High-frequency battery room upgrades

Industrial charging solutions make battery room upgrades cost-effective and green.

By ·

The majority of the innovation in the battery market is centered on charging solutions, according to Steve Spaar, marketing director for EnerSys. Although developments in fast-charge and opportunity-charge technology have lured many operations away from the centralized battery room model, says Spaar, developments have been made to update and improve battery rooms through the use of high-frequency charging systems.

While fast-charge and opportunity-charge systems offer the appeal of decentralized charging and corresponding productivity gains, Spaar says those technologies are not ideal for three-shift operations.

“You can’t run a battery 24 hours a day without a cooling period and expect it to last more than six months,” he says. “These operations will still need a central battery room.”

High-frequency chargers are upwards of 90% efficient, says Spaar, as opposed to the 60% to 85% efficiencies of traditional systems. The efficiencies are often significant enough to generate an ROI in under two years, he says.

The California Energy Commission is developing efficiency standards for industrial battery applications, a move motivated by the state’s high electricity rates, says Spaar. On the national level, the Environmental Protection Agency is working to include efficient industrial charging systems in the Energy Star program, he adds. If enacted, the program would represent the first non-retail line of Energy Star products.

As they continue to refine traditional technologies, battery companies like EnerSys continue to research fuel cell and lithium ion technology, but Spaar says the efforts are not big focuses for R&D resources. Although the technology has been proven outside the industrial and materials handling sectors, he says, the value propositions in those areas are simply not there.

“But we are continuing to research these technologies when the time comes that they make sense in motive power,” says Spaar.

In the meantime, upstarts like fuel cell technology have few advantages, he says. Productivity gains from decentralized hydrogen fueling stations are easily matched by fast-charge or opportunity-charge systems, says Spaar. As for the environmentally friendly angle, Spaar notes that 92% of an average lift truck battery is recyclable, and 95% of lift truck batteries are recycled.

“In fact, it is the most recycled product,” says Spaar. “Next is aluminum cans at about a 50% recycle rate.”


About the Author

Josh Bond, Senior Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Totes keep produce fresh from field to store
A two-part reusable plastic tote features a frame that cradles produce in a recyclable, replaceable sleeve.
Download Today!
From the December 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
Confronting an aging materials handling system and new channels of business with new customer expectations, Rocky Brands installed a put-to-light and sortation system to ramp up fulfillment.
The Big Picture: Navigation Gets a Reboot for Automatic Vehicles
Top 20 3PL Warehouses 2017: Growth amid change
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
The State of the DC Voice Market
A lot has changed in the last 10 years, especially in voice technology. This webinar will cover the state of the voice market, review two leading voice solutions and help you gain a better understanding of the options and capabilities available today.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
System Report: Rocky Brands Sees the Light
Confronting an aging materials handling system and new channels of business with new customer...
Top 20 industrial lift truck suppliers, 2017
The top lift truck suppliers list is changing with industry acquisitions causing a dramatic...

Lodge Manufacturing: Distribution Cast in Iron
In a new facility, iPhones and a new WMS allowed cookware manufacturer Lodge to double its business...
Rochester Drug Cooperative: Robots ready for work
It’s still early stages, but Rochester Drug Cooperative is proving that mobile robotic piece...