Electric forklifts have lower operating costs than forklifts with internal combustion engines. They’re also more energy efficient, which makes them eco-friendlier. Create a properly functioning charging area and keep workers safe with these tips for setting up a forklift battery charging station.
Meet OSHA Requirements
OSHA outlines safety standards for creating a lead-acid battery charging station because the charging process can create hazards. The risks associated with charging are exposure to corrosive chemicals, electrolyte boil-over, mismatched voltage, electric shock, excessive heating, and fumes. Refer to OSHA standard 1910.178(g) to create a safe charging station.
The charging station will need facilities for flushing and neutralizing spilled electrolyte and for fire protection. The flooring material should resist acid damage. Place bollards or barriers around chargers to protect them from being damaged by lift trucks. The room needs adequate ventilation for dispersing fumes from gassing batteries.
Train employees on proper lift truck management, how to use battery-handling equipment, and safety precautions to follow. Post signs throughout the space reminding personnel of hazards and precautions.
Ensure Adequate Space and Electrical Service
The next tip for setting up a forklift battery charging station is to choose an area that has adequate electrical service and space. Calculate power requirements based on your lift trucks’ needs and ventilation and cooling equipment.
Consider the size and number of lift trucks that will enter the charging station and the floor space you need for battery storage. You can invest in a vertical storage system to save floor space. Don’t forget to leave enough square footage for future growth, which will require more batteries and more electric lift trucks.
Install Chargers and Battery Changing Equipment
Mount all four corners of each charger on a shelf. If you are stacking the chargers, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure adequate ventilation.
The DC cable leads should connect to the battery without going over the manufacturer’s recommended cable lead length. Personnel should have easy access to chargers for maintenance.
Depending on your lift trucks, you’ll need equipment for overhead or side extraction. Overhead battery extractors use a fork attachment and lifting beam that lifts batteries vertically from the truck.
For a smaller fleet with just one or two trucks, you can use a portable gantry crane. For larger fleets, a track-mounted crane works better.
Side extraction equipment usually uses a vacuum or magnetic arm to remove the battery. Equipment such as walkie transfer carriages and battery transfer carriages keep the battery at a constant height during extraction and replacement.
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