How Self-Driving Forklifts Are Changing Warehouses

How Self-Driving Forklifts Are Changing Warehouses

Global production is constantly rising to keep up with the growing demand for everyday products. People use forklifts to organize this inventory because they reduce the manual labor required to move this stock.

However, with technology rapidly advancing, self-driving and autonomous forklifts are on the rise. Here’s your guide on how self-driving forklifts are changing warehouses.

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Reasons Why Lithium-Ion Batteries Make Your Forklift Safer

Reasons Why Lithium-Ion Batteries Make Your Forklift Safer

Whether you are a forklift operator or manage a warehouse, maintaining a safe environment is always the most important duty. Though workplace accidents involving forklifts are extremely common, they are still preventable.

Forklifts are getting safer to operate every year, and lithium-ion batteries are one of the reasons why this is happening. Here are a few of the reasons why lithium-ion batteries make your forklift safer.

Overheating Is Unlikely

Overcharging is one of the most significant hazards to using a lead-acid forklift battery. If this happens, the electrolyte mixture inside overheats, which causes oxygen and hydrogen gas to build up and significantly increase internal pressure.

Lead-acid batteries have venting capabilities to reduce pressure, but the battery will explode if it can’t do its job. Lithium-ion batteries don’t require any special room for charging because you don’t have to vent them.

In addition to reducing the risk of a battery explosion, lithium-ion batteries possess a battery management system to account for other potential risk factors. This system monitors the battery’s temperature so that it stays within a safe operating range at all times.

You Don’t Need a Separate Charging Station

Forklift operators must watch lead-acid batteries closely to ensure their emissions don’t cause any safety hazards. Consequently, if you need to charge a lead-acid battery, you have to do it in ideal conditions so that the gases can dissipate thoroughly.

Having a separate room for ideal ventilation is unnecessary for lithium-ion batteries, which means fewer hassles for management and employees alike. In addition, lithium-ion batteries emit no harmful gases while they charge, so you can charge them wherever you like. You can even charge a lithium-ion battery directly inside a forklift, saving time and increasing overall workplace efficiency in the process.

Lithium-Ion Batteries Are Easier To Handle

When forklift batteries are too heavy, the risk of an accident taking place increases from an ergonomic standpoint. Thankfully, lithium-ion batteries are typically much lighter than their lead-acid counterparts.

Not only are lighter batteries safer, but they also cut down on transportation time, which adds to workplace productivity. Nonetheless, if you or a co-worker needs help lifting a battery, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so use teamwork when necessary.

Overall, lithium-ion batteries possess many benefits that are difficult to ignore. Now that you know three reasons why lithium-ion batteries make your forklift safer, consider purchasing one the next time you see any forklift battery sales taking place in your community.

Tell-Tale Signs Your Forklift Needs To Be Serviced

Tell-Tale Signs Your Forklift Needs To Be Serviced

Taking your forklift in to get serviced is a routine part of forklift maintenance. However, even if your forklift is still operational, it might still have problems that needs immediate attention.

There are also maintenance components that OSHA requires you to follow. With this in mind, here are some tell-tale signs your forklift needs to be serviced.

Follow the Requirements for Immediate Servicing That OSHA Mandates

If you notice any of these things happening with your forklift, OSHA requires you to remove it and take it in for servicing. For example, if you notice any defects or safety hazards with your forklift, you must report them and fix the problems right away.

Under no circumstances would they allow you to keep using the vehicle during the workday when you know something is wrong. When your vehicle emits sparks or flames from the exhaust system, this is a dead giveaway that your forklift needs immediate servicing.

If any point of the forklift heats up excessively and doesn’t operate at a normal temperature, it could be a sign of overheating, necessitating its removal. And if your fuel system is leaking, you can’t safely use the vehicle until you correct the leak.

Signs That It’s Time To Service Your Forklift

The best way to avoid costly repairs and accidents on the job is to service your vehicle regularly. But to judge whether it’s time to repair it or not, you need to know how to inspect it. The first sign is when your forks appear bent, cracked or worn out from too much use.

If you damage your forks, it can lead to damaged loads later on. Also, if you’re using refurbished forklift batteries, water them regularly and check for rust and corrosion.

