You must manage and maintain industrial batteries in order for them to perform optimally and for a longer period of time. The two significant practices of maintaining batteries include adding the electrolyte and proper charging routines. However, there are more maintenance practices that you should consider.
The following article will give in-depth information regarding the battery life cycle and preventing battery damage.
The Life Cycle of a Battery
A battery passes through three phases:
- Formatting. Requires an average of 50 cycles to reach its maximum capacity.
- Peak. Features about 100-200 cycles before a decline.
- Decline. It occurs when capacity drops below 70%
To keep your battery in optimal condition, ensure you charge for around 16 hours to guarantee full charge. The main reason batteries reduce performance is the depletion of the inner cell plates and active material.
Other conditions that affect the battery over time include:
- Shedding and internal short
- Water loss
- Surface change
- Acid stratification
- Most of these issues can get dealt with through proper handling and maintenance practices, which we will cover below.
Types of Batteries and Their Maintenance Tips
Flooded Lead-Acid Batteries
If you do not take good care of flooded lead-acid batteries, there is a high probability of experiencing two damage mechanisms:
- Sulfation. When you add antimony to each plate, you enhance durability and strength. Consequently, the battery increases its self-discharge rate. If it remains in this discharged state, it will sulfate. This condition leads to reduced capacity and shortened cycle life.
- Stratification. This occurs after sulfation when the dense sulfuric acid drops to the bottom leaving water at the top. The acid attacks and destroys the base portions of the plates inside the battery.
To avoid the above issues, deliver an equalizer charge to ensure the water and sulfuric acid get mixed thoroughly. It guarantees fully charged cells and maintains the required level of the electrolyte – a quarter from the vent. The electrolyte should cover all cells. You can then store your battery.
During storage (idle-period), read and record the voltage in all the battery’s cells – Individual Cell Voltage (ICV). There should be a difference of 0.04VDC among the cells. Evaluate the cells with the highest and lowest voltage, and record the specific gravity (sg). If the specific gravity is less than 1.240, boost charge the battery.
If you store the battery in an area with more than 27 degrees, ensure you boost charge it after every two months. High temperatures enhance stratification and self-discharge. Before you place the battery into service, boost charge, verify the water level and reconnect it to peripheral devices.
The Procedure of Removing Lead-Acid from Service
- Deliver equalizer charge.
- Connect the battery to the charger.
- Manually press the equalize charge button.
- Ensure proper electrolyte level when you complete delivering equalizer charge. It should be a quarter below the vent well. If not, add distilled water.
- Disconnect all peripheral devices.
- Clean the top of the battery using a neutralizing agent
- Store the battery on a battery rack. The place should be dry and have an ideal temperature of 25 degrees to enhance battery safety.
- Monitor the battery monthly.
- Boost charge to prevent stratification and self-discharge.
Return to Service
- Deliver equalizer charge
- Verify electrolyte level
- Reconnect peripheral devices
Thin Plate Pure Lead Batteries
Thin plate pure lead has a longer shelf-life than regular lead-acid batteries. However, you have to store the battery when it is full of charge. These kinds of batteries do not require antimony and, therefore, have a slow discharge rate. They do not stratify because they feature an absorbed glass mat that prevents the water and sulfuric acid from disintegrating.
After every three months during the idle period/storage, record the cell’s voltages. If the ICV of any cell reads 2.12 VDC or lower, deliver an equalizer charge.
The Procedure of Removing TPPL from Service
- Connect FLEX profile charger. Enable automatic refresh charge. The charger automatically recharges the battery and prevents self-discharge and parasitic loads.
- If you cannot configure the charger, deliver equalizer charge, verify electrolyte level and disconnect all peripheral devices.
- wipe the top of the battery
- store the battery in a cool and dry rack (ideal temperature is 25 degrees)
- check individual cell voltage after every three months
Return to Service
- Check ICV
- boost charge if ICV is less than 2.12VDC
- reconnect peripheral devices
Recharge Your Battery When It Falls Below 20%
Do not let the battery power drop below 20% before you begin to charge. If it discharges completely, it harms the battery, consequently downgrading its endurance and performance. There is also a high likelihood that it will overheat and damage the electric circuits.
