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Six Reasons Lithium-ion Batteries Work Better for Pallet Jacks than Traditional Power Sources

Lithium-ion batteries are gradually replacing older battery technologies in a variety of applications.  When it comes to material handling and electric walkie pallet trucks in particular, the switch is happening for a number of compelling reasons.

lithium-ion walkie pallet jack

  1. No Need to Water Lithium-Ion batteries

Lead acid batteries require regular watering to maintain battery health. Watering is required because when lead-acid batteries charge, water in the electrolyte splits into hydrogen and oxygen, creating explosive dangerous gas that must be ventilated.  This process, along with evaporation, lowers water levels in the battery. If the water is not replaced and the battery stays in use, it causes damage and reduces the battery life.  In addition, overfilling the battery creates a risk of acid spills, a messy and dangerous business.

Lithium-ion batteries, on the other hand, are completely sealed and require no watering. Charging and cell balancing is monitored by the battery management system so equalization charges are never needed and no dangerous gasses are ever generated under normal use.

  1. Lithium-Ion Batteries Charge Faster

Battery charge times vary depending on battery capacity, chemistry, and charger output.  Lead acid batteries produce a substantial amount of heat when charging and require a ‘cooldown’ period afterward.  A typical charge/use cycle for lead acid is 8 hours use, 8 hours charge and 8 hours rest/cooldown.  In contrast, a typical charge cycle for a lithium-ion battery could be 8 hours use, 1 hour charge, and 8 hours use (no cooldown needed).  This allows the battery to be used continuously, while charging during breaks and lunch.

When running two or three shift operations, lead-acid batteries must be swapped out for charging and cooldown, meaning additional batteries are needed as well as storage areas with ventilation for dangerous gases.  In contrast, with lithium-ion batteries running your fleet of walkie pallet jacks, you do not need to swap batteries nor do you need ventilated charging / storage areas.

  1. Say Goodbye to Acid and Lead Contamination

Acid spills and lead contamination have adverse impact to industries such as food processing, grocery, pharmaceutical and beverage delivery.  No company wants walkie pallet jacks to be a source of contamination for their products or employees.  By shifting from lead acid to lithium-ion batteries, you no longer need to worry about acid spills and lead contamination.

  1. Lithium-ion Lasts Longer

Lithium-ion technology is widely used in portable electronic devices because it provides long runtimes, and has superior cycle life.  Pioneers in the lithium-ion sector for industrial applications, such as Flux Power, are taking the benefits of lithium-ion and applying them to material handling applications. The overall life of lithium-ion batteries for pallet jacks last 3-5x longer.

Runtime testing has shown that lithium-ion batteries have dramatically increased runtimes when compared to lead-acid. A Flux LiFT Pack lithium-ion battery in an electric walkie pallet jack runs 45% longer than similarly rated (amp-hour) lead-acid batteries.  This coupled with fast charging capabilities equals less downtime and greater productivity.

  1. Lithium-ion Batteries Are More Powerful

Lithium-ion batteries have flat discharge curves and provide higher constant power compared to lead-acid. This basically means that you can continue using your lithium-ion powered pallet jack without annoying sluggishness as the battery drains. Keeping your inventory moving and workers happy.

  1. Simple Switch to Green Technology

There are numerous benefits when converting to lithium-ion technology, including the simple fact that lithium-ion is a more ‘green’ solution, with zero emissions, no lead, and no acid.  The chemistry is also more efficient, meaning you’ll be using up to 30% less energy, reducing CO2 emissions.  The batteries also last longer, meaning you’re using 3-5x fewer batteries, further reducing CO2 emissions.  The batteries are weighted to meet minimum truck requirements and can weigh a couple hundred pounds. A solution like the Flux LiFT Pack is plug and play. So you can convert an existing fleet of lift truck lead-acid batteries without any conversion kit required. Simply disconnect your old battery, lift and replace with your new lithium-ion battery to begin using a more convenient, productive and cost-effective power source.

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For more information and details on converting your walkie pallet jacks to lithium-ion power contact us here.

 

 

5 Benefits of Forklift Battery Management with Lithium-Ion

Forklift battery management is used to maximize the useful life of batteries in fleets of pallet jacks and other electric forklifts. It is complex business that is being made easier with the introduction of lithium-ion battery technology.

The benefits of lithium-ion powered forklifts are creating a shift in the material handling industry.