Next, watch out for a mast that fidgets or catches on something when it moves up and down. If you don’t lubricate the mast fittings and surfaces, the repair costs for your hydraulics might prove costly.

This can also lead to permanent damage to your mast if you aren’t careful. In addition, a worn-out or rusted chain could lead to chain failure and damage to other parts of the forklift.

Take Corrective Action As Soon as Possible

Don’t let your forklift degrade to the point of failure. Instead, take it into the shop or repair it yourself as soon as you notice anything out of the ordinary.

You should inspect your forklift daily to keep up with repairs and leaks. Now that you know the tell-tale signs your forklift needs to be serviced, you can make informed decisions about your equipment.

A Guide To the Different Types of Forklift Batteries

A Guide To the Different Types of Forklift Batteries

When you are trying to move large amounts of heavy inventory with little effort, a forklift is the best tool for the job. Although many run on fuel, battery-powered forklifts are better for the environment and allow for more versatility in the workplace.

However, did you know that there are numerous types of forklift batteries? Here is our guide to the different types of forklift batteries.

Flat Plate Batteries

The standard type of battery that comes in most forklifts and pallet jacks is the flat plate battery. This type of battery uses energy that comes from a chemical reaction between lead plates and sulfuric acid. Consequently, you must water your lead battery regularly, or the chemical reaction will degrade the battery and result in premature failure.

Tubular Plate Batteries

As another lead-based battery type, tubular plate batteries boast higher load voltages and longer run times than their flat-platted counterparts. Tubular plate batteries are larger than flat plate ones, and they suffer from more problems than flat plate batteries despite their superior performance. These types of batteries are most suited for environments where power cuts are minimal.

High Amp-Hour Batteries

High amp-hour batteries offer you an advantage if tubular pate batteries are not reliable enough for your working needs. They are beneficial for working environments where a replacement forklift battery may be necessary. These batteries are most suitable for forklifts that need to work for long periods of time uninterrupted.

Waterless Batteries

Any company or organization trying to reduce the cost of labor must consider waterless batteries for their forklifts. Although their name is a little misleading (they do need watering every other month or so), they require significantly less watering than your standard flat plate battery. In addition, since you only need to water the battery infrequently, they are great for simplifying the routine and reducing manpower.

Maintenance-Free Batteries

The most carefree solution to watering your battery is to forgo the process entirely by purchasing maintenance-free batteries. These batteries don’t need any water, making them perfect for clean workplaces such as food storage or pharmaceutical warehouses.

Maintenance-free batteries eliminate threats of gassing or spilling while watering. However, this type of battery often has the shortest warranty.

Overall, there are as many uses for forklift batteries as there are types of batteries. Hopefully, this guide to the different types of forklift batteries will help you decide which purchase to make in the future.

How To Properly Perform a Forklift Pre-Operation Inspection

How To Properly Perform a Forklift Pre-Operation Inspection
OSHA requires daily forklift inspections before each operator’s shift. The responsibility for this inspection rests fully on the operator themselves, and they must report anything unusual about the machine to their supervisor after the review.In addition, the same machine must undergo another inspection if it’s used in multiple shifts. So, without further ado, here’s how to properly perform a forklift pre-operation inspection.

Complete a Thorough Walk-Around Inspection

A comprehensive forklift inspection contains two primary components: the walk-around inspection and the seated inspection. The first thing you should look at is the tires. Take a good look and check for any cuts, air pressure irregularities, or anything else that would impede the tire’s performance.Next, look at the forklift’s belts, chains, and hoses for any signs of excessive wear. For your safety, never put a finger inside the mast, but be on the lookout for leaks, cracks, and pinholes.Following this, ensure there are no leaks in hydraulic fluid levels. Check the battery of an electric forklift or the engine of an IC forklift to prevent a surge. The power source of your forklift is critical, so having reliable forklift battery suppliers and engine mechanics is essential.Now it’s time to look at the backrest, overhead guard, forks, and mast for any cracks or dents. Also, ensure your data plate and warning labels are legible so you and your coworkers are knowledgeable of safety procedures.

