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Both methods are designed to get DC equipment up and running faster—and keep it running longer—than with conventional charging. So which is best for your operation? Demand for longer-running lift trucks has given rise to opportunity charging and fast charging of batteries, both of which are aimed at expediting the charging process, reducing downtime, and freeing up space for other activities when compared with conventional charging. The ultimate goal? Getting warehouse and DC equipment started up even faster and running longer throughout the day to increase productivity. While interest in both methods is creating industry buzz, it’s also driving the need for increased education on the part of battery and charger manufacturers and their dealers. “It’s common for customers using conventional charging to want to go to opportunity or fast charging, but they don’t know if it’s a good fit,” says Jeff Harrison, business manager for Troy, Ohio-based charger manufacturer Ametek-Prestolite Power. As a result, suppliers say they’re spending considerable time going over the what, why, and how of opportunity charging and fast charging with customers. So what do these terms mean and how do the various methods stack up? What follows is a look at the key differences between conventional charging, opportunity charging, and fast charging and what may be right for your operation. SPEEDING UP THE PROCESS In a nutshell, opportunity and fast charging speed up the battery charging process. Along the way, they also help eliminate some of the labor and maintenance associated with conventional charging. For most of battery history, conventional charging was the only way to charge a lead-acid lift truck battery. Simply put, with conventional charging, a facility has one or more batteries that are “changed out” when they are drained of power—that is, they are removed from the lift truck and connected […]
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