Warehouse operators and fleet managers that have moved from lead-acid to lithium-ion power for their forklifts, consistently experience these top 5 benefits:

Benefit 1: Track battery health

Lithium-ion can simplify how to track the health and usage of fleets of forklift batteries. Onboard computers, such as those installed on Flux Power lithium-ion batteries, can be connected to the cloud and send vital data to end fleet personnel.

To illustrate the point, here’s a recent incident from a large fleet using Flux Power LiFT Packs for pallet jacks.

An employee at Flux Power received a phone alert that a pallet truck battery was reporting as empty, and had been empty for days. After investigating, it was discovered that the driver had gone on vacation and the battery and truck were left abandoned without being plugged it in. The customer was then able to find and plug in the battery before it went completely dead – thus avoiding any warranty issues.

Remote monitoring of batteries lets you track them via GPS along with the reporting of battery status.  The battery management system (BMS) monitors all battery metrics and can report wirelessly through local networks, or through cellular to the cloud.  Perhaps even more importantly, remote monitoring can catch problems before they cause a shutdown, reducing or eliminating truck downtime.  

Benefit 2: Fast charging

Lithium-ion batteries have benefits outside of data and reporting, and that’s the good news for fleet operators. Lithium-ion forklift batteries charge in as little as one hour, on demand, with no need for cool down periods before use. Faster charging mean fewer batteries and smaller, or even no, battery storage rooms are needed. 

Benefit 3: Longer runtimes

Longer run times per charge, coupled with the fast charge times, simplifies fleet operations for multi-shift environments.  Hazardous battery swapping procedures and additional storage space are no longer needed. By using lithium-ion to manage fleets of forklift batteries you can assume: one truck…one battery.

Benefit 4: No water maintenance

Forklift battery management using lithium-ion requires no watering. Simply plug in, recharge and go. This is today’s operating reality for companies making the switch. No water maintenance means not only fewer headaches and acid spills but also people spend more time doing their job, and less time dealing with equipment.

Benefit 5: Automated safeguards

Finally, lithium-ion helps protect against abuse. Lithium-ion batteries from Flux Power take advantage of a patented BMS which protects against overheating, overdischarge, overcharging and shorting (fused).

Fleet managers with lithium-ion technology powering their forklift batteries experience all these advantages and more. If you’re like many warehouse operators and want to test the benefits for yourself, contact Flux Power today.

For more information on lithium-ion forklift batteries, contact Flux Power for details and pricing.  

Top 8 Reasons Forklifts and Pallet Jacks Will Convert to Lithium-Ion Power in 2018

The secret is out. Lithium-ion batteries aren’t just for lightweight handheld electronics anymore. Industrial applications for heavy equipment, such as forklifts and pallet jacks, can now take advantage of the efficiency and environmental benefits of lithium-ion. And warehouse operators are taking notice.

During the past few years nearly all sizeable fleets have been performing lithium-ion trials. Fleets have been benchmarking lithium power against traditional lead-acid batteries and comparing performance results to expectations. They’ve been measuring throughput, operator safety and user satisfaction. These lithium-ion ‘pilot programs’ are proving incredibly productive, and full-scale rollouts are expected to increase in 2018.

This post takes a look at the top 8 reasons why businesses are making the switch to lithium-ion from lead-acid to power their forklifts. In 2018 we expect to see not only lithium conversions in older equipment, but increasingly more companies are demanding their new equipment come with lithium-ion power.

 

Top Reasons Driving Lithium-Ion Forklift Adoption in 2018

 

#1 No Water Maintenance

This is a big deal for logistics personnel. Removing the mess, the headache and schedules for having to vent, add water and potentially deal with toxic acid spills is a tremendous value-add for lithium-ion.

#2 Charge Lithium Packs When and Where You Want

When using lithium-ion battery packs for pallet jacks (with an onboard charger), you can simply plug the unit into any common wall outlet during lunch, breaks, or anytime. Since you don’t need an extra backup when charging, you can potentially remove the need for battery rooms. Larger lithium-ion batteries with external chargers are already optimized for opportunity charging. This is not so with the mandatory 6 – 8 hour cool-down period, plus lengthy charge up period required for traditional lead-acid batteries.

#3 Fast Charge in as Little as One Hour

Instead of an 8 hour charge and then 8 hour cool down, (as is typical with lead-acid), lithium ion batteries can be fully charged in as little as one hour. This allows a forklift to be used in three shift operations on a single battery.

#4 Longer Life Expectancy

Lithium-ion batteries are expected to last 5 years or more in forklifts and pallet jacks as opposed to just a few years for lead-acid. Longer overall life means fewer transactions / vendors, greater efficiency and cost-savings.