Go Through a Seated Inspection Following the Walk-Around

The seated inspection is the next step in completing a comprehensive pre-operation assessment of your forklift. After climbing into your forklift, look at the seat belt, ensure it’s secure and robust, and check the gauges, warning lights, and fuel levels.Always be seated when you turn on the forklift and never start the engine while standing outside it. Equipment such as safety lights need to be working correctly, and if they look good, test the operation of the controls.Honk your horn, lift and lower the forks, and tilt the mast to ensure smooth operations of the controls. Next, drive the forklift around to test the steering, brakes, and parking brake so everything is smooth and reliable.When checking the parking brake, keep the controls in neutral, then step out of the vehicle and check for leaks. If there are any, it could be a sign of a hydraulic issue. Leaking fluid is a slipping hazard and must be avoided.Finally, check if any sparks or flames are coming from the exhaust. If the exhaust is making unusual noises, there’s something wrong with it.

Always Prioritize Safety When Completing Inspections

After thorough walk-around and seated inspections, your pre-operation review is complete. Remember to report any dents, cracks, or broken welds on your forklift to your supervisor. An OSHA complaint is the last thing your organization wants. Now that you know how to properly perform a forklift pre-operation inspection, it’s time to start your shift.

Ways To Make Your Warehouse More Environmentally Friendly

Ways To Make Your Warehouse More Environmentally Friendly

It’s no secret that going green takes lots of planning for businesses. Nonetheless, it’s a noble goal that protects the environment, conserves resources, and can save businesses money in the long run.

With carbon emissions increasing every year, the time is now to implement more environmental practices into the workplace. However, making your warehouse greener doesn’t have to come at the expense of profit and productivity. Here are four ways to make your warehouse more environmentally friendly.

Use Electric Forklifts To Minimize Energy Usage

Instead of using a propane forklift, use an electric forklift in your warehouse. Electric forklifts have numerous advantages compared to their propane counterparts. For instance, they’re more compact and require less maintenance.

Since they don’t rely on gas or diesel, they’re very economical. You can get reconditioned forklift batteries for sale that allow you to save money when it’s time to replace the battery.

Upgrade to High-Efficiency Lighting To Make It Last Longer

One of the simplest environmental decisions you can make for your warehouse is to upgrade your lighting. LED lights cost more than fluorescent lights initially, but you save money over time due to their high quality and sustainable material.

LED lights are helpful for any lighting situation, including high bay lighting. Reduced heat emission, instantaneous reaction time, and a longer lifespan are other advantages LED lights have over fluorescent ones.

Install High Volume, Low Speed (HVLS) Fans To Save On Your Electric Bill

When air distribution is inefficient in your warehouse, your electricity costs increase because your heating, ventilation, and air condition systems have to work harder. Warehouses with higher ceilings deal with this every winter when warm air rises to the top and cold air stays at the bottom where everyone is working.

Inefficient airflow causes your heaters to increase their capacity to keep everyone warm. With an HVLS fan, air gets pushed away from the ceiling to the rest of the warehouse. Since your heaters don’t work as hard, your electricity costs decrease.

Put Solar Panels on The Roof for Clean Energy

Solar panels are the most reliable source of clean energy available today. Their popularity is growing because of their energy-saving abilities, and although their initial price might seem high, your return on investment is significant.

You can choose from monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or thin-film panels. Of course, you need large surface areas to install solar panels, so they work best on a warehouse roof. As long as the roof can support their weight, they can operate on any roof with the proper configuration.

As you can see, there are many ways to make your warehouse more environmentally friendly other than just recycling. Upgrading your equipment leads to a more eco-friendly and productive workplace, so what’s stopping you?

Safety Precautions While Charging Your Forklift Battery

Safety Precautions While Charging Your Forklift Battery

Electrical safety on the job goes deeper than simple common sense. What may seem like an everyday task can quickly turn dangerous without the proper considerations and efforts. Besides basic safety when handling structural wiring components, employees must be aware of standard electric equipment, such as forklifts and their associated components. It’s your job to ensure you take the proper safety precautions while charging your forklift battery. Failure to do so puts fellow workers at risk in the worst-case scenario. And at best, it may ruin the battery and waste company assets.

Utilize the Correct Safety Equipment

When handling electrical equipment, it’s important to don the correct personal protective equipment. The amount of coverage necessary depends on the degree of work you plan to conduct. For handling batteries of any type, hand, arm, and face coverage is the bare minimum. In the case of electric batteries, choose rubber insulating gloves to prevent shock. Rubber insulated sleeves and shoulders effectively ensure accidental contact with the upper arms doesn’t result in injury.

As with anything involving acids, protective face gear is critical. In particular, you should protect your eyes against splashes with safety glasses or something even more robust. Ideally, you should wear a hard hat with an accompanying face shield. Besides this, managers and business owners should ensure they purchase the correct equipment. For example, choose only forklift truck batteries for sale from reputable dealers and refurbishing businesses and select only the corresponding charging equipment.

Be Aware of Conductive and Flammable Materials

Another crucial safety precaution while charging your forklift battery is to mind potentially hazardous elements. As a general rule, you should remove conductive metals from yourself while handling electric batteries. Personal effects, such as jewelry, can lead to accidents while this task is underway. Likewise, keep batteries clear of areas with exposed conductive metallic or flammable components.

A cement or brick space is ideal, so long as the area can maintain a regularly cool temperature. It should also be free of regular exposure to UV rays or excessive direct sunlight. Flame-resistant personal protective gear should be available to accommodate anyone with additional concerns.

Use Battery Charging Best Practices

As noted, using the correct equipment is vital for battery safety. Although some batteries may look alike, there are subtle differences that make different parts not wholly compatible. Always choose the battery that corresponds to the forklifts you use at the business. Likewise, only utilize matching charging equipment with the correct battery.

If multiple battery types are necessary at one location, organizing is key. Separating batteries and their matching equipment into different areas will help ensure confusion and accidents don’t occur. Lastly, forklift batteries make use of water to function correctly. You must restore their water levels with deionized water before using them. However, don’t refill batteries before charging them.

Maintenance Tips to Extend the Life of Your Forklift Battery

Maintenance Tips to Extend the Life of Your Forklift Battery

The forklift is one of the essential tools in the arsenal of warehouse workers. Often what goes wrong with these machines is a fault in the battery. Without a functioning forklift available, work quickly becomes backed up while the crew scrambles to find the solution. By using these maintenance tips to extend the life of your forklift battery, you can rest easy, knowing your forklifts will always be at the ready.

Store the Battery Properly

Believe it or not, batteries are not as durable as they immediately appear. Whether it’s a tiny coin cell battery or a full-sized forklift battery, they all require the same care and consideration. Like many relatively delicate items, it’s important to store the battery in a cool and dark space. Most importantly, batteries in storage should be kept at a relatively moderate temperature. Changes in light, the intrusion of extreme hot or cold weather, and of course, moisture all will negatively affect the lifespan of a batytery6 before it can even be used.

Watch the Water Levels

Forklift batteries are a little more complex than the average variety. Many different types require the manual addition of fluids, namely water. It’s essential that much like a car’s cooling system, these fluids are regularly checked and maintained. The best maintenance tips to extend the life of your forklift battery are those surrounding good upkeep habits. Create a routine to regularly check and top off the water levels in your batteries.

Regularly Clean the Batteries

The same as with any vehicle or heavy machinery, batteries are subject to the hassles of aging. Most notably, aging batteries often begin to show signs of corrosion. Besides being unsightly, the acidic corrosion is not especially safe to leave be. Too much corrosion will cause a permanent degrading of the battery by reducing the power output substantially. What’s more, given enough time, corrosion will cake onto the terminals of a battery. Severely corroded terminals may not spark at all, rendering the battery unusable until forklift battery suppliers properly refurbish it.

Only Use Corresponding Equipment

Another key element to protecting a battery is to ensure only matching equipment is ever used with it. While it might be tempting to grab any available charger, it should be noted using the wrong specifications will cause problems. While chargers might all look alike, few manufacturers have exactly matching components. Besides potentially bending or breaking the battery’s charging or terminals, it can also shorten a battery’s life. The wrong voltage or imbalanced charge due to incorrect plugs may even burn up a battery altogether.

