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Maintenance free batteries

18 March 2013

John Lawton, director of marketing at EnerSys Motive Power Europe, Middle East & Africa discusses trends in forklift batteries.

Manufacturers are striving towards lower maintenance and robust maintenance-free lead acid products. The task of topping up a battery every week or so is a burden. If it isn't done often enough or correctly it can lead to operational issues. So we launched a low maintenance flooded traction battery just over three years ago called Water Less.

We've had great success with that, it pushes the topping up frequency out from a minimum of four weeks to a maximum of 20 weeks.

Often with lower maintenance products there is a trade off with less capacity, but we've put the basic technology into the battery cell itself. So even with the standard ferroresonant 50Hz charger you would achieve four weeks. Couple that with a more intelligent high frequency charger and you can then go to 8-20 weeks. At the 13 week level, you are taking out over 80% of your topping up costs.

On the maintenancefree front, we have launched the Hawker XFC 2Volt cell range.

This builds on the success of our range of 12V blocs which use thin plate pure lead technology (TPPL).

The TPPL technology also has lower recharging costs and a lower carbon footprint.

Combine these benefits with increased flexibility and autonomy for your electric trucks and it is a winning solution.

The batteries can be fast charged and opportunity charged which can mean no more spare batteries, no battery changing and no need for a dedicated battery charging room.

In addition, lithium ion is on everybody's mind. Features such as fast charging and maintenance-free operation are extremely attractive but total cost of ownership is a major consideration.

Our main technology is lead acid, but we also have interests in hydrogen fuel cell and lithium ion. We can take a view on what we see as best for the customer.

We can model the various technologies to suit the application.

We have just launched a lithium ion battery for small pallet trucks, which you can see at IMHX Stand 20F30. Come and see us at the show to discuss your business needs and which technology is the best match for you.