What are the advantages and disadvantages of lithium batteries for forklifts?
You may have noticed that many suppliers are promoting lithium batteries for forklifts. For forklifts, this technology is relatively new, but warehouse managers are still asking many questions about its use in warehouse applications. Forklift battery manufacturers shared the advantages and disadvantages of forklift lithium batteries in warehouse applications:
1. What are the advantages of lithium batteries for forklifts in warehouse applications?
1. Since the body of the lithium-ion forklift is two feet shorter than the lead-acid body, the operator can work in narrow places. This is very convenient for loading trucks and operating in narrow aisles.
2. Less heat is generated during charging and discharging.
3. Due to the smaller battery, the rear forklift has a better view.
4. Lithium batteries are lighter (also a disadvantage, see below).
5. They are more durable. Kalmar said life has increased by more than 100%.
6. They charge faster than lead-acid batteries. Lithium batteries can absorb 50% of their capacity in only 30 to 40 minutes of charging time. After 80 minutes, the lithium battery can reach a fully charged state. Boost charging makes it possible to use forklifts equipped with lithium batteries without changing the battery for up to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
7. Lithium batteries have higher energy efficiency, and there is no need to replace the batteries in three shifts. When it comes to industrial battery use, lithium ion, especially lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) is particularly good. The service life of lithium batteries is five times that of lead-acid batteries.
8. Moreover, lithium batteries do not have the voltage drop that lead-acid batteries suffer. They are fully charged until they are exhausted.
9. They have no sulfation problem and no safety problem of gas release. Therefore, no ventilation system is required in the charging area.
11. Lithium battery is safer.
12. During the entire service life of the battery, its cost is lower than that of alternative products.
2. What are the disadvantages of lithium batteries for forklifts in warehouse applications?
1. Lithium batteries are lighter, and the weight of lead-acid batteries can be used as a counterweight for forklifts, so anyone who provides lithium batteries on forklifts must compensate for the weight loss in the truck or battery box design. The forklift can be designed for this shortcoming, and other counterweights can be added.
2. The battery needs a management system. Lead-acid batteries are stupid, but that's okay. If there is no management system on the lithium battery, it will be damaged. This increased complexity means there are more potential problems, and there is a chance of damaging the battery.
3. Due to the use of newer technology, there is almost no choice of recycling when it is scrapped. In other words, over time, better and cheaper recycling options will emerge.
4. From an energy point of view, the weight of lithium-ion batteries is about four times lighter than lead-acid batteries, but its cost will be six to seven times higher (data from mid-2016), but the price drops quickly.
5. Cost is still a factor relative to lead-acid battery technology, but it drops by half every year. By 2020, it should be the same or cheaper than lead-acid battery technology.
Phosphate batteries used in industrial applications such as forklifts are not dangerous; its thermal stability and ability to handle abuse are very similar to gel lead-acid batteries. Forklift lithium batteries are safe in warehouses and safer than lead-acid batteries.
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