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Batteries with Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) Technology Make Fast and Opportunity Charging Even More Cost-Effective

By Contributing Author | 06/18/2018 | 6:00 AM

By Harold Vanasse, Senior Director, Motive Power Marketing Americas, EnerSys

With more and more material handling operations switching to electric lift truck fleets, the adoption of fast charging and opportunity charging battery systems is growing. Industry consensus says that despite limitations like shorter battery life and weekly equalization requirements, fast and opportunity charging can help multi-shift operations save time and money.

However, industry consensus hasn’t kept up with advances in lead acid battery design. Batteries featuring Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) technology are making fast and opportunity charging systems even moreefficient and cost-effective. To understand why, consider the differences between conventional charging, fast charging and opportunity charging:

Conventional Charging

Charging a lift truck battery overnight – including eight hours of charging and eight hours of rest – is known as conventional charging. Ideal for single-shift operations, conventional charging charges the battery at a 16-18% rate of charge over the first four to five hours, then tapers off until the battery reaches a 100% State of Charge (SOC).

When conventional charging is used in multi-shift facilities, it can be expensive and maintenance-intensive, as it requires one battery per shift, per vehicle, plus battery change-outs  and weekly equalization charges.

Fast Charging

As the name implies, fast charging is muchfaster than conventional charging – batteries can be charged in as little as two to four hours. To enable this speed, fast charging replenishes the battery at a 50% rate of charge the entire time. Unlike conventional charging, fast charging keeps the battery at a maximum of 85% SOC, but it still requires a weekly equalization charge to take the battery to 100%.

This option is best for three-shift operations, as it eliminates the need for extra batteries and battery swaps in between shifts, not to mention battery changing rooms. It does shorten conventional lead acid battery life, so new batteries will have to be purchased more often.

Opportunity Charging

Opportunity charging is just that – the ability to charge the battery during breaks, lunch, between shifts or whenever there is an opportunity. This method charges the battery at a 25% rate of charge and maxes out at an 85% SOC. As with conventional and fast charging, opportunity charging requires a weekly equalization charge.

Opportunity charging delivers many of the same benefits as fast charging, but it is best suited for two-shift operations in which the battery can make it through the second shift with short charges during lift truck downtime.

TPPL battery technology

Lead acid batteries with TPPL technology make the benefits of fast and opportunity charging even more beneficial. A TPPL battery can be charged at rates of up to 100%, with no risk of damage from overheating. The ability to fast charge at such a high rate can eliminate battery change-outs even for some three-shift operations. And unlike the shortened battery life that results from fast charging a conventional lead acid battery, a fast charged TPPL battery will actually last up to three years longer – with no watering requirements or weekly equalization charges. The result is a fast and opportunity charging solution that’s more reliable and cost-effective than ever.  



Harold Vanasse is Senior Director of Marketing, Motive Power Americas for EnerSys, the global leader in stored energy solutions for industrial applications. While serving in a variety of roles over the past 20+ years, Vanasse has been influential in bringing innovative solutions to the material handling industry.



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