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How to extend the service life of forklift lithium batteries

655 Published by BSLBATT Mar 21,2024

Lithium batteries for forklifts are becoming increasingly popular. Some believe this is due to changing consumer preferences, such as warehouse managers who are concerned with reducing warehouse operating costs and forklift dealers who are seeking to reduce fossil fuel consumption. How long does a lithium battery last in a forklift? What is the value of it?

With the advancement of technology, it is understandable that more and more people will have questions about forklift lithium batteries. These amazing lithium battery-equipped forklifts are explained in detail below by BSL Battery – Factory

ELECTRIC FORKLIFTS' GROWING IMPORTANCE

As consumers seek ways to reduce fossil fuel emissions, electric forklifts are becoming more important. According to Interact Analysis, electric forklift sales will surpass 3 million this year. As a result of the transformation of countless warehouse managers and forklift dealership companies to electric forklift-friendly infrastructure, this is an unprecedented achievement for the industry.

 

Understanding forklift lithium batteries and battery management systems will quickly become part of your daily routine if you are a warehouse manager or a leasing company.

The advantages of lithium batteries include their high energy density, long life, maintenance-free nature, extremely safe investment, and fast charging. However, let’s take a closer look.

PROS AND CONS OF LITHIUM ION VS LEAD ACID

People often compare lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries when it comes to energy storage. Despite their age, lead-acid batteries remain affordable and versatile. How about lithium-ion batteries? Their advantages are many, as they are the new kids on the block.

A lithium-ion battery charges faster, lasts longer, and has a higher energy density than a lead-acid battery. As well as being more environmentally friendly, they do not contain harmful lead and can be recycled. However, they are more expensive up front. Considering their benefits and longer lifespan, they are a wise investment.

TOP INDUSTRIAL BATTERY MANUFACTURERS CHOOSE LITHIUM BATTERIES

Lithium batteries are increasingly being used by industrial battery manufacturers. This is for a good reason. Warehouse managers can recharge lithium batteries quickly because they are more efficient, more reliable, and last longer. Additionally, they require less maintenance and are safer to use. Overall, they deliver excellent performance.

1. Maintaining and operating the equipment properly

To maximize their service life, lithium forklift batteries should be handled carefully. Physical stress, such as dropping or knocking the battery, and harsh environments, such as extreme temperatures or moisture, should be avoided. In industries such as aviation ground support, refrigeration and manufacturing, where equipment may be used in harsh conditions, proper handling and storage of batteries can greatly extend their service life.

2. Charging best practices

When used properly, forklift lithium batteries have unique charging characteristics that can significantly extend their service life. Unlike other battery types, they do not need to be fully discharged before charging. Therefore, they can be “opportunistically charged” during breaks or downtime without compromising battery life. The availability of equipment around the clock is particularly important for industries such as logistics and warehousing.

3. Controlling the temperature

Forklift lithium batteries can be damaged by extreme temperatures. For best performance, keep them at room temperature whenever possible. The performance and longevity of lithium batteries can be greatly improved in industries such as refrigeration or certain manufacturing operations, where equipment may be exposed to extreme temperatures.

4. Monitor the rate of self-discharge

Be sure to store your forklift lithium batteries properly if you won’t be using them for a while. Store them in a cool, dry place and, ideally, partially charged. Fortunately, lithium-ion batteries have a low and stable self-discharge rate. First, the battery will be discharged by 5% over 24 hours, then by 1% to 2% per month thereafter. It is possible for the lithium-ion battery’s self-discharge rate to increase by up to 3% if it has a safety protection circuit.

Forklift lithium-ion batteries should not be completely drained to 0% or below 20%, roughly below their 2.50 volt/cell state. By using a battery management system (BMS), you can monitor your battery’s state of charge, temperature, and other factors. Before storing the battery, charge it if it is low.

5. Maintain the correct charge/discharge during use

Lithium-ion batteries can be severely stressed by extreme overcharging and deep discharge cycles. Lithium dendrites (whiskers) form on the negative electrode when overcharged. Lithium-ion batteries can suffer serious damage from these whiskers because they are highly explosive.

To prevent whiskers, BSLBATT custom forklift lithium battery packs can be ordered with an equalizer to balance the different module capacities. The battery pack’s state of charge is improved to prevent overcharging of cells with higher capacity than others. The weakest batteries will be protected from being overcharged, and the lowest capacity batteries will not be discharged when they are almost empty.

If you want to extend battery life, consider partial charging to 80% state of charge (SoC) rather than 100% charging. Be sure to turn off the device immediately after the lithium battery reaches 100% charge. Charge the battery in a cooler room as well. The temperature in the room ranges from 50°F to 95°F.

