Warehouses across the country are running multiple shifts in a day, which can be very hard on equipment like forklifts and poses a problem when you need to factor in time to charge and let them cool down into a busy operation. Warehouses are turning to opportunity charging to allow them to work more efficiently. The improvement of lithium-ion battery technology has allowed opportunity charging to become a more common practice.
Opportunity charging a forklift is when an operator takes advantage of any downtime to charge a forklift battery. That means forklifts get plugged into chargers when operators are on breaks, lunch, or changing shifts. Once an operator is ready to get back to work, the forklift will have enough charge to work until there is another opportunity to charge.
Opportunity charging can be done with either a lead-acid battery or a lithium-ion battery. When utilizing opportunity charging with a lead-acid battery, you can experience downsides like reduced battery life and more maintenance requirements. These downsides are why many facilities are transitioning to lithium-ion batteries. Unlike lead-acid, the lifespan of a lithium battery can be extended when opportunity charging.
You will need a specific charging station that allows for opportunity charging. You will not be able to use a standard lead-acid battery charger when opportunity charging, so an initial investment will need to be considered before making this transition.
You will need a training period to help get your operators trained to plug the forklift into the charger during every possible opportunity to ensure they have enough charge to operate not just during their but also the next shift.
When properly implemented, opportunity charging will reduce downtime. If you want to bring opportunity charging to your facility, contact us to set up an appointment with an expert.