What Type Of Battery Charging Is Best For Your Operation?

Dec 30, 2022
charging batteries

Learn about the three main types of forklift battery charging systems - conventional, opportunity, and fast charging - and their pros and cons for cost, downtime, and battery life.

Forklift battery charging systems are essential for operating electric lift trucks. These systems provide the power necessary for lift truck operations, and can also help extend battery life and reduce operating costs. There are three main types of forklift battery charging systems: conventional charging, opportunity charging and fast charging.

Conventional Charging

Conventional charging is the most common type of forklift battery charging system. This type of system requires the battery to be mostly discharged before it is recharged. In a typical conventional charging scenario, a battery is used throughout an eight hour shift, and it is charged and subsequently cooled overnight.  

Conventional charging is the simplest and most cost-effective type of charging system, but it also requires more downtime as the battery must go through a complete discharge / charge / cooling cycle. One major drawback of conventional systems is that multi-shift operations need to swap out batteries between shifts. Maintaining and swapping batteries adds substantial cost and effort, and any business running multiple shifts would be wise to investigate other options.  

Opportunity Charging

Opportunity charging is a more efficient type of forklift battery charging system. This type of system allows the battery to be recharged during breaks or whenever there is a pause in activity. This means that the battery does not have to be completely discharged before it can be recharged, so the downtime associated with recharging is reduced. 

This type of charging is well suited for multi-shift operations because batteries can be recharged throughout the day instead of overnight. Opportunity charging means that the battery typically isn’t charged above 80% of capacity, and a weekly equalization charge to 100% is required.  

Fast Charging

Fast charging is the most advanced type of forklift battery charging system. This type of system allows the battery to be recharged at a much faster rate than conventional or opportunity charging systems, but it requires special chargers. 

Batteries are typically brought up to between a 40-80% state of charge for normal operations, and like opportunity charging, fast charging requires a weekly equalization charge to 100%. The downside of fast charging is that it’s hard on batteries and substantially reduces their useful life.  Between more expensive chargers and reduced battery life, it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of fast charging before implementing a plan.  

Talk To A Battery Charger Expert

When choosing a forklift battery charging system, it is important to consider the cost, downtime and productivity needs of the operation. Ultimately, the type of forklift battery charging system chosen should be based on the needs of the operation and the budget available. To learn more about available charging technologies, contact a professional at Raymond West today.