There are two main types of batteries used in electric forklifts: lead acid and lithium-ion. Both have their advantages and disadvantages depending on the needs of the application, and they also have different safety requirements.
LEAD ACID BATTERY SAFETY TIPS
Lead acid batteries are the most common type of batteries used in electric forklifts. They are affordable, durable, and reliable. However, lead acid batteries also have specific handling and storage requirements. When working with lead acid forklift batteries, users and those servicing trucks should:
· Avoid tipping – Keep containers closed when not in use, with vent caps on, and terminals covered.
· Wear protective clothing and equipment – This includes gloves, face shield, apron, and boots.
· Keep lead acid batteries away from sparks, flames, or heat sources – This includes avoiding smoking or using electrical devices near lead acid batteries.
· Provide ventilation – The charging area should have adequate ventilation and air circulation.
· Charge correctly – Do not overcharge or undercharge lead acid batteries, as this can reduce their lifespan and performance. Use the appropriate charger and settings for your battery type and check the water level and specific gravity of your battery regularly.
· Switch off – Before detaching any circuit connection, you should check that power to the charger is off.
· Dispose of lead acid batteries properly – Follow the local regulations and guidelines for recycling or disposing of your batteries.
LITHIUM-ION BATTERY SAFETY TIPS
Lithium-ion batteries are the latest generation of batteries used in electric forklifts. They also have some safety considerations.
· Don’t alter packaging – Do not open or tamper with the original packaging of the batteries, as this can expose the electrodes and electrolytes to air and moisture, which can cause a short circuit or fire.
· Stay protected – Always wear a face shield and fire protection PPE (personal protective equipment) such as gloves, apron, and boots when handling the batteries.
· Store correctly – Store the batteries in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area, away from heat sources, direct sunlight, or flammable materials. The storage area temperature should be below 86°F (30°C), as higher temperatures can degrade the battery performance and safety.
· Dispose of lithium-ion batteries properly – Follow the local regulations and guidelines for recycling or disposing of your batteries.
HOW TO RESPOND IN CASE OF AN INCIDENT
With either battery type, it is important to know how to respond in case of an incident – If eye contact occurs, flush eyes with water for 15 minutes, occasionally lifting the upper and lower eyelids. If skin contact occurs, remove contaminated clothing and rinse skin for 15 minutes. If ingestion occurs, drink two or more glasses of milk or water. Induce vomiting if possible, but only if the person is conscious and alert. If inhalation occurs, move to fresh air immediately. Use oxygen if available. In all of these circumstances, get medical aid immediately.
WHY CHOOSE LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES?
Lithium-ion batteries require less maintenance and handling than lead acid batteries while offering many performance benefits. They have higher energy efficiency, faster charging speed, longer run time, lower weight, and longer service life. They also have no memory effect or self-discharge issues. They may offer benefits such as ‘opportunity charging’ – enabling them to be powered up fast during breaks, helping support uptime.
All these benefits make lithium-ion batteries a suitable power option for electric forklifts in many applications, with the potential to help operations to improve your productivity, and reduce your operating costs, while operating without tailpipe emissions.
LITHIUM-ION POWERED ELECTRIC FORKLIFT TRUCKS FROM HYSTER
One efficient, reliable and durable electric forklift with lithium-ion battery technology available now is the Hyster J2.5-3.0XNL series. This series of 4-wheel electric forklifts offers capacities up to 3.0 tonnes and features an integrated lithium-ion battery. It provides an ergonomic lift truck solution well suited for both indoor and outdoor applications that demand high efficiency, charging flexibility, and low maintenance.