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Topic Ideas for Reducing Forklift Downtime Affected by Battery Performance?

Ideas for Reducing Forklift Downtime Affected by Battery Performance?

Home Forums General Forums Implementation Ideas for Reducing Forklift Downtime Affected by Battery Performance?

This topic contains 15 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Mitchell Schaub 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    Ravinder Singh
    Reputation - 15
    Rank - Aluminum

    Hi There ,

    I am working in a Ware house company with around 25 fork lift with high reach.
    During my other project I have observed down time of fork lift due to flat battery.

    So when they get battery flat they have to stop at same pace go and take battery change m/c and come back to forklift .

    Remove battery and put on charging and come with another battery and load it and move battery changer to the place.

    In this they lost almost 15 minutes and this kind of down time are very normal 6 or 7 times a day.

    I am looking for some experts Ideas from all of you .

    Kindly suggest me some ideas with your precious time knowledge.

    Looking for some key points.


    Ravinder Singh


    looking for some thoughts!!!!!1


    You’re asking for silver bullets to specific situations.

    Follow DMAIC and emphasize some tools such as pareto, SMED, process mapping at a minimum. These will help you and your team.

    You need to confirm with a business leader what the pain points are: (primary and secondary metrics).


    Excellent advice from my friend @cseider.

    You might want to number the batteries and the forklifts and gather some data on how long a charge is given to each battery and how long it takes in each forklift to run down. This will take some time to gather sufficient data to make any meaningful analysis.

    You will be looking for certain batteries that are abnormal to other batteries, and perhaps some forklifts that are abnormal to other forklifts. Bad batteries or forklifts that drain abnormally will point out places where you might have bad hardware.

    If no abnormalities are shown in batteries/forklifts, then you will have data to identify how long a charge is good for, and when the forklift should be returned to a charging station.

    Good luck.


    @ghanghash It sounds like you don’t have a gage on the forklift that tells you how much charge is left on the battery? If you do then a battery should never go flat unless the operators just don’t get it. If that is the case open the gage and paint a red portion on the gage.

    You might want to check and see what type of battery you are using. This is just a guess but you will probably find whomever is buying batteries is getting some extremely cheap ones basically because his success metric has nothing to do with down time and everything to do with price.

    Just my opinion


    Excellent advice my friend @Mike-Carnell. How are things in the DR?


    @MBBinWI Interesting. I am still pushing hard there and another place to get a spot where we can work together again. I love having a guy on site that people believe is grouchier than me.


    Ravinder Singh
    Reputation - 15
    Rank - Aluminum

    Thanks You very much to all of you about my projects guide .

    I hope I understood now what I have to do.

    I will get back when I implemented all improvements in my project.




    Fuel cells have been used as alternatives to battery operated forklifts specifically to address the downtime losses. Check out plug power – they sell in this market.


    Knowing a few things about battery packs I might look at this from a reliability perspective before starting a six sigma project. How old are the battery packs? What is their expected useful life? It’s a fact that rechargeable batteries degrade over time. They don’t recharge fully. They don’t hold their charge as long. Degradation can be accelerated by not letting them fully discharge before recharge or by fast recharge. It could be that battery packs are nearing end of useful life and should be replaced. Look into that first and then do a project to optimize procedures.


    Steve McMullen
    Reputation - 15
    Rank - Aluminum


    As stated, characterizing the batteries in the present state by each battery and who used it will go a long way to understanding the time in use. If they only last 1.25 hours for one operator and 2 hours for another on the same battery every time, that tell you have operator variation, whereas, if the same battery consistently gets only 1 hour of use, that may tell you that its a weaker battery. Since it is very unlikely that the batteries are entirely equal, I expect the cells within the battery pack to also be causing some of the issue when battery is weak. Cells can provide a different capacity and thus the weaker cell controls the output of the battery pack. If you find this situation, some battery service is in order. Anyhow, good luck and re-post if you find any other anomalies.



    first find a solution with respect to battery expiry.since yu have large number of forklift see availability of each forklift .and note which is having less availability and attack on those problem.which is battery related .specific causes are absent then make a control chart for each forklift for runtime for a month which includes people name, shift , battery,


    data collection about the demographics and other X’s can lead to best solutions–not a precanned solution often sold by vendors.


    @ghanghash Have you done a search on battery maintenance. I did a quick search and in a couple minutes there were article that speak to when a battery is charged, when to add water, etc. Maybe some basics while you collect some data?



    Your problem is a very real issue in wharehousing. Collecting data on your processes is an important function as an overall approach. How many different makes of forklifts do you have? Is there a difference in battery life based on vehicle maker? What is the standard practice for forklift operators? What is the expected life of the battery based on manufacturers recommendations? Is it a function of load or time?
    As someone mentioned a gauge indicating battery charge is a good idea however, these type gauges are normally unreliable.
    Who exchanges the batteries? Is it the driver or a individual? Does your standard practice require operators to plug in and recharge station at the end of shift? What is the age of your batteries? Lithium batteries outlast NICAD batteries what type do you use.
    As you can see I have offered more questions than solutions but data is needed to really address this issue.


    Another factor is going to be whether you are operating 24 hours/day, or if there is significant downtime to fully charge the batteries. If the forklifts are constantly operating around-the-clock, the heat buildup will affect battery charging and life, as well. Proper labeling of the batteries and rotating charging times should impact the battery life, if not, it is time to consider batteries/charging systems. Sometimes you have to Design, Measure and Analyze several times before you get to the Improve and Control stages.

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