How did that pesky salesman save his customer $20,000 dollars on his next forklift purchase?
Our last blog pointed out the benefit of being open to new vendors and new technology by spending a few minutes with an open mind. The customer in our story realized a substantial cost savings solution. Now let us tell you a little more about that particular technology and how the savings can really add up.
Conventional battery charging relies on 8 hours of operation, followed by 8 hours of re-charging (which generates a lot of heat), followed by 8 hours of cool-down time. If you run multiple shifts you will need a fresh battery for each shift; 3 shifts means 3 batteries. The batteries are large so a multi-shift operation requires a battery charging area, racks or floor space for the charging and resting batteries, and equipment to transfer the batteries in and out of the vehicles. This might be an overhead crane, a transfer cart or another forklift equipped with a battery bar.
Thanks to new technologies like wireless communication and advanced computer programs there are alternatives to conventional battery charging. We now have Opportunity charging and Fast charging options. The batteries communicate with chargers through wireless or wired connections that monitor voltage and temperature.
Essentially, the idea with either solution is to put power back in the battery long before they are drained. In some cases when the battery is at 80% of capacity, it’s time to plug in. Operators plug in during shift breaks and times the truck isn’t needed.
Fast Charging and Opportunity Charging are two different approaches that on the surface seem very similar.
How can the cost savings add up for multiple shift businesses?
- They purchase fewer batteries – Instead of buying 2-3 batteries, of which 1-2 are sitting idle at any time, companies potentially have the option to reduce that number to 1 ($5,000-$10,000 savings per truck).
- Employees don’t spend time changing batteries — companies eliminate the cost associated with changing batteries. The industry average is 15 minutes per change.
- Battery changing equipment can be eliminated — No need to purchase or maintain battery changing equipment. Regain valuable floor space used by battery handling equipment and charging stands
- Risk reduction – Every battery change is dangerous and requires careful attention to safety. These solutions minimize the risk potential accidents involving battery changing.
Are one of these options right for your company? If you run more than 1 shift per day, the answer is maybe.
We can review your fleet, your facility and coordinate the installation of a diagnostic device on your forklift to measure various elements of battery consumption. A dedicated power study of your application is needed to find out if you are a candidate. Fast charging and opportunity charging equipment (the chargers) are more expensive so an ROI analysis would be the ultimate determining factor.