Allow Your Battery To Recharge Fully.
Ensure the battery charges to full power without any interruption. The lifespan of a battery is directly proportional to the number of times it gets charged. Avoid:
- Charging for a short duration and then disconnecting multiple times a day
- Charging before the battery gets drained more than half of its power.
Failure to observe the above points causes a short battery life and decreased performance rate.
Avoid Extreme Temperatures
High temperatures reduce battery life. If the ambient temperature hits 92 degrees, it can reduce the lifespan by 50%. If you operate your machinery at high temperatures, ensure you use a battery designed for those extreme conditions.
Do Not Charge the Battery When You Take a Break.
Indulging in opportunity charging or abrupt charging reduces the battery lifespan. For example, if the battery is manufactured to have 1,500 charges, charging it often will reduce these numbers rapidly. By charging it more than once a day, you reduce its lifespan by half.
Get the most out of your battery by allowing it to charge without interrupting the charging cycle.
Clean the Batteries Each Month
Regular cleaning enhances battery safety. Use warm water or battery cleaner to wipe the top of the accumulator. The exercise should be carried out monthly. It is often a neglected exercise but crucial as it helps eliminate tray corrosion. Failure to clean your batteries may void your manufacturer warranty.
Preventing battery damage to begin with is the best way to extend the life cycle of your battery. The following are tips for regular maintenance that should take place in order to keep a battery in peak condition for as long as possible.
Check Your Battery Water Level
The battery water level should be set to a particular setting (check manufacturer recommendations). Add distilled or deionized water after every 5- 10 charging sessions. You should add the water after the battery has fully charged, not before. If you come across white crystals around the lead plates, seek the services of a battery engineer immediately.
Deliver Equalizer Charge if Necessary
Many industrial batteries require this feature to perform optimally. It is a deliberate overcharge. Batteries that require equalizer charge have a button that you must manually press to turn it on. The process takes a long time, and there is a high probability of overheating. Ensure you monitor the whole procedure to help prevent any battery damage.
If you have any doubts about the need to deliver equalizer energy, how to go about the process, or how often to do it, check your manufacturer instructions for further insights.
Turn Electricity Off and Let the Battery Cool before Removing It
Only switch the power off when your battery gets fully charged. It will only run more efficiently if it has a full charge. It also reduces the number of times you will charge it, consequently increasing the lifespan.
Give the battery ample time to cool off before placing it back into service. You reduce the risk of damaging the battery and the electrical circuit.
If The Battery Overflows, Clean It Immediately
When you are refilling the battery with acid, there is the risk of an overflow. The acid or electrolyte will spread across the surface of the accumulator. It may lead to corrosion and harm when it comes to contact with your skin. This means you need to clean it immediately after an overflow occurs.
Failure to clean the overflow may deteriorate the battery life. It may also lead to overheating when charging or in use.
Use a Neutralizing Detergent When Cleaning the Battery
Cleaning the surface with a detergent prevents grime build-up. Clean the accumulator after filling it up with an electrolyte. It ensures you do not have to repeat the process when there is overflow or water drips.
When cleaning, wear protective equipment and clean the battery in the designated area. The main aim of the detergent is to ensure no acidic elements remain on the surface. You can use the specified cleaner or baking soda. Cleaning is an efficient way of preventing corrosion. It also helps prevent short circuits.
Restrain From Using a Battery That Discharges Smoke
If the battery emits smoke while in use, switch it off and remove it immediately. Using the battery again may cause damage to the electric system or harm you when you inhale the harmful gases.
Adding the Electrolyte While Undertaking Industrial Battery Maintenance
The electrolyte found in battery cells is a water and sulfuric acid solution, plus additives. Due to the excessive heat produced when the accumulator delivers power, the evