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Benefits of lithium batteries for your electric forklift

2024-01-15 | Power Battery - Electric Forklift

Electric forklifts play a key role in the modern logistics and warehousing industry, and the application of lithium battery technology makes these forklifts more efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly.

Electric forklifts often use high-performance lithium battery technology, specifically lithium iron phosphate batteries (Li-Pro). This advanced battery technology provides electric forklifts with superior performance and reliability. Li-Pro batteries perform well when handling a variety of applications, including heavy loads and shift operations, increasing the forklift's flexibility and adaptability.


To ensure optimal battery performance and safety, electric forklift manufacturers often offer specially designed lithium-ion

batteries integrated with battery management systems (BMS). This system monitors battery health, temperature, charging and discharging activity and provides real-time status information through a communication system with the forklift. This integration ensures safe battery use and extends battery life through optimal charge and discharge control.


The entire electric forklift system interacts with the battery management system through CAN to achieve comprehensive control and monitoring. Forklift operators can view information such as the battery's discharge level via the standard forklift display, while the BMS provides error codes when a problem is detected. In the worst-case scenario, the battery can automatically shut down the forklift, ensuring safe operation.


Overall, the combination of electric forklifts and high-performance lithium battery technology not only improves the efficiency of logistics and warehousing operations, but also provides users with reliable and environmentally friendly solutions. This integration enables forklifts to achieve a faster return on investment and create higher value for users.

A significant advantage of HYDER electric forklifts using lithium-ion battery technology is that they are designed with ease of use in mind, especially when it comes to charging. Lithium-ion batteries have flexible charging methods, simply plug them into a power source and even a brief few minutes are enough to charge. The opportunistic charging feature allows lithium-ion batteries to be charged at any time of the day by simply plugging the charger into the battery.


For electric forklifts, this means that breaks can be used to recharge the lithium-ion batteries during a normal work shift, allowing for continuous operation 24/7. For example, the lithium batteries on Cat forklifts support fast charging (1C charging) and can be fully charged in one hour. Additionally, thanks to the CAN integration with the charger, any lithium-ion charger that meets the specifications can be used as long as its voltage is the same as or higher than the battery voltage. The charger can automatically adapt to the battery, provide the correct voltage and current, and achieve intelligent charging management.


Therefore, electric forklifts combined with lithium-ion battery technology not only provide efficient working performance, but also bring great convenience in charging. This integration makes forklift operations more flexible and can be charged whenever and wherever needed, maximizing productivity and availability.

Li-Pro forklift batteries provided by electric forklift manufacturers have demonstrated compelling superior performance and long life in the electric forklift industry. This modern lithium-ion battery technology focuses on ease of use and offers significant advantages when it comes to charging. Li-Pro batteries use high-performance lithium iron phosphate batteries to enable electric forklifts to cope with various harsh working environments and requirements.


These high-performance Li-Pro lithium-ion batteries have a lifespan of approximately 5,000 capacity cycles, compared to approximately 1,500 charge cycles for traditional lead-acid batteries. This means that one Li-Pro battery has a lifespan equivalent to three to four traditional lead-acid batteries. This not only reduces the frequency of battery replacement, but also reduces maintenance and operating costs.


Because Li-Pro batteries are not sensitive to charging and can be recharged at any time, they can be recharged during normal breaks during a shift, allowing for 24/7 continuous operation. The charging process is more intelligent. You can use any lithium-ion charger that meets the specifications. The charger will automatically adapt to the battery and provide the correct voltage and current. This is a very smart design.


Compared with traditional batteries, the service life of Li-Pro batteries is not affected by how they are used and maintained, they are easier to maintain, and they are less susceptible to problems such as water leakage, improper cleaning and improper charging. Therefore, electric forklifts using Li-Pro lithium-ion batteries not only perform well in performance, but also create higher value for users in terms of lifespan, maintenance and ease of use.

Lithium-ion batteries demonstrate significant advantages in providing a constant high power supply, allowing electric forklifts to maintain consistent performance throughout the discharge process. Electric forklifts powered by lithium-ion batteries operate with the same efficient performance regardless of state of charge (SOC) level. This provides a high degree of reliability and consistency for daily material handling activities.


Typically, electric forklifts powered by lithium-ion batteries only require about one hour of charging per shift to keep running. Compared with traditional lead-acid batteries, which require 7-10 hours of charging, this significantly shortens the charging time and improves the usability of the forklift. Moreover, charging can occur at any point in time and at a convenient location, providing operators with greater flexibility.


The intelligent built-in battery management system (BMS) further enhances the manageability of lithium-ion batteries. BMS will issue a warning when the charging level decreases to remind the driver to charge in time. By comparison, traditional lead-acid batteries can take an uninterrupted 7-10 hours during the charging process, and for shift operations, a battery replacement system may be the only solution. This will involve additional investment, space requirements and frequent battery replacement, increasing management and operational complexity.


Overall, lithium-ion batteries for forklifts are an excellent investment in terms of long-term cost effectiveness. Their efficient, reliable, flexible performance and relatively short charging times make lithium-ion batteries ideal for modern electric forklifts.


The low maintenance requirements of lithium-ion batteries are another significant advantage, which not only reduces labor costs but also increases production efficiency. Compared with lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries do not require a series of tedious maintenance work, including watering, keeping clean, rinsing plates, etc.


