So you’ve decided you need a new battery room. Maybe your current battery charging area is outdated, or perhaps your fleet is just now large enough to justify the expense. Regardless of the reason, your new battery room’s success depends on a great plan — from choosing the ideal location to optimizing equipment.
Battery room planning tools from BHS help you distribute your budget the smart way, ensuring that your forklift fleet stays fully powered, shift after shift.
Forklift Battery Rooms: Asking the Right Questions
Start by figuring out your facility’s precise motive power requirements. That’s actually a more detailed task than it sounds; here are just a few of the questions you’ll need to answer before you even begin to think about purchasing new battery handling equipment:
- How many battery charges does your operation complete during a typical day?
- What are the upfront equipment costs?
- What are the maintenance and upkeep costs of new equipment?
- Does your operation have a pallet truck readily available?
- How many employees are available for changing, watering, and charging?
- Do you foresee your operation as a whole growing in the short or long term?
Just as you would “right-size” your lift fleet, “right-size” your battery room and its battery maintenance equipment. It’s a near-impossible task to get the most out of a large fleet safely without automated assistance. The larger and more busy your operation’s fleet, the more automated you will want your battery room to be.
Three Crucial Choices for Forklift Charging Rooms: Location, Location, Location
You don’t want forklifts to drive all the way across your facility just to change a battery. Efficient operations place their charging rooms somewhere near the center of the fleet’s operating area.
Of course, this isn’t the only consideration that goes into a well-planned battery room. You also need to ensure that the building’s power supply can handle the voltage required by multiple chargers. You can also cut down on power distribution costs by placing your charging room as close to the main power feed as possible.
Finally, forklift battery maintenance depends on a ready water supply, while safety demands robust ventilation — and so does OSHA.
Obeying the Law: OSHA Requirements for Forklift Battery Rooms
Compliance with state and federal safety regulations must be built into your battery charging area. You’ll need to include spill kits to neutralize electrolyte, fire extinguishers at predetermined intervals, plenty of lighting, and a powerful ventilation system to prevent hydrogen accumulation.
Federal regulations also instruct employers to provide “material handling equipment…for handling batteries.” That’s where your BHS Battery Extractor comes in. The BHS Automatic Transfer Carriage (ATC), which mounts to an available pallet truck, provides solutions for small to mid-sized operations. For larger operations expecting to grow (and possibly automate further), an Operator Aboard Battery Extractor system will provide the fastest, safest battery changes available.
Factor in space for spare battery changing equipment, too. You don’t want to lose motive power for your entire fleet during routine extractor maintenance.
Start Planning a New Forklift Battery Charging Room Today
Take a look through the BHS Battery Room Resources and Planning Tools to get an idea of what an excellent battery charging area might look like. To improve efficiency for your entire forklift fleet, you can’t do better than an optimized battery room from BHS.
Gooley, Toby. “Battery changing room ‘dos and dont’s.’” DCVelocity. Agile Business Media LLC, 13 July 2010. Web. 22 Feb 2016.
“Occupational Safety and Health Standards – Powered industral trucks.” Occupational Safety & Health Administration, n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.
Vanasse, Harold. “Other Voices: The impact of right-sizing on battery room operation.” MMH. Peerless Media LLC, 10 Apr. 2015. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.