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Supplying forklifts since 1976

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Since 1976 H&F Trucks have provided local business with high quality materials handling solutions. For nearly four decades we have achieved steady growth year on year, enabling us to provide superior service to our customers from a stable & sustainable business platform.

How To Increase Forklift Truck Battery Life

Battery maintenance is an exceptionally important, yet often forgotten, issue when it comes to properly maintaining a forklift truck. It is a simple yet significant factor that will effectively contribute towards your forklift truck’s safety and overall lifespan. The vast majority of all the UK’s forklift trucks are powered electronically using a specially designed and expensive battery.

Effective and thorough maintenance can extend the lifetime of these batteries, allowing you to extend the life of your forklift too. Follow this guide to find out how this can be done!

Get Yourself Prepared!

Before starting any tasks make sure that you have a thorough understanding of the battery manufacturer’s instructions. Bear in mind that each charge will take a ‘cycle’ out of the battery; on average a forklift truck battery will begin with 1500 cycles. When all the cycles have been used up this usually will create a requirement for a new battery.

Before starting it will be extremely useful to identify a dedicated charging area that is well lit and well ventilated. You should not smoke, use a mobile phone or carry any hot objects into this area at any time. Lastly, make sure that the charging equipment you have is suitable for the battery you wish to charge.

Effective Charging/Recharging

Frequent neglect and ill-treatment of your batteries will only result in increased expenditure and technical faults. To ensure your charging efforts are as beneficial as possible, follow these simple do’s and don’ts:

  • DO select weekend/ equalise charge option every 5-10 charge cycles. This helps to keep the cell voltages even;
  • DO charge the battery after an eight hour stint or if it has less than 30% power;
  • DO charge your battery in a well aerated area at all times;
  • DO NOT let the battery run too low – anything below 20% can reduce lifespan;
  • DO NOT let a flat battery sit stagnant for long periods of time for the same reason;
  • DO NOT charge for the sake of it – have a charging schedule and stick to it;
  • DO NOT ever interrupt a charge mid-way through.
Check Your Fluid Levels!

When maintaining the fluid levels in your battery, there are a number of elements you should consider carefully. Firstly, make sure that you check the H2O levels and have them topped up regularly (every 10th charge) at for the initial couple of years. If the battery is a second-hand battery then this should be reduced to every five charges.

If the fluid levels do need to be topped up, only use enough to cover the plastic element protector by approximately a half of a cm. If your battery has a Single Point Watering kit fitted, this must also be refilled after charging is complete, never before.

This applies to clean water too – never top this up before the beginning of a charge. Overtime, it will help if you checked 2-3 pilot cells every five or so charge-cycles so that you know whether or not the level is above the plastic element protector following the charging operation. Always avoid over filling the battery as this can cause acid loss and overheating.

Safety First – Checklist

When working with or near batteries, there are a number of safety elements you must be aware of and adhere to. See the checklist below to see if you are charging safely:

  • Always wear gloves and suitable eye protection;
  • Always wear a plastic apron and suitable boots when handling battery chemicals;
  • Empty your pockets of any metal objects;
  • Keep batteries away from course of ignition;
  • Fit temporary plastic covers over the battery terminals whilst working on it;
  • Never lift a heavy battery alone, get help if it is too heavy;
  • Use insulated lifting equipment;
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after working with batteries.
Safety First – Avoidance

On the other hand, when working with or near batteries there are also a number of things you should avoid, such as:

  • Working with them at all if you are untrained;
  • Smoking;
  • Running around carelessly;
  • Overcharge the battery.
Call a Professional

We hope that this article helps you to gain a solid understanding of the basics and benefits surrounding forklift battery maintenance. If you would like some more technical information and guidance then please give one of our advisors a call today. The trained and professional team here at H & F forklifts will be more than happy to help so get in touch today!

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H&F have supplied us with all our fork lift equipment for in excess of ten years now, and have maintained it in accordance with our stringent operation requirements. During this time they have provided a consistently high level of service (including short term hire when required) whilst never failing to support us in a totally honest and professional manner.

Ashley Basset, Director
R G Bassett & Sons Ltd

Pym and Wildsmith have been working closely with H&F Fork Trucks for many years. Their service is excellent, ranging from prompt callouts to breakdowns through to the supply of new trucks. We would not hesitate to recommend them.

Ian Pym, Operations Manager
Pym & Wildsmith

H&F Lift Trucks are a pleasure to deal with. All staff, Technicians, Sales and Directors have hands-on experience of all ranges of vehicles they supply. From initial assessments and listening to all users of a potential new vehicle requirement, they keep us informed of all aspects of specification and lead times through to delivery. Their maintenance service is superb – they organise suitable times around our busy working day with our Yard Managers. Any accidental damage or operator error faults are always discussed with me and dealt with fairly – not like some unscrupulous suppliers who seek to profit at every service visit! In a cut-throat market, where we are offered “good deals” a few quid cheaper every day, we are never tempted to stray.

James Hipkins, Managing Director

We cover a 30 mile radius