Avoid Damaging Batteries On Lift Tucks Taken Out Of Service During Covid19

Jul 11, 2020
battery storage

Preparing forklift batteries for long term storage of more than a few weeks can help you avoid costly repair or replacement down the road. Keep your batteries in top shape and ready to go back online when needed with these simple tips.

The Covid19 crisis is wreaking havoc upon businesses throughout the United States and across the globe.  Many organizations are finding themselves short-staffed, and many industry segments have seen a massive reduction in demand.

While it’s true that many industries are doing just fine, or even booming in the case of certain products, several have seen quite a reduction in volume since the pandemic began.   For some operations, this means that large portions of their lift truck fleets will be sitting idle for weeks or months.

If you’ve had to suspend parts of your operation, your lift trucks can sit for long periods of time without any problem whatsoever, provided you take certain basic precautions.  Lead-acid batteries should be prepared for an inactive period so that they can be fully ready and functional when business returns to normal. 

Here are a few tips for preparing your batteries for long term inactivity:

Charge your batteries before storage

All batteries that are going to be stored should be fully charged first.  Charging can help prevent sulfation, of the buildup of lead sulfate crystals.  When too much sulfation occurs within a battery, it can impede chemical to electrical conversion and significantly decrease battery performance.

When your battery builds up sulfites, it can lead to excessive heat buildup, longer charging times, reduced capacity and a much shorter battery life. In many cases excess sulfation leads to complete battery failure. 

If sulfation is recognized and dealt with early on, its effects are usually completely reversible.  Maintenance of this type should be handled by a qualified battery expert. 

Permanent sulfation happens when a battery has been in a low state-of-charge for several weeks or even months. Although batteries with longer term sulfation can sometimes be saved, more often than not restoration is impossible. 

Disconnect any batteries that are still on your lift trucks

Even when your truck is switched off, batteries that are still connected to a truck can gradually discharge with time. This phenomenon, known as “parasitic load”, occurs because some electronic systems can draw small amounts of power in standby mode.  Over long periods of time, drawing small amounts of energy can completely discharge a battery.   If you must keep your batteries mounted on unused trucks, disconnect the leads.

Store forklift batteries in a dry, climate controlled environment

During the summer months, storage areas can get very warm.  Batteries should not be stored in temperatures above 75 degrees if at all possible.  For every 10 degrees above room temperature, the rate of battery self-discharge doubles.  In very hot climates this can have a significant effect on discharge rates during storage. 

Periodically charge unused batteries

Even if you believe you won’t be using your trucks for several months, you should charge batteries every few weeks to avoid sulfation damage. 

Let us answer your battery questions

If you have concerns about your batteries, or would like to learn about our battery maintenance programs, call Raymond West today at 562-944-8067.