#5 Energy Savings

Lithium-ion batteries have a number of benefits that contribute to substantial energy savings.

  • In one test, we moved 200 pallets and then measured the energy out of the wall needed to move the pallets. It look the Flux LiFT Pack just 9.89 Wh (watt hours) per pallet; while the lead-acid used 14.86 Wh per pallet, meaning lead-acid used 50% more energy to do the same amount of work.
  • In similar electric forklift tests lead-acid consumed 100% more energy than lithium-ion to do the same amount of work.
  • Because the chemistry is so efficient, it takes a lot less energy to fully recharge lithium-ion.
  • Lithium-ion also operates at a higher voltage of 25.6V (volt) compared to lead-acid (24V). This translates to lower currents and less heating of components.
  • The batteries are also lighter, so you’re not carrying around as much dead weight.

#6 Clean and Green Power

Non-toxic solutions are simply better. Eco-friendly lithium packs are sealed with no noxious fumes or risk of acid spills. There are no hazardous materials in lithium-ion. What’s more, as entire fleets shift to lithium-ion, overall carbon footprint is reduced due to more efficient charging as mentioned above.

#7 Remote Monitoring

Data moves fast. Advanced packs allow you to login and see the charge status and location of your batteries at any given time. This helps protects your investment from abuse, and allows you to track your productivity more easily.

#8 Lower Total Cost of Ownership

As above, lithium-ion batteries are energy efficient, require no watering, last longer, and improve productivity. This is why in almost every application, it costs less per year when utilizing lithium-ion batteries vs. lead-acid. The reason companies are converting, or are in trials, is because they are learning the cost savings and reduction in headaches are real.

To get even more lithium-ion battery pack details and price quote for your forklifts, contact us here.

Foreman’s View on Lithium-Ion Lift Trucks in Warehouse Operations

We recently sat down with a warehouse operations foreman at just one of the many locations using Flux Power lithium-ion battery packs. Mike C. works at a major national foods distributor in Minnesota.

Flux Power: Mike, thanks for your time today. Can you tell us about the setup and scope of your warehouse?

Mike: We run 18 hours a day Monday through Friday, with two overlapping 10 hour shifts. We have a 62,000 square foot warehouse, with 85% taken by racking and storage. The rest of the space has pick lines for assembling orders, with two 210’ side by side conveyor belts with automatic wrappers at the end and pallet jacks for each line.

lithium-ion for warehouse forklifts

Flux Power: Tell us how many lifts you have.

Mike: In this warehouse we have 11 lifts, 4 of them are Crown pallet jacks. Two of the pallet jacks we run all the time. The other 2 we use for peak periods. We have Flux Power’s lithium-ion LiFT Packs in all four walkie pallet jacks.

Flux Power: What were you hoping to accomplish by using lithium-ion energy?

Mike: To be honest, I got lucky. I didn’t know that lithium existed for these pallet jacks when we got it. We were due to replace our equipment and management went with the Flux Power LiFT pack. I love them.

Flux Power: That’s great to hear, what do you love about lithium-ion packs?

Mike: The fact that you don’t have to water them! No watering…this is huge! When I can take 4 lifts off my list of worrying about ‘Did I water this one? Does that one need water?’ That’s huge in itself.

And the fact that you can plug them in and not worry about charge memory, that’s also good.

We’re interested in the upcoming Flux Power lithium-ion packs for sit down forklifts and full size lifts. Not having to water them – it’s just great to fire them up and forget them.

Flux Power: Was there anything surprising about using lithium-ion compared to lead-acid in your operations?

Mike: Lithium power feels more like ‘power-on / power-off’; whereas lead-acid runs at lower amperage so initial starts behave slightly differently. We got used to it quickly, but there was a slight learning curve.

Other than that, lithium-ion simply performs and it’s low-maintenance. Low maintenance is all I ask for in equipment. It works and doesn’t ask for a lot.

Flux Power: Do you have any advice for your peers still running lead-acid packs?

Mike: Switch to lithium. Working with Flux has been great, the ease of use is much better with lithium. Saves time and headaches and more cost efficient over the long run.

Flux Power: Thanks for sharing. Is there anything else you’ve observed with the lithium packs?

Mike: On the same note as the low-maintenance, it’s also nice not having to worry about the safety issues of lead-acid. It’s good to know Flux Power has performed rigorous UL testing on the lithium packs, which gives us peace of mind for safety. Overall, we love them and wouldn’t want to go back to the old lead-acid days.

Flux Power: We know you’re very busy and appreciate your time sharing your firsthand experience with lithium-ion packs in your operations. Have a great day!

