Is the design of your battery room holding your operation back?
As valuable as battery room space can be, you need to make sure to protect access to battery chargers and other crucial equipment when planning your layout. Crowded battery rooms detract significantly from operational efficiency by placing obstacles between workers and the equipment in need of standard maintenance. If a battery charger requires repair or replacement, the lost time can get even more expensive.
Unorganized battery charging equipment can also create serious safety risks. Staff should be able to easily disconnect electrical equipment for repair or maintenance without risking contact with live conductors — as you might imagine, that’s only possible in a spacious, well-planned system.
Finally, charger panels provide important information about the charging process. Without access to this information, either directly through the charger display or from a secondary battery management system, battery room operators can’t determine which batteries are ready for deployment.
Follow these simple recommendations to make sure that staff can always access your charger collection:
Maintain Plenty of Space Around Chargers.
As ergonomics training teaches us, the ideal space for staff to work in is the “golden zone” or “power zone,” close to the body, between the shoulders and knees. Placing chargers on dedicated charger stands can improve access for maintenance staff. Plus, elevating chargers keeps them out of forklift travel paths, helping to comply with OSHA standards.
Choose Battery Systems Stands with Integrated Charger Storage.
Facilities that store batteries in multi-tiered system stands can save space while preserving access by incorporating charger stands into the battery racks. Charger shelves above batteries provide easy connection to charger cables. Install a catwalk and ladder to allow staff unobstructed access to charging equipment.
Use a Remote Display to Keep Tabs on Distant Chargers.
Sometimes you can’t place chargers where staff can easily read the front panels. Your fleet management software should be able to fill in the information gaps, but for immediate visual verification of the charging cycle’s progress, install BHS Charger Remote Displays on battery stands, at eye level.
Route Charger and DC Cables Effectively.
Charger cables and power supply lines are particularly vulnerable to damage and can easily become tangled or caught on racking. Provide consistently trouble-free access to these important components by routing cables through dedicated holes in battery stands. A mounted cable retractor makes attaching charger connectors to batteries simple.
By following these tips, you can provide safe, convenient access to battery charging equipment for all maintenance and repair tasks, as well as complying with numerous safety regulations. The National Electric Code (NEC) requires working space around all live electrical equipment, usually at least three feet, depending on the circumstances. Article 480.9(C) of the NEC specifically applies this standard to storage battery systems, which could include the charging apparatus.
Providing uncluttered access to all forklift battery chargers will keep your fleet running at peak efficiency while preventing unnecessary stress for staff. As with all advanced electrical equipment, maintenance improves operational life spans — and access is the key to compliance with maintenance schedules.
“NFPA 70: National Electrical Code.” NFPA. National Fire Protection Association, 2013. Web. 25 Aug. 2015.
“Powered Industrial Trucks – 1910.178.” Occupational Safety & Health Administration. United States Department of Labor, 2006. Web. 25 Aug. 2015.
Weitzel, Michael. “Battery Rooms – Accidents Waiting to Happen?” IAEI Magazine. International Association of Electrical Inspectors, Sept.-Oct. 2007. Web. 25 Aug. 2015.