The Search for a New Forklift Battery
You’re in the market for a new forklift battery, you need to choose a new battery manufacturer and you’re not sure where to start.
There is a lot of information out there to help choose the best battery type, but how do you determine which manufacturer to use?
Regardless of where you are in your search for a new forklift battery manufacturer, the same rules apply across the board. You need a partner that has:
- Adaptable products to fit different equipment
- Excellent and ongoing technical support
- Program for lithium-ion battery disposal and recycling
- A BMS with telematics offering for battery data management
Adaptable Products Based on Different Forklift Dimensions
When purchasing a forklift battery, most of the time you are buying it for a specific piece of equipment. The battery compartment dimensions, minimum forklift battery weight requirement, and the connector cable length and position are all important aspects that the new battery must be compatible with.
This process becomes much more of a headache when you are forced to look through 400-500 different SKUs to find the battery that fits your equipment’s exact specifications.
To make this step in the process a whole lot easier, you can look for a manufacturer that offers customizable battery models that can be adapted to your equipment.
This way, you can purchase a base model battery for whatever type of lift truck you’re outfitting, and then add an adapter to meet the truck requirements.
Looking for a forklift manufacturer with this type of modular battery design is important because these batteries can be utilized with different forklift brands and models if your fleet composition changes in the future.
Excellent and Ongoing Technical Support
Traditionally, forklift batteries tend to be seen as a one-time cost of doing business, and great customer support is not high on the priority list.
But with the advent of lithium-ion technology, where batteries are more of a long-term technology investment, the customer support experience is more important for fleet managers to get the most out of their equipment.
Make sure to pay attention to the tools and resources the customer support team provide such as:
- Online product guides and videos
- Product training programs
- Safety and battery disposal and recycle documents
- Service bulletins
Being able to leverage a responsive, helpful technical support team to ensure batteries are being used to their fullest potential and maintained correctly to maximize lifespan is crucial in the world of advanced battery technology.
Additionally, since lithium-ion batteries can have different chemical compositions, it is important for users to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging, storage, shipping, and maintenance.
Whether the battery is purchased directly from the manufacturer, an OEM, or through a local equipment dealer, you should be able to contact the manufacturer for help with any problems or questions they might have.
Program for Lithium-Ion Battery Disposal and Recycling
As more batteries are being used in the material handling industry, more batteries will need to be recycled.
Lead acid batteries have a robust disposal and recycling process in place. Because lithium-ion batteries are a relatively new technology, there has not been a widespread recycling program developed for them just yet. However, recycling is still possible and important.
All batteries have a finite lifespan and thinking about what to do with the battery at the end of its useful life is essential. Selecting a manufacturer that already has a battery disposal and recycling program makes that easier.
Any reputable battery manufacturer should accept their batteries at the end of its useful life for recycling/repurposing.
Battery manufacturers should repurpose batteries for secondary use or work with organizations to develop second life programs. Sending your battery back to the manufacturer for secondary use recycling provides benefits such as:
- Avoiding disposal costs at recycling centers
- Not having to worry about waste treatment costs
- Minimize the number of batteries that unnecessarily end up in landfills
BMS with Telematics Offering for Battery Data Management
Lithium-ion battery technology is more than just a power source for your equipment; it is a useful tool to help maximize productivity and improve operations in your warehouse.
Manufacturers of lithium-ion battery packs should have a BMS with a telematics offering where users can access crucial performance data of the battery pack.
Aggregating BMS data in a cloud-based solution allows users to identify usage patterns, track operator behavior, monitor battery condition, and send customized alerts and notifications.
Additionally, these systems allow battery manufacturer support teams to troubleshoot and diagnose problems remotely.
As telematics technology becomes more affordable, it is becoming a must-have for fleet managers to optimize productivity and maximize equipment uptime.
Even if you are not using telematics today, this growing trend that will become commonplace, and you do not want to purchase batteries now that will not be able to accommodate telematics in the future.
Lithium-Ion Battery Manufacturers Can Be Strategic Partners
Lithium-ion battery manufacturers are driving a lot of change in the material handling industry, so any manufacturer you choose should be motivated to continue driving change and improving their battery technology.
Look for innovative features (patents) and independent 3rd-party certifications that show a commitment to continuous improvement.
As the technology becomes more advanced, your battery manufacturer should take on a more strategic role, partnering with your business rather than just making a one-time sale.