Traditional lead-acid batteries require regular watering, replenishing the battery level with distilled water to prevent damage to the battery, and keeping them clean to limit current leakage. These maintenance tasks usually need to be performed on a weekly basis and are quite labor-intensive. If not properly maintained, the life of a lead-acid battery can be significantly shortened.

Lithium-ion batteries are a more convenient option. Lithium-ion batteries require virtually no routine maintenance, other than regularly checking cables and connectors and wiping away dust. There is no liquid to add and no need for frequent cleaning and rinsing. The advanced built-in battery management system (BMS) ensures automatic cell balancing when charged to 100%, making it almost unnoticeable in normal applications.


This low maintenance requirement not only simplifies forklift operations but also reduces the time and labor required for maintenance. This provides companies with higher productivity and availability, reducing life cycle costs.

Lithium-ion batteries save time and money and are more energy efficient. They pack a huge amount of power into a small space and provide sustained performance over long runs. Lead-acid batteries are heavy and bulky, although they are excellent at providing the electrical current needed to carry out the tasks that electric forklifts perform. Lead-acid batteries have higher energy costs because they require regular overcharging during the deflation phase to stay healthy. Since there is no outgassing process, heat losses are very low, and together with smart charging technology, lithium-ion batteries draw 30% less from the grid while storing the same amount of useful energy in the battery. This energy efficiency not only saves money, but it also saves our environment.


The explosive H2 gas produced by lead-acid batteries when charging is indeed an important safety issue. When a lead-acid battery is charged, the electrolyzed water decomposes into hydrogen and oxygen, and hydrogen is flammable. To ensure safety, a number of precautions must be taken in the charging room, including air evacuation devices, eyewash stations, gloves, eye protection, and fire extinguishers. This increases the cost of charging facilities while also requiring specialized space and equipment to ensure operator and environmental safety.


In contrast, lithium-ion batteries do not produce large amounts of hydrogen during charging, so there is no explosive safety risk. This makes lithium-ion batteries more suitable for general working environments, without the need for special charging rooms and expensive safety equipment. Because the charging process of lithium-ion batteries is safer, they can be more easily integrated into a variety of applications, reducing the need for special charging conditions.


In addition to safety, the charging process of lithium-ion batteries is also generally more efficient and does not require lengthy charging times, thus increasing the availability and productivity of electric forklifts. Taking these aspects into consideration, lithium-ion batteries provide a more convenient and economical solution in practical applications.

Currently, lead-acid batteries need to be considered a commodity because their lifespan is typically much shorter than that of a forklift. For Li-Pro lithium-ion batteries, it's a different story. They have a lower total cost of ownership because they last longer, but also because of other factors such as: less energy spent on charging; less labor (workers don't need to replace batteries); time and labor spent on maintenance less (e.g. watering lead-acid batteries) and overall less energy wasted because, as we've already mentioned, lithium-ion batteries consume up to 30% less energy from the grid. The ROI is usually very fast, usually 2-4 years, depending on the application. Clean batteries and an improved working environment are also an added benefit.


Because lithium-ion batteries typically require large chargers for fast charging, power supplies can present challenges, especially when charging multiple forklifts at the same time.


The role of the load management system is to intelligently control the charger to ensure that the charging process is efficient and stable while avoiding exceeding the available power of the grid. Such systems typically monitor the state of charge of each battery and provide more power to cells with a lower state of charge. This intelligent method of distributing power helps keep forklifts running continuously while minimizing costs to the grid.


Through the load management system, the grid's power distribution is more balanced, preventing current consumption from exceeding the available power. This not only ensures continuous operation of the production line, but also helps minimize energy costs. This is particularly important for companies adopting electric forklifts on a large scale, especially when multiple forklifts need to be charged simultaneously.


Overall, load management systems are a key tool in making lithium-ion battery applications more flexible and sustainable, helping to solve power supply challenges and improve energy efficiency.


Lithium-ion forklift batteries require less handling and therefore may be a safer choice because they are very stable. The battery is completely sealed, so there are no issues with corrosion, sulfation, acid spills or contamination, which is also good for the environment. The battery is smart, meaning it is constantly controlled by the BMS to ensure safe operation and will shut down the forklift if anything goes wrong.


Therefore, it is easy to see that there are many advantages to using lithium-ion batteries in electric forklifts. However, there are a few disadvantages worth noting when considering lithium-ion batteries. The initial investment in high-performance Li-Pro batteries is greater compared to traditional batteries, however, if proper ROI calculations are in hand, the total cost of operations (TCO) proves to be lower in most cases.


The main challenge we faced was providing adequate power supply to the lithium-ion batteries because the chargers are relatively large. In order to reduce driving distance and time consumption, the charger is best placed close to where the operator rests.


Finally, most lead-acid batteries are recycled and have value when they reach the end of their useful life. Recycling of lithium-ion batteries is more difficult and expensive, however, lithium-ion batteries have a long service life and when they are no longer suitable for forklift applications, they can be reused in stationary applications, meaning the impact on the environment is low.


All lithium-ion batteries provided by forklift manufacturers and warehouse equipment can be easily reused and recycled after forklift application at no additional cost.

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