Motive Power Industry Terms to Know as a Warehouse Manager

July 31, 2019

As a warehouse manager, between running daily operations, making budget decisions, scheduling warehouse service, and everything in between, you have a lot on your plate. To handle all of these responsibilities effectively, it’s important that you’re up-to-speed on the latest tools, technologies, and safety standards affecting the motive power industry.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of warehouse terms that you’re likely to come across when working with industrial batteries, industrial chargers, and battery safety on a daily basis! By being aware of what these terms mean and how they affect your facility, you can conduct more effective and well-informed warehouse management!

Industrial forklift Battery Maintenance and Service Terms

Your industrial batteries are the power behind the warehouse equipment you need to do business and drive revenue—so, making sure they’re properly maintained should be a top priority for every warehouse manager. Here are some common terms that deal with industrial batteries and the warehouse service they require.

Motive power. The harnessed energy or force that powers a mechanical device, such as a forklift.

Motive power battery. The industrial batteries used in motive power equipment.

The critical components of an industrial forklift battery. The tray, jar, plates, electrolyte/battery acid, bridge, and mat.

Ampere hour. The amount of charge needed in a battery to allow one ampere of current to flow for one full hour, often abbreviated to amp hour, Ah, or Ahr.

Cells, volts, and plates. Used to calculate a battery’s capacity. The energy stored in a battery (expressed in watt-hours) can be determined by multiplying the voltage of the battery by the battery capacity (measured in amp hours.)

Battery cycle life. The length of time that an industrial battery can operate for a after a full round of discharge and recharge.

Battery life cycle. The “useful life” of an industrial battery, or the total length of time it can operate before it is no longer functional. Common factors affecting a battery’s life cycle include how often it is being used, the temperature in which it is being used in, and its cycle life.

Battery Boss Wireless Controller. Regularly monitoring the performance of your industrial batteries helps you get the most out of your investment. The Hawker Battery Boss Wireless Controller (BBWC) is a reliable battery status system that attaches to the battery to monitor its voltage, capacity, temperature, state of charge, and more. With this comprehensive data, you can ensure you’re conducting proper battery maintenance as needed.

Battery washing. The process of washing the corrosion off your industrial batteries. Regularly washing your industrial forklift batteries is an essential component of preventative maintenance as it ensures a longer battery life and better performance for your fleet.

Hydrometer. A tool that measures the density of a battery’s electrolyte fluid to test the state of charge of the battery’s cells. The greater the concentration of sulfuric acid in a battery cell, the denser the electrolyte becomes, with a higher density resulting in higher state of charge.

Voltmeter. A device that is attached to an electrical circuit to test how many volts of electricity are moving through it. This can help you determine if an industrial battery is experiencing “battery drain,” or a loss of charge after being unused for a only a short period of time.

Battery watering. When a forklift battery is charging, it heats up, resulting in water evaporation through the battery cell. As water evaporates over time, it can bring electrolyte fluid levels in the battery dangerously low. So, you must replace and maintain these electrolyte fluid levels through battery watering to improve the performance and lifespan of your industrial batteries.

Distilled/purified water for battery watering. Using tap water for battery washing can result in wear and tear, as certain substances found in tap water can affect the chemical processes running inside the battery. On the other hand, using distilled or purified water for battery washing can lengthen the battery life cycle and improve performance and efficiency.

Industrial Forklift battery Charger Terms

Since your industrial batteries are a vital component of your warehouse operations, keeping them properly charged and running at maximum efficiency simply cannot be ignored as a warehouse manager. Here are common warehouse terms that you’ll likely run into when exploring motive power charging solutions.

Cables and connectors. What is used to attach industrial batteries to industrial chargers.

High frequency fast chargers. High-frequency battery chargers are a more efficient way to quickly charge the large industrial batteries used in forklifts. They are most commonly used in warehouse facilities that have significant forklift usage, and would therefore need to recharge industrial batteries multiple times in one shift.

Opportunity chargers. Opportunity chargers make it possible to charge industrial batteries several times throughout the day. This allows operators to sufficiently charge the batteries they need to get the job done while they’re taking breaks, reducing downtime during working hours.

Conventional chargers. Conventional charging is ideal for single shift operations and is the easiest on the battery, but is not the best option for multi-shift operations. Typically, a battery using this kind of charge would be used throughout the day and charged after hours so that it would be cooled down and ready to use for the next day’s shift.

Ferro-charger. A charger that relies on a ferroresonant power supply, which is “A transformer-based power supply that uses nonlinear magnetic properties and a resonant circuit to provide a stable output voltage over a wide range of input voltage.” They are most commonly used when constant output voltages are required.

Modular chargers. Chargers with a modular design allows each individual power module to operate independently. This allows for improved charging, efficiency, and reliability with nonstop power.

Charger start and finish rate. The charger start right is the amount of charge left in the industrial battery before it is put on the charger to be recharged. The charger finish rate is the battery’s charge capacity at the end of the charging cycle.

Charge cycle. How long an industrial battery can be used once it has been fully charged. For example, you complete one complete charge cycle when you’ve used 100% of your battery’s capacity.

forklift Battery Safety Terms

When dealing with industrial batteries and chargers for your motive power warehouse equipment, safety should always be a priority. As a warehouse manager, it’s your responsibility to protect the safety of your workers and also maintain OSHA compliance—here are just a few of the warehouse terms you need to be aware of in order to do so.

Arcing or flashing. Electrical arcing happens when, “An electric current flows through the air between two conductors, as a result of the electrical breakdown of gas that produces an ongoing electrical discharge.” When this happens, it can create a “flash” of intense heat and light energy at the point of the arc, which is why this process is also referred to as flashing.

Hydrogen gas. A byproduct of battery charging that can be explosive in certain concentrations of air. Therefore, a proper ventilation system is necessary in battery charging rooms.

Lift interrupt. A lift interrupt circuit helps protect an industrial battery by disabling lift when the battery is approximately 80% discharged.

Spill kit. Used to contain, neutralize, and clean up spilled battery acid and electrolytes. These kits should always be quickly-accessible in case there is a battery acid leak or spill—keeping them in your forklift or battery storage areas is needed for compliance with OSHA 1910.178(g)(2).

Lifting beam. These devices offer a convenient and efficient way to handle industrial batteries. They are designed to integrate with Gantry Cranes systems and make it possible to complete safe vertical-extraction battery handling applications.

Changing cart. A portable cart that can be used to safely carry industrial batteries around your warehouse when changing out batteries on the floor during a shift.

Single point watering. A tool that can be used for more precise battery watering. It includes an automatic shut off valve and allows you to fill you deep-cycle batteries without having to remove the vent covers. This prevents battery acid spillage, which in turn can prevent warehouse employees from experiencing burns, ruined clothing, and dangerous fumes.

Southern States Enterprises is your one stop shop for warehouse equipment and installation, as well as comprehensive warehouse service, maintenance, and repairs. We offer routine cleaning, adjustments, and inspections of all warehouse equipment, plus guidance for OSHA compliance, employee safety and warehouse management training, and capital budget planning.

No matter what challenges your warehouse management faces, we’re ready to provide the best solutions and help you make more strategic and well-informed decisions. Speak with one of our experts today to learn more about forklift batteries and chargers!

AMP Motive Power

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