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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How To Prepare Your Forklift Batteries for Winter

How To Prepare Your Forklift Batteries for Winter

If you live or work in an area where harsh winters come every year, then you must ensure that the weather doesn’t destroy your forklift batteries. Cold weather causes numerous problems for forklift batteries, including shortening the battery’s life span and reducing its capacity to charge.

Thankfully, you can prevent this from happening by following the proper techniques to winterize your batteries. Here is your guide on how to prepare your forklift batteries for winter.

Understand the Consequences of Cold Weather

When the weather gets cold, batteries lose their responsiveness even when you use them indoors because warehouses often don’t receive adequate heating. When the battery can’t produce enough electricity due to the winter, the battery won’t start, rendering the machine inoperable.

Use Your Forklift Regularly

The most effective solution for preventing your battery against damage during the winter is to keep it warm. Although heaters can keep your battery at an optimal temperature during the off-season, you can also drive your forklift around every so often to ensure that the battery stays warm every day.

Store Your Forklift and Battery Properly

You can save money on replacements by properly storing your forklift and battery. Always store your battery indoors to prevent it from freezing. In addition, make sure to clean the terminals and cables for the battery before sealing them tight and putting them in storage. When damage is inevitable, you can always browse through forklift truck batteries for sale.

Although you might store your truck outside, try to keep it in a dry area to prevent moisture from building up, and never leave the battery outdoors. Also, be sure to use a load tester before putting your battery into a forklift so that it doesn’t cause problems later on.

Overall, proper forklift battery maintenance is a crucial step toward saving money on repairs and ensuring safety in your warehouse. Now that you know how to prepare your forklift batteries for winter, you can ensure that operations run smoothly throughout the entire season.

What To Know About Forklift Battery Storage

What To Know About Forklift Battery Storage

Whether your business is in its off-season or you just don’t need a forklift for your current operations, you must ensure you store your forklift correctly. Storing the battery requires more knowledge than simply parking a forklift into its designated area.

Your forklift should be fine wherever you leave it, but the battery needs special care in order for you to store it correctly. With that in mind, here is what to know about forklift battery storage.

Charge Your Battery Fully Before Storing It

You might not remember when your forklift battery was last charged if you use long-term battery storage. As such, you should charge it to full capacity before storing it. A full charge before storage will prevent sulphation from occurring, which leads to expensive repairs.

Store the Battery in a Dry Location

Wherever you store the battery, it must be somewhere that’s dry and free of moisture to prevent damage. Due to this risk, always keep your battery indoors, and make sure it doesn’t freeze in your chosen storage location. This will ensure it maintains a high-performance capacity when you use it in the future.

Disconnect Your Battery From the Forklift Truck Before Storage

If your battery is still connected to your truck when you store it, the truck will discharge your battery even when it’s turned off. This occurs because of parasitic load, which completely empties your battery over time. Therefore, store your battery separately from your truck. Disconnect it when you aren’t using the forklift if it must remain mounted.

For Longer Storage, Refresh Charge Your Battery Once a Month

When you’re planning on storing your battery for longer than usual, make sure that it still works by giving it a refresh charge once per month. This will ensure you have a full battery the next time you need to use your forklift.

Disconnect your battery if you store it in a charger rack. Some chargers are programmable for automatic refresh charges, but make sure yours has this feature before leaving your battery in storage.

Overall, proper storage ensures that you won’t need to look for electric forklift batteries for sale every month. Now that you know what to know about forklift battery storage, you should be well-equipped to succeed in this endeavor.

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.

When To Repair vs. Replace a Forklift Battery

When To Repair vs. Replace a Forklift Battery

During a tough day at work, the last thing you want is for your forklift to stop working. However, if your forklift won’t turn on or runs for less than eight hours per charge, you need to decide whether to repair or replace the battery.

You can restore a forklift battery if it’s newer, but anything five years or older might need a replacement. Here is how to know when to repair vs. replace a forklift battery.

Check for Low Voltage Output

When your forklift battery is giving you problems, it’s time to break out the voltmeter. Take a look at each of the battery’s cells and make sure they are emitting proper voltage.

Your reading will be the most accurate when the battery is under load, and all you have to do is tile the mast against the stop. Each cell that fails or significantly worsens under load needs to be resealed or replaced.

Otherwise, if the entire battery is failing, it’s best to replace the whole thing. However, this is the most expensive route to take, and it might not address underlying problems.

Look at the Connectors and Cables

Observe the battery cables and connectors if your forklift fails to start up immediately. It’s possible that something came loose on the job that you need to plug back in, or someone wore out the cable.

Whatever the case may be, the easiest fix for battery problems is to connect the cables properly. If there is a loose cable, try tightening it, then restart the machine.

Be sure to keep an eye out for any signs of corrosion at the cable’s point of contact. Then, clean the battery and contact points before connecting the cables. If the connector still won’t fit after exhausting your options, it’s time to start looking at new forklift batteries.

Use a Hydrometer To Monitor Specific Gravity

After trying everything else, look at the battery’s specific gravity and see if it’s too low. Each cell should have a visible electrolyte. Then, make sure someone has fully charged the battery since its last watering before you test it with the hydrometer. A typical cell should read anywhere between 1.15 to 1.29, and if it’s outside that range, you need to replace the battery.

Overall, the battery is the most integral component of your forklift, so you don’t want to damage it. Now that you know when to repair vs. replace a forklift battery, you can make the right decision the next time your forklift starts acting up.

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.