Advice on industrial battery care during the COVID-19 crisis from Hoppecke

07 April 2020

Hoppecke outlines best practice for batteries where electric trucks are standing down during the COVID-19 pandemic
Hoppecke outlines best practice for batteries where electric trucks are standing down during the COVID-19 pandemic

In essential supply chains, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered demand on an unprecedented scale. Not all businesses are ramping up productivity however, and where industrial battery-powered equipment, such as electric forklifts, is likely to be idle for prolonged periods, appropriate care is vital to keep batteries in peak condition.

In certain sectors, such as construction, some sites have closed – so trucks are likely to stand idle for several weeks. In these circumstances, following the correct procedures will prevent issues further down the line that could prove time-consuming and costly to rectify.

Stuart Browne, Operations Director – Sales & Service at Hoppecke UK, says: "Businesses that have had to shut down or curtail their materials handling operation for the foreseeable future have been asking us for advice because, understandably, once they are able to get up and running again, they want to do so as quickly as possible.

"The major risk during a period of inactivity is that batteries left in a discharged or semi-discharged condition will, eventually, suffer from sulphation of the plates, which could reduce capacity or take considerable time and cost to recover."

To avoid problems and maintain battery condition while electric forklifts are standing down, Hoppecke recommends the following steps:
•    Make sure that batteries, including any spares that are in use, are fully charged
•    Once charged, top up batteries with deionised or distilled water to the correct level
•    If a battery is left on a truck, and not connected to a charger, disconnect the forklift DC plug from the truck
•    Batteries connected to chargers can be left on charge – it is not necessary to switch off chargers once the charge is complete
•    Ensure the mains electricity supply to chargers is maintained
•    Any truck with a fully charged battery must not be used
•    Any auxiliary equipment connected to the battery or truck must be switched off or disconnected – remove the plug to stop the battery from discharging and avoid sulphation
•    If a battery is not left on a truck or connected to a charger, it should be reconnected and undergo a refreshing charge every 3 months
•    The electrolyte level of all batteries, including those which have had a refresh charge, should be checked after 3 months

Browne adds: "Paying close attention to the batteries in trucks that are standing down until the COVID-19 crisis passes is really important. If in doubt, ask for advice, because getting it wrong could impact business continuity, due to avoidable equipment downtime and expense."

About Hoppecke
Hoppecke Industrial Batteries is the leading specialist for industrial battery systems and at the same time the largest battery manufacturer in European ownership. Hoppecke offers to its customers around the world concepts for efficient and reliable power supply for every industrial application. A leading exponent of environmental care for more than 90 years, Hoppecke offers solutions for a variety of industries including motive power, reserve power for IT/telecoms, power stations, solar energy and UPS, special power for rail and underground.

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