Fleet and equipment batteries, if properly maintained through a Battery Management Program, can far outperform the standard battery lifecycle, saving money in annual replacement costs and keeping downtime to a minimum.
Fleet and equipment 12-Volt lead-acid batteries, if properly maintained, can far outperform the standard battery lifecycle, reducing a fleet’s year-to-year battery consumption by 70 percent or more and keeping downtime to a minimum—if simple routine maintenance procedures are followed. Poorly or inefficiently managed battery maintenance leads to early failure and unnecessary replacement costs. It can also lead to “emergency” repair efforts and take away from a mechanic’s daily schedule and ability to perform other fleet maintenance tasks such as general troubleshooting and repair, ultimately affecting the fleet’s overall sustainability and vehicle readiness.
Implementing a Battery Management Program
A Battery Management Program (BMP) is essential to keeping existing batteries in pristine condition enabling fleets to keep rolling without battery related downtime. An innovative, cradle-to-grave BMP clearly defines procedures in handling and safety, preventative and corrective maintenance, testing and diagnostics, charging and ultimately battery replacement. Fleet and equipment managers should employ a series of high tech smart tools, including analytical testers, battery recovery chargers, battery stock maintainers and the installation of permanent desulfators to automatically keep batteries at peak capacity.
A diagnostic program allows batteries to be tested in order to receive a snapshot of their condition. It’s important to do this in conjunction with other scheduled maintenance so routine testing is implemented and combined maintenance savings are realized.
Preventative maintenance mitigates premature battery failure reducing maintenance and downtime costs. It includes checking and charging batteries prior to installation. It is common for new batteries to sit idle for months prior to installation; during this time they self-discharge. Therefore, it is important to ensure they are brought up to full charge again before they are installed.
Corrective maintenance is intended to identify and correct or reverse a problem that has already occurred. Identifying the problem allows you to ensure that procedures are put into place to prevent the problem from reoccurring. Some common battery failures occur as a result of parasitic drain, operator error, key off loads, lack of use and short engine run times. Premature battery failure has become an assumed cost of business, but it shouldn’t be. A properly implemented BMP prevents premature battery failure and leads to extended lifecycles up to five times that of the expected battery life.
A BMP Protocol is Simple
Step #1: TEST and RECOVER
Test each battery. It’s important to understand the state of your batteries with a detailed snapshot of their condition. This allows you to comprehend how they are being maintained and whether they can be recovered. If recoverable, return batteries to a pristine condition with a Recovery Charger. Seventy percent of ‘dead’ batteries can be returned to better than new condition resulting in less vehicle downtime, adherence to corporate sustainability goals and reduced maintenance costs and battery purchases. Recovering a minimum of 20 batteries typically pays for a complete package of BMP equipment.
Step #2: TEST and MAINTAIN
Test each battery to ensure batteries are ready to go back into stock. Then maintain in shop with a desulfating battery maintenance system to ensure new and restored batteries remain in peak condition until they are needed.
Step #3: TEST and INSTALL
Test each battery to ensure batteries are still in peak condition before installing. Install batteries in vehicles that have a desulfating maintenance system. This helps prevent future problems by keeping batteries maintained and free of sulfate buildup on the batteries plates and helps extend battery life up to five times.
Fleet and equipment batteries, if properly maintained through a Battery Management Program, can far outperform the standard battery lifecycle, saving money in annual replacement costs and keeping downtime to a minimum. Drastically reducing your battery budget is a great reason to introduce a BMP. However, a properly implemented BMP also supports corporations Green Product Policy by keeping all types of lead-acid batteries performing long past expected life cycles and out of the waste stream, landfills and smelters.
Zena Johnson is the Marketing Manager for PulseTech Products Corp., a leader in battery recovery, testing, maintenance and charging systems for the military, commercial and government fleets, companies and individual consumers. Responsibilities include Web site oversight, the e-commerce store, advertising, packaging, social media and printed collateral. Zena formerly worked at Fluke Networks as a Channel Marketing Manager and Amazon.com as a workflow analyst after graduating Cum Laude from the University of Washington with a dual marketing and management degree. She can be reached at [email protected]. For more information, visit www.pulsetech.net.