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Rapid Opportunity Charging Forklift Batteries

Filed under: Batteries

For operators of battery electric forklifts (especially large fleets) keeping vehicle batteries charged and vehicles operational is often a complex task.

This blog post will look at rapid charging technology developed by Adaptalift Hyster’s partner company Speedshield Technologies that can safely and rapidly charge forklift batteries keeping forklift fleets operational for longer eliminating costly downtime due to charging.

battery charging station

Rapid charging refers to opportunity charging at a higher rate. Whilst standard chargers deliver a starting rate from 15-18 Amps per 100AH of the battery, rapid chargers deliver between 25-50 Amps per 100AH.

Opportunity charging is when operators use break periods throughout a work day to keep a high state of charge in a forklift battery. Whenever a forklift is not in use (e.g. during lunch breaks) it is connected to a charging station.

The more power that you can put into the battery in the amount of break available determines the total additional truck runtime that can be achieved.

A common question regarding rapid charging is ‘why not completely charge the battery?’

The answer to this is that the period in which a battery experiences the majority of deterioration is during the final 20% of charging known as the ‘gassing stage’.

Whilst gassing can cause loss of capacity and damage battery plates, it is also an essential part of battery maintenance as it mixes battery acid into the electrolyte, preventing battery acid and water from separating and causing stratification. Therefore, forklifts that are being opportunity charged should also be charged fully overnight.

If a battery were to be charged beyond 80% during each opportunity charge it would experience a weeks’ worth of wear in one day, effectively turning a five year battery life span into one year.

Speedshield Technologies Rapid Chargers are designed and setup with an automatic forced delay that will not charge a battery beyond 80% during the work day. In the case of the Rapid Charger a two hour time delay between start of charge and charging beyond 80% is enforced, this provides enough time for effective opportunity charging whilst giving operators enough time to disconnect the battery before harmful gassing begins.

battery connectivty diagram

There are multiple benefits of opportunity charging for forklift operators, these include:

  • In certain scenarios it allows forklift operators to avoid battery changes
  • Eliminates having to purchase, charge and store additional batteries for each vehicle
  • Eliminates the need to purchase expensive battery changing equipment
  • Reduces/eliminates the risk of injury to worker from carrying out frequent battery changes

For more information on rapid opportunity charging for your forklift please view the links below:

Speedshield Technologies

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