August 19, 2021

How to Determine if Lithium-ion is the Right Fit

By Maria Cloud

Evaluating newer technology can be confusing at first. With lithium-ion being more technologically advanced, there are many factors to consider when determining a customer’s needs.

Understanding a customer’s energy, labor, and maintenance needs will help better find solutions for their operations. By asking the right questions when a customer comes to a dealer for solutions, you’ll be better prepared to determine if lithium-ion is the right fit.

This guide will walk through 5 questions to ask a customer to ensure they get the best battery pack for their operations.

  1. Are you running multiple shifts per day? And do the batteries last throughout all shifts?
  2. Is charging your battery a hassle?
  3. Is battery maintenance giving you a headache?
  4. What are your energy costs?
  5. What are your concerns about safety?

Swapping Batteries in Multi-Shift Operations

With lithium-ion technology, there is no need for battery swapping. Lithium-ion battery packs have a 25% longer run time than lead acid batteries, keeping the forklift in service longer. Since lithium-ion batteries have longer run times, managers can purchase 1 battery instead of the 2-3 lead acid batteries needed to support a multi-shift operation.

An added benefit is that operations can reclaim the lead acid battery charging area for additional space, such as inventory storage or manufacturing needs.

 

Charging Hassles with Lead Acid Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries can be fully charged in just 1 to 2 hours and opportunity charged for 15 or 30 minutes without permanent damage to the cell’s capacity.

This helps operators keep batteries in service longer by charging the battery in between shifts or while operators are on break.

Lithium-ion batteries usually remain in the forklift during charging while lead acid batteries need to be removed during charging. Not only do lead acid batteries have to be taken out of the lift equipment, but the charging and cooling-off period typically last up to 16 hours.

 

Lead Acid Battery Maintenance Headaches

Transitioning over to lithium-ion technology means that operators can eliminate these time-consuming tasks:

With lead acid batteries, it is crucial to maintain the battery to ensure a long lifespan and reduce safety concerns. If operators skip these maintenance tasks, the risk of overheating can occur.

Not only will lithium-ion batteries save warehouse employees time, but they will eliminate the associated maintenance costs.

 

Energy Costs

Reducing energy costs is a big factor operations take into account when looking for solutions to power their equipment.

Lithium-ion batteries are 30-50% more energy efficient than lead acid batteries. Higher levels of energy efficiency mean operations are using less energy to charge up a lithium-ion battery pack versus a lead acid battery.

While lead acid batteries seem like a better investment upfront, considering energy costs, a lithium-ion battery pack's total cost of ownership is usually lower.

 

Safety Concerns

Employing lithium-ion technology in lift equipment means that, operators can eliminate safety hazards such as:

  • Acid spills
  • Overcharging/overheating
  • Noxious fumes during charging

One of the biggest safety hazards of using lead acid batteries is overcharging. During overcharging, the electrolyte solution in a lead acid battery can overheat. This causes hydrogen and oxygen gas to form, which increases pressure inside the lead acid battery.

Lithium-ion batteries have an integrated battery management system (BMS) that monitors charging and temperature changes so that the lithium-ion battery will not overheat. The BMS also prevents them from overcharge as well.

 

Best Fit for Material Handling Equipment

Customers that are looking for a battery pack to power their equipment want to know that they are being given the best option for their specific needs. With the many benefits lithium-ion battery packs provide, equipment dealers play an important role in guiding customers to the best choice to powering their equipment.

By knowing which questions to ask your customers, you will determine if lithium-ion technology is the right fit for your customer’s operations, which will make the transition to lithium-ion a smooth experience.

Ready to See the Lithium-ion Difference?

Maria Cloud

Maria Cloud

Maria Cloud is the Marketing Coordinator at Flux Power. She graduated with a BS degree in Business Management from California State University, San Marcos. She is responsible for generating marketing content, along with market research & customer initiatives.