10 Feb Your Ultimate Guide to Forklift Truck Batteries
Forklift truck batteries are their heartbeat and an often-overlooked component in materials handling operations across the world.
The batteries are what provides the power to the machine, lift those heavy loads and move materials as quickly and efficiently as possible.
In this blog we will tell you all you need to know about forklift truck batteries, the types, how to maintain them and ensuring you pick the correct one for your workplace.
What type of batteries does a forklift truck use?
Forklift truck batteries are classified into two types: lead-acid and nickel-cadmium.
Because of their low cost and high energy density, lead-acid batteries are the most commonly used type of battery for forklifts.
Nickel-cadmium batteries, on the other hand, are gaining popularity due to their longer lifespan and ability to handle high power demands.
Lead Acid Batteries
Lead-acid batteries are rechargeable batteries that are commonly used in the automotive and mechanical handling equipment industries, as well as in stand-by applications.
Batteries are classified into four types: starter batteries, semi-traction batteries, traction batteries, and stationary batteries.
A starter battery is a type of battery that is used to start a machine or an internal combustion engine, most commonly a heat engine. The alternator begins charging the battery as soon as the engine is started. In comparison to traction batteries, the starter battery typically provides a high level of power for a short period of time.
Traction batteries can be deeply discharged and provide large amounts of power over long periods of time. As a result, they are ideal for cyclic applications that require larger battery capacities (daily discharge and recharge) such as mobile elevating work platforms, industrial cleaning machines, and forklifts.
Semi-traction batteries are designed for applications that require deep discharge of the batteries; they assist in starting equipment but primarily serve as a power source for the equipment’s operation. They’re frequently found in scissor lifts, mobile elevating work platforms, and industrial cleaning machines.
These are designed for stand-by operations or back-ups, for example if a hospital loses power. However they are not common in the materials handling industry.
Nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries are rechargeable batteries that are widely used in a variety of applications such as forklift trucks, power tools, and backup power systems.
They can store large amounts of energy in a compact package, have a long life span and have a very consistent output and quick charge.
However, they are more expensive and have a lower operating voltage compared to lead-acid.
What is the difference between forklift truck batteries and a car battery?
They have similarities in that they are both lead-acid batteries, but have major differences too.
- Capacity – forklift truck batteries have much more powerful understandable. Forklifts have a 100Ah capacity, approximately double a cars.
- Voltage – Forklift truck batteries have a higher voltage due to needing more power to run. Typically they are 48V while a car is generally 12V
- Size – If you’ve ever seen a forklift battery you’ll realise they are much, much bigger than a car battery.
- Care – Generally a car battery needs very little maintenance, while a forklift truck will experience more stress and wear and tear due to the work it receives and therefore needs regular TLC.
- Toughness – Forklift truck batteries are built for exposure to tough working conditions such as knocks, bangs, vibrations and temperatures. Car batteries experience much less abuse.
To learn more on the different types of forklifts, check out our blog covering that topic.
How long will a forklift truck battery last?
The life of a battery is generally expressed as a number of charging cycles.
So basically, the length of time your forklift truck battery lasts is dependent on how many times you charge and discharge it.
A good rule of thumb to maximise its life is to charge it only when it’s more than 60% discharged but less than 80% discharged.
While it’s also dependent on things like the operating conditions and how often it is being used.
But a typical lead-acid forklift truck batter can last anywhere from 2-5 years with proper maintenance, care and usage – even longer in some instances.
For more on forklift maintenance, check out our blog on what is considered high hours on a forklift.
Forklift Truck Battery Maintenance
Keeping on top of proper care and maintenance in your forklift battery is the single most important aspect of its longevity.
For a more detailed breakdown of proper battery maintenance, read out blog on Top Tips to Forklift Battery Maintenance.
Below are some of the non-negotiables in maintenance:
- Keep it clean from dirt and debris than can build up
- Constantly monitor the water levels and use distilled water
- Recharging the battery correctly
- Keep the battery in a cool, dry place, avoiding the extreme heats
- Things to consider when buying a forklift battery
Type of application
Think about where your battery is going to be applied and the level of power that is going to be needed to do the job.
Consider the maximum power output, the length of time the battery needs to last during a typical day and how long you will need or have to charge it.
Where it will be working
Think about the temperatures, conditions, dampness or humidity where it will b operating along with the stress it will be under with the time it is working and loads being lifted.
How expensive is a forklift battery?
The price of a forklift battery in Ireland can vary depending on several factors, including battery size and type, brand, and vendor.
A lead-acid forklift battery can cost between €1,000 and €3,000 on average, while a nickel-cadmium battery can cost up to €5,000.
It’s important to remember that while a more expensive battery may have a higher upfront cost, it may also have a longer lifespan and be more efficient, resulting in long-term cost savings.
Furthermore, purchasing a high-quality battery from a reputable vendor can help ensure that it provides consistent power and lasts for a long time.
That’s why we choose to supply Midac batteries – the best in their class.
At Masterlift, we believe that a forklift truck battery is as important as the machine itself.
If you have any other questions you want answering, get in touch and let us know.