If you’re searching for new ways to capture cost savings, you might take a closer look at how you power your fleet. A simple switch, from the lead-acid batteries likely powering your forklifts to lithium ion batteries, could potentially save you significantly in maintenance and downtime.
Lightweight, rechargeable lithium ion batteries have become the norm for modern electronics, but have been slow to shift to industrial applications—in part due to the higher upfront cost. Now, however, a number of manufacturers have introduced options that can be cost-effectively used in the electric counterbalance and narrow aisle forklifts or electric pallet jacks that you are running today.
The biggest benefit for users is that these batteries don’t require the maintenance of traditional lead-acid batteries. There’s no need for watering or clean-up of spills. Moreover, this modern electric forklift battery also runs longer than lead-acid counterparts—?up to 9 continuous hours. The high density storage of a lithium ion option means that having to switch out or charge batteries mid-shift will no longer be a problem.
Lithium ion batteries charge faster too. A full charge can be regained in about 2 hours, versus up to 8 hours of charging with lead. Simply plug it in during a scheduled break, rather than dealing with downtime for charging every shift. This charge time reduction translates to big savings. One site test realized a 17 percent increase in productivity as a result of the downtime reduction, estimating a complete return on the investment in the higher cost battery within 10-16 months.
There are additional benefits in favor of the switch as well. Many users have reported a noticeable increase in forklift power as a result of the new power source. This is because there’s no degrading over the life of the battery, unlike alternatives. Users can free up space otherwise needed for storing multiple batteries. And without lead or the off-gassing of fumes during charging, it’s a comparatively greener option, a boost for facilities promoting sustainability.
While new lithium ion battery options will present a higher upfront cost, there’s a calculated case to be made for cost savings that can drive your business forward.