The application should operate between 32° Fahrenheit and 95° Fahrenheit depending on the lift truck equipment, operation, and ventilation available. Batteries can discharge more quickly at higher temperatures. You may need to adjust the operation of your device if your device is hot and the lithium-ion battery is discharging faster than usual.

6. The importance of a strong business management system

The battery management system (BMS) is critical to the efficient operation and long service life of industrial forklift lithium batteries. At its core, a BMS controls power output and monitors battery health, overseeing functions that directly affect performance and safety. The battery controller regulates and optimizes the charging and discharging process, balances the performance of each battery, and prevents overcharging or deep discharge, which can result in capacity loss or even safety hazards. Additionally, the BMS continuously monitors and maintains a suitable temperature range inside the battery pack to prevent thermal runaway.

When considering the consequences of buying a lithium forklift battery pack equipped with an off-the-shelf BMS with limited functionality, which cheap battery brands exploit to cut corners, the importance of a reliable, state-of-the-art multi-function BMS becomes apparent. It lacks the sophistication to address specific battery chemistries and device applications. Battery performance, capacity, and lifespan may be reduced when a substandard BMS is used with a battery. Furthermore, these rudimentary BMSs may have difficulty detecting and managing potential issues, increasing the likelihood of failure.

The battery management system stands between seamless battery performance and potential setbacks. Its complex coordination of charging, discharging, communication, and temperature control not only ensures efficient operation but also prevents premature wear and safety hazards.

7. Battery Chemistry and Engineering: Unleashing the Potential

A lithium battery’s chemical composition determines its cycle life and its upper limit. Lithium iron phosphate (LFP) and lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC), along with their traditional lead-acid counterparts, exhibit this chemistry-dependent variability in battery cycle life.

The life expectancy of a conventional flooded lead-acid battery is approximately 1,500 cycles before it loses capacity and can no longer hold a charge. The lifespan of LFP and NMC batteries is 3000 to 7000 cycles. LFP cells have a higher lifespan and a higher energy density than NMC cells.

However, cycle life is not solely determined by battery chemistry. The importance of engineering design cannot be overstated. Even though NMC cells exhibit higher lifetime and energy density under laboratory conditions, pack LFP cells outperform NMC cells at the pack level. Extreme temperatures, uneven cell aging, and stress-induced degradation can be mitigated through battery design, resulting in longer battery life. In addition, a well-designed battery system with efficient current distribution, strong thermal management, and optimal electrode configuration will extend its warranty cycle life.

https://www.lithium-battery-factory.com/material-handling-2/

8. Design and engineering of forklift battery packs

Industrial forklift lithium batteries are complex pieces of equipment, and they require expert support at every stage. The pre-delivery inspection (PDI) of the battery ensures seamless integration with the charger and host vehicle. An optimal setup minimizes potential failures and ensures optimal performance. Our partnership with SPE, Fronius and Delta-Q will take our relationships with OEMs to new heights as we sit alongside reputable companies like SPE, Fronius, and Delta-Q.”

Battery manufacturers invest in training programs for their partners because trained technicians can usually resolve most battery performance issues within minutes. Spending a few hours on training can potentially save days of downtime and increase equipment utilization. We offer free two-week product training for forklift lithium batteries through BSL’s training courseware and videos.

Facilities and warehouse managers can improve efficiency and minimize operational disruptions by gaining real-time visibility into battery health and performance metrics. Battery specifications are the foundation of this data-centric paradigm. All battery components can be automatically recorded and updated so that technicians can diagnose and resolve any battery charging or performance issues.

Narrow Aisle Forklifts

Bottom line

All in all, the life of lithium batteries is the result of the simultaneous action of multiple factors. A robust battery management system (BMS) is critical to ensuring optimal battery performance and avoiding premature failure. While battery chemistry limits cycle life, engineering design plays an important role in defining a battery’s guaranteed service life. Comprehensive product lifecycle infrastructure, including professional support, scheduled services, data collection and access, extends battery life and helps deliver sustainable and efficient power. By understanding and addressing these critical factors, we can unlock the full potential of lithium batteries and further improve energy storage efficiency.

So, what will be the lifespan of forklift lithium batteries in the future? This is a top concern for industry experts like BSL Battery – Industrial, which specializes in providing high-quality lithium forklift batteries to the material handling industry. If you would like to discuss the future of lithium forklift batteries with a family owned and operated manufacturer, call +86-752-2819469 today!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Yi

As chief engineer for our company since 2012, he has won “Hefei gold worker” and another honorary title. A lithium iron phosphate battery with a lead type low temperature water system won the fifth award of “Excellent” technology innovation achievements in Hefei as the fifth worker. The development of ternary aluminum shells, lithium iron phosphate aluminum shells, and lithium iron phosphate plastic shells.

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