There are three types of forklift battery charging methods used today: Conventional Charging, Opportunity Charging and Fast Charging. Choosing the right method for your application can be complicated.
By conducting a power study, you can learn important information about forklift utilization, energy consumption and charging opportunities to help determine if one charging method, or perhaps a combination of methods, is right for you.
Let’s take a look at the most common charging method, Conventional Charging. This method involves the complete recharging of a battery after it has been partially used or fully discharged during normal operations. It can be utilized in applications that run single or multiple shifts. When a company is running multiple shifts, it is recommended to have multiple batteries to allow forklifts to use fully charged batteries while allowing depleted batteries the ability to charge and cool. Conventional Charging is preferred whenever a company has the ability to charge a battery for several hours after a shift.
The start rate for conventional charging delivers 16 to 20 amps/100 amp hour. This slower charge rate, in combination with a required weekly equalize charge to balance individual cell voltage values, generally results in a longer overall battery life due to its daily 100 percent State of Charge
This style of charging generally follows the “8-8-8 rule,” which means that the battery will discharge over eight hours, will recharge over eight hours and should be cooled for eight hours once charged.
Generally speaking, applications running one shift that can complete the work on a single battery charge and allow time for a full recharge and a cooling period should consider Conventional Charging.