The forklift truck battery room has never been seen as that important when compared to a warehouse’s main business of storing and distribution. Usually, any problems that crop up there are looked on as relatively minor.
This point of view is based on a lack of understanding about the sheer amount of waste in the typical battery room. In fact, a poorly-run battery room actually creates waste throughout the entire warehouse, which in turn can lead to higher operating expenses and asset costs.
Operating expenses and asset costs can go up
Operating expenses can increase because batteries with low capacities will mean staff have to make more trips to the battery room. Battery changing and watering processes take longer than they should. Operators will spend more time changing or watering batteries when they could be working. Excess space will be used up in the battery room.
Asset costs can go up too, because you’ll have more batteries and chargers in the fleet than you actually need. In addition, batteries and chargers will fail prematurely.
The total cost of this waste can soon add up, with large distribution centres seeing costs rise by hundreds of thousands of Euros every year. Even small warehouses with just ten to 20 trucks could be losing tens of thousands of Euros each year.
So what can be done about it? Well with the right systems in place and better training and information reporting, battery rooms can become lean, bringing down asset costs and improving the efficiency of the whole site.
In fact, within any battery room there are three main areas where savings can be made – battery maintenance, management and handling. To find out the correct solutions for your requirements and reduce your costs, you need to ask yourself some questions.
Better battery maintenance, management and handling
As batteries are cycled they lose water due to evaporation. This water needs to be replaced. If it’s not, then the lead plates will become exposed to the air which causes the plates to sulphate and lose capacity. For battery maintenance, you need to know when your batteries need watering, how to water them and where to get battery water from.
Battery management is just as important. You need to know how many batteries your business requires and your operators need to know which battery to use next. In addition, you should have a system in place to monitor and report on the maintenance, servicing and usage of your batteries.
Incorrect battery handling can be just as costly to your business. Wrongly specified equipment can result in lost floor space, increased health and safety issues, increased change times and excessive equipment damage. Poor training of your staff on using the equipment can also cause increased waste.
So you need to know how much space will be required in your battery room, so you’re not taking up valuable warehouse space. Batteries are heavy pieces of equipment, so you should be certain that you’re using the right method and the correct equipment to move them. Large amounts of labour time can be lost in the battery room due to slow and inefficient battery change equipment.
Products that answer all these questions
Philadelphia Scientific is a world-leading provider of products and services for motive power and standby batteries. Their excellence in engineering, combined with a passion for quality, has made them one of the most trusted brands in the marketplace today.
The company has a range of products and systems that can be tailored to meet your requirements. The products that are best suited to your business will depend on the quantity of batteries, the skill level of your employees, the hourly labour rate, the cost of your warehouse space and the working hours of your trucks.
Here’s a quick summary of the products and systems they offer, which will enable you to increase your efficiencies, reduce asset costs and improve site safety.
For battery maintenance, the SmartBlinky electrolyte level monitor can tell you when your batteries need watering. To carry out the watering, you can choose from the WateringGun, the Stealth system and the WaterInjector. While the HydroPure Deionizer is a cost-effective way of ensuring you have a good quality source of deionised water, where and when you need it.
For battery management, a battery management system like the iBOS is the single most effective tool for ensuring proper battery rotation and reducing waste in the battery room. The iBOSworld.com is the world’s bestselling web-based battery room reporting system and basically tells you how many batteries you need. For monitoring and reporting on the maintenance, servicing and usage of your batteries, you have a choice of the iTAG asset tracking system and the eGO!2 battery life history monitor.
Philadelphia Scientific have products specifically designed for battery handling too. Adjust-A-Rack battery/charger stands feature adjustable battery locations which can be configured and re-configured to suit individual battery sizes. For changing batteries, there are the EZ-Puller manual battery change car, the PowerPuller powered battery changer and the PowerChanger man-on-board battery changer for medium to large battery rooms.
Philadelphia Scientific will be show casing the Lean Battery Room at this year’s CeMAT exhibition in Hannover, from the 2nd to the 6th of May