras or laser guidance. As advanced as AGV technology has become in recent years, one thing about these devices will be familiar to anyone who has worked with traditional electric forklifts: the battery. Many AGVs use batteries that are very similar — even identical — to electric forklift batteries. Some may use NiCad, lithium ion, or even hydrogen fuel cell batteries, but AGVs that rely on counterbalance to lift loads overwhelmingly favor flooded lead-acid batteries. That’s why users of electric forklifts will already be…more

Switching from Liquid Propane to Electric Forklifts in the Produce Industry

In the mid-1990s, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) noticed an alarming trend. The state is the country’s largest provider of 11 types of produce, including apples, Concord grapes, and pears. In fruit-packing warehouses across the state, workers were being exposed to dangerous — and sometimes even poisonous — levels of carbon monoxide on the job. A major cause of this exposure turned out to be the operation of internal combustion (IC) forklifts in controlled atmosphere rooms, a mainstay of the produce handling industry. Ventilation doesn’t really work in cold rooms; they’re designed to hold in cold air, which also traps the carbon monoxide released by IC engines. Between 1994 and 1999, about 41 percent of the…more

What Type of Forklift is Right for Your Warehouse?

When it’s time to build a forklift fleet, start by choosing the right power source. The choice between electric and internal-combustion (IC) trucks is not just an issue of expense. It’s also crucial to running a safe business. That’s because internal combustion engines — whether they’re powered by diesel or by propane — emit carbon monoxide. This dangerous gas can accumulate in enclosed areas, poisoning anyone in the vicinity. Electric forklifts, on the other hand, have close to zero emissions, and they don’t produce any carbon monoxide at all. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other safety regulators recommend using electric forklifts in all enclosed areas. The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries is very clear about the…more

Choosing Electric Forklifts in Mexico: The Battery Compartment

The vast warehouse industry in Mexico continues to shift from gas to electric forklifts to reap the economic and environmental benefits associated with electric power. As electric fleets grow more common, warehouse managers must continually ensure that they configure their operations to be as efficient as possible. One of the most important choices when building a fleet of electric lift trucks is deciding between overhead and side-removal extraction for batteries. Overhead extraction requires that a gantry crane lift the battery vertically from the compartment and lower it on to a charging stand. A side-removal configuration allows battery extractors to slide batteries out along rollers into a cart or charging rack. While leading manufacturers of electric lift trucks offer both options,…more

Developing a Forklift Battery Watering Strategy that Works

Ask any battery room operator how often to water forklift batteries and you’ll probably get one of two responses: “Check them once a week and water as necessary,” they’ll say. Or they might say, “That depends.” The second response is about as accurate as it is frustrating, which is to say, totally. The fact is, battery watering can be tricky to nail down. It’s a good idea to start with weekly checkups and go from there, but ultimately, establishing an ideal watering schedule will take some experimentation. Watch out for the three major efficiency killers when you’re figuring out your watering routine: Don’t overwater. This can cause damaging boil-overs during charges. Don’t underwater. When cells dry out, they lose capacity…more

How Lead-Acid Forklift Batteries Continue to Evolve

With all the digital ink spilled over lithium-ion and hydrogen fuel cells, it can be easy to forget that manufacturers of lead-acid batteries continue to make improvements on the traditional chemistry of electric motive power. Here are a few of the advancements in lead-acid battery technology that will allow them to compete with newer power sources for electric forklifts: Integrated Supercapacitors – The traditional lead-acid forklift battery supplies plenty of energy, but power-heavy tasks — such as lifting and transporting heavier loads — can drain them faster. That can make it hard to predict the rate of discharge. Supercapacitors can store up to 100 times more energy per unit mass than a typical battery, which makes them perfect for supplying…more

Power Requirements for Tomorrow’s Counterbalance Forklifts

Nearly 60 percent of American forklift users rely on counterbalance trucks to meet the bulk of their material handling needs. Even more than 60 percent of the forklifts in North America run on electricity. (Both statistics date to 2014, the last year the Industrial Truck Association has compiled so far). But times are changing for electric counterbalance forklifts. New motive power technologies are on the horizon. Here are a few developing power sources that may power the industrial trucks of the future — but how will they work for counterbalance forklifts in particular? Lithium-ion batteries are driving progress in the personal electronics field, but that doesn’t translate into great benefits for counterbalance forklifts. Other industries love li-ion because the battery…more

Forklift Batteries: Lead-Acid vs. Lithium-Ion

In 2015, the first lithium-ion battery pack for an industrial lift truck hit the market. That’s astonishing, given that just six months prior, industry journal Material Handling and Logistics reported that lithium-ion batteries were “not available for lift trucks,” because “lift truck applications may have different requirements, such as lower voltage or higher peak currents than existing motive power applications.” The truck that finally brought the predictions of li-ion enthusiasts to life was a modest machine. Given the weight requirements of sit-down counterbalance forklifts, only a walkie pallet truck would work with a lithium-ion power source. Still, history had been made. A year after this bombshell dropped, however, lithium-ion has yet to overtake the lead-acid batteries of yesteryear. There are…more

Are Lithium Ion Forklift Batteries Catching On?

It’s safe to say that we live in the era of lithium-ion batteries. They power our phones, our laptops, our tablets, and even our hoverboards (sometimes disastrously). You might notice a stunning omission to that list. Nearly 10 years ago, the first lithium-ion forklift battery propelled an experimental lift truck across the floor of a major Japanese manufacturer’s facility. Fast forward to 2016: Where are all the lithium-ion forklift batteries? We can’t predict the future. But for now, the very attributes that make lithium-ion batteries so powerful in the electronics field also render them useless in the most common lift trucks at work in warehousing, construction, and manufacturing facilities. The Advantages of Li-Ion Batteries — And Will They Work for…more