Opportunity Charging, a method of lift truck battery management, allows batteries to remain in place to enable charging whenever convenient. With Opportunity Charging, less time is wasted in the process of getting the battery to the charger, and more productive time is spent with the lift truck in use. The benefits of this battery charging option have led to the current “buzzworthy” status, but there are a few key considerations to keep in mind if you’re thinking of making a switch to Opportunity Charging:
Due to their in-machine, quick-charge design, Opportunity Charging batteries help prevent lift trucks, and their operators, from sitting idle. Constantly connecting them to a power source, however, takes a noticeable toll on the life of the battery. The consistent exposure to heat is wear and tear which any battery, even OC-designed, cannot withstand for a long period of time. When calculating the implementation cost of an Opportunity Charging system, it’s critical to factor in more frequent battery replacements.
The beauty of Opportunity Charging is in the flexibility it provides to forklift operators – they can charge during breaks of any kind, no matter the duration. However, even batteries in these systems must be brought to a full, 100% charge at least once a week to prevent damage – called the equalization charge. This overnight process differs from the typical Opportunity Charge, which achieves an 80% state-of-charge. Understanding where the equalization charge fits into your shift changes and overall operations is key in determining whether Opportunity Charging provides you the flexibility your process requires. For the most part, Opportunity Charging works best with a two-shift operation, where there is time allocated overnight for the equalization charge process.
Because Opportunity Charging batteries aren’t designed for conventional chargers, specialized equipment must be purchased and installed to use in the Opportunity Charging process. Different configurations might call for alternative/increased space on your warehouse floor which enable forklifts to pull right up to charging stations. In addition to allocating more space, it’s key to rethink the make-up of your warehouse floor. Investing in faster, more opportune technology only makes sense if forklift operators have equally efficient charging locations. Rearranging your warehouse floor may be costly, time consuming, and, in some cases, impossible – so plan out your new space before investing in new equipment.
Opportunity Charging is a great battery charging method to keep your lift truck fleet moving, just be sure to consider battery replacement costs, equalization charge timing, and layout requirements. Not sure where to start, or have questions?
Whether your system utilizes Opportunity Charging, Fast Charging or Conventional Charging, Sackett has the durable equipment – and solutions – for your method of battery charging.