How Long Should a Forklift Battery Last?

How Long Should a Forklift Battery Last?

“How long should a forklift battery last?” is sadly a question that people often only ask once the battery stops working. Without knowing the expectations of your business’s models and how to care for them properly, batteries will seem to die at unpredictable times. To ensure your warehouse always has the power it needs, you should know what your battery can handle and what to do when it finally ceases to function.

The Average Lifespan of Forklift Batteries

Every battery, regardless of the type or make, comes with an expected lifespan. Ultimately, a battery might not last as long as this estimate, or it may last longer, depending on how you handle it and the workload it must deal with regularly. To determine how long a forklift battery should last, first check the information the manufacturer provides. For the most part, the average lifespan of this type of battery is about five years. As noted, though, this period will vary dramatically for operations with heavier or lighter work expectations.

Reviving Batteries With Refurbishing

Once a battery finally dies, it’s not entirely junk from that instant onward. It’s possible to revive batteries through refurbishing techniques. However, forklift batteries differ from the average lead-acid batteries in cars and other large machines.

To bring one back, professionals must carefully balance the water to acid ratio, among other details. But on the other hand, refurbished batteries are just as reliable as new ones. Furthermore, refurbished electric forklift batteries for sale often come at a better bargain and result in less environmental pollution.

Maintaining Batteries for Optimal Lifespans

Treating a battery right will ensure a battery will reach its optimal lifespan, and refurbishing can extend its use even further. Improper care can and will drain your battery more rapidly and cause unnecessary damage. It may also result in premature failure. It’s necessary to store batteries in a cool and dry place.

Avoid overcharging and allow the batteries to drain through use before recharging them naturally. Forklift batteries require you to maintain their water levels. So, it’s beneficial to create a routine around checking and performing this task. Finally, it helps to keep a close watch for leaks and signs of corrosion. Regularly clean and maintain terminals of corrosion to ensure a consistent connection.

Warning Signs Your Forklift Battery Needs To Be Replaced

Warning Signs Your Forklift Battery Needs To Be Replaced

When there is heavy lifting and high places involved around the warehouse, a forklift is a must. As one of the primary tools of logistical work, forklifts need to be kept in good working condition by the company that employs them. One of the most unnecessary disappointments a worker can encounter on the warehouse floor is a malfunctioning forklift. 

Failures with critical equipment can easily set a schedule back hours and lead to incomplete tasks at the end of the day. What’s more, ignoring these warning signs your forklift battery needs to be replaced often leads to surprise expenses or even damage to the forklifts.

Decreased Use Times

One of the earliest signs of battery failure is a forklift that needs more time charging. Every battery should last for the duration that is typically indicated by the type and model. As the battery ages, that usage time window begins to shrink.

A machine that may have lasted an entire eight-hour shift might start needing a boost charge during breaks, lest it stops halfway through the day. If your forklift maintains the same load of work each day but increasingly indicates low battery, chances are it’s time to consider a replacement. For businesses on a budget, refurbished forklift batteries are an affordable and greener option than buying all-new.

Signs of Leaks and Damage

The worst warning signs your forklift battery needs to be replaced are those that point to severe damage. Old batteries can and will fail, sometimes in dramatic ways. The most common clue your battery needs to be replaced immediately is heavy corrosion on the terminals. The presence of this residue can impact the battery’s ability to be sparked.

After this, batteries may leak dangerous acids and will need to be removed and contained quickly. Sadly, any battery that’s reached this level of decay can’t wait any longer. Emergency replacements are rarely convenient, so maintaining a regular schedule to check on battery health is always helpful to any dynamic business.

Dramatic Power Reduction

Another strong indicator of battery failure is a power reduction. After using a forklift for a few days to a week, an entire team will quickly become accustomed to the speed and strength of each machine. Even those working alongside the forklift will easily be able to spot changes in performance. The keenest of the team may even hear down-pitching of the forklift’s normal operating sounds.

A battery beginning to show its age and a loose charge will dramatically affect how a forklift sounds and operates. The machine will move noticeably slower and will struggle to lift loads it used to handle with ease.