Mike: Thanks.


If you’re interested in transitioning your material handling operations to lithium-ion, contact Flux Power today at 877-505-3589 or sales@fluxpwr.com.

Lithium-ion is Making an Impact in the Material Handling Industry

A few years ago, many warehouse operators, logistics professionals and procurement offices were scarcely aware that forklifts could be powered by anything other than the traditional lead-acid batteries pervasive in material handling facilities. As the leading pioneer in lithium-ion technologies for the material handling market, California-based Flux Power has engaged in countless discussions and interviews helping to educate the market on the benefits of lithium-ion over lead acid to power forklifts. Today, as 2017 is winding down…the word is (mostly) out.

Operations are transforming with the adoption of lithium-ion battery packs to power electric forklifts. 

Benefits of Lithitum-Ion in Material Handling

Not having to water batteries is a huge plus.  Being able to plug in the lithium-ion packs whenever you want for as long or short as you want (opportunity charge) is another big convenience. No need to have a separate battery charging room saves space. Being able to run your lifts for longer periods of time without losing power, and the overall longevity of the battery itself are all just some of the many reasons that companies are switching from lead-acid in favor of lithium-ion.

The benefits are so compelling, there is a natural viral effect as operators see how much better it is to run on lithium-ion.

Customers Spread the Word of Lithium-Ion for Walkies and Forklifts

Here’s just one of many examples, Flux Power recently received an order for several high powered lithium-ion walkie battery packs from a Connecticut-based produce and dairy company.  The company heard about the benefits of using Flux LiFT Packs from their sister company, a meat processing plant also located in the beautiful “nutmeg” state of Connecticut. 

flux-power-lithium-ion-ct-customers

We continue to see this type of sprawl as warehouses readily welcome the new Li-ion technology to power their fleets. Drop in compatibility means no conversion kits needed. And UL Listed status means trusted safety expected.  


If you’re interested in transitioning your material handling operations to lithium-ion, contact Flux Power today at 877-505-3589 or sales@fluxpwr.com.

Why UL Marks are Important for Lithium-ion Batteries in Industrial Applications / Walkie Pallet Jacks

Underwriter Laboratories (UL) is an organization whose mission is “to build a safer, more secure and more sustainable today and tomorrow” by helping companies establish trustworthy products in the marketplace. To achieve this mission UL requires products go through rigorous testing by industry-standard UL test labs.

To better understand why UL is important, it is best to understand what certifications are offered and how they differ. Currently UL offers two different certifications detailed below.
 

UL Listed

Products with a UL Listing have been tested to meet nationally recognized safety standards. They have been tested as complete final products, and found to be free from reasonably foreseeable risk of fire, electric shock and other hazards; and display the UL Listed Mark on product packaging and marketing materials (shown above).

UL Listed lithium-ion walkie pallet truck batteries can be used in all brands currently available, giving the end user a tremendous level of confidence that any equipment will run safely and ensure the protection of employees and property.
 
 

UL Recognized Component

Components covered by UL’s “Recognized Component” program are intended to be installed in another device, system or end product and are not a final product. They must be factory installed (no field installation) and they may have restricted performance capabilities that limit their use.

When looking at industrial lithium-ion batteries for walkie pallet trucks, this mark restricts which trucks the battery is compatible with, and further testing of the end product is required to obtain a full UL Listing.

UL Experience and Expertise

UL is the global standard for certifying the compliance and safety of electronic equipment. UL invests its resources in making sure it’s standards are up to date in today’s rapidly changing market ensuring tested products are safe for users. To help maintain trust, UL partners with law enforcement worldwide to seize counterfeit products that attempt to fraudulently bear UL marks.

Why Use a UL Listed Lithium-Ion Battery?

UL Listed lithium-ion batteries are creating a paradigm shift not only in the consumer world, but in the material handling industry as well. The long runtimes, no maintenance, fast-charge capability and reduced cost of ownership make lithium-ion an attractive choice for industrial equipment such as walkie pallet trucks and forklifts.

As with any new technology, questions about safety arise and it is informative and helpful having a trusted independent third-party such as UL conduct extensive product testing and certification. End users then have confidence in the safety of their employees and operation.
 
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Flux Power is pleased to offer the UL Listed LiFT Pack™ lithium-ion battery. The LiFT Pack fits almost any existing walkie pallet truck on the market, and is a drop-in replacement for lead-acid.

To learn more contact Flux Power at sales@fluxpwr.com or call us at 877-505-3589.  
 

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