Gaining a clear understanding of the various battery technologies available on the market ensures that the type of battery used to power rental scissor lifts and lift access equipment will operate at peak levels of performance and reliability. For equipment rental yards, this is particularly important to maximize the performance of the heavy equipment they rent on a daily basis. If batteries fail while in the field, it can cost construction crews lost productivity on a jobsite, and cost a rental yard a customer.
Deep-cycle flooded & AGM batteries are the best choice
Deep-cycle batteries, whether they are flooded or AGM, are the best choice for operating battery-powered equipment because they are engineered to handle the rigors of being deep discharged on a regular basis, common in these applications. It’s also important to select a deep-cycle battery that provides true deep-cycling performance. Many deep-cycle AGM batteries on the market today were originally designed for UPS or standby applications, where the batteries are basically “on hold” until needed, not for applications such as scissor lifts which deeply discharge batteries.
While deep-cycle flooded batteries are the most economical, they do require regular watering which can be challenging for rental yards as well as their customers. Without regular watering, flooded batteries will prematurely fail, resulting in frequent and expensive battery replacements.
Some equipment rental companies have even established technical support teams which visit their rental customers to ensure the batteries are performing as expected, and provide maintenance services in case the customers are not maintaining the batteries properly. An example is Simplex Rentals, based in Montreal, which provides extensive training for its technical team that is dispatched to customers with equipment every 90 days. These teams check on the operation of equipment and performance of the batteries, as well as perform any needed battery maintenance.
“Simplex Rentals outfitted a portion of our rental equipment from Skyjack with Trojan batteries and we are testing the use of the HydroLink single-point watering system to simplify the battery watering process for our technicians and customers,” said Charles Desroches, vice president at Simplex Rentals. “The single-point watering system is very user friendly and an important investment on longer-term leases to make it easier for customers to maintain the batteries. Keeping the batteries properly watered and completely charged is critical.”
AGM batteries are maintenance free and are engineered to provide rugged durability and performance for a variety of these types of applications. While AGM batteries do not require watering, they are a bit more expensive than flooded models, so customers must determine if an AGM maintenance-free battery is more cost-effective in the long run.
Both flooded and AGM batteries do require regular daily charging, an important maintenance practice. Construction equipment may sit idle for long periods of time in the rental yard, so it’s important that staff check the voltage of deep-cycle flooded and AGM batteries on a regular basis. The last thing a customer wants to receive is equipment with a battery that is only partially charged, because it will have decreased performance.
Reading the voltage of AGM and flooded batteries will let you know the battery's state of charge. It’s important to understand that consistently overcharging or undercharging a deep-cycle battery will impact its overall performance and life, resulting in increased operating costs since batteries must be replaced more frequently.
Open-circuit voltage readings
Measuring a battery’s voltage is an economical method for testing a battery’s state of charge, and simply requires an inexpensive digital voltmeter that has a basic accuracy of at least 0.5% or better. Prior to taking voltage readings, allow the batteries to sit for at least two hours after charging to let the voltage settle to its normal open circuit state.
To begin, set the voltmeter to the proper voltage range that corresponds with the voltage of the battery being tested. Touch the appropriate positive and negative leads to the corresponding battery terminals, and record the reading. Compare the reading with the proper voltage levels specified by the battery manufacturer. Also, remember that as batteries age the voltage reading will gradually decrease, and if the batteries have not been properly maintained, this will happen more quickly.
Select a quality battery
When selecting a brand of battery, choose a manufacturer whose batteries are consistently fitted by original equipment manufacturers. Battery manufacturers work closely with equipment manufacturers to ensure its battery designs and functionality keep pace with new machine designs and demands of customers.
Single-point watering systems for easy maintenance
Single-point watering systems for flooded batteries simplify the battery watering process for rental yard technicians and customers. The HydroLink system not only reduces labor costs, but is very easy to use, making it easier to keep the batteries in a good state of health, prolonging battery life and reducing overall costs.”
“Simplex Rentals uses of Trojan HydroLink single-point watering systems save our technical team and customers time and money by helping avoid premature battery failures due to lack of watering,” Desroches said.
With various types of batteries on the market today, it’s important to understand the performance of your equipment and select a battery from a manufacturer which has provided consistent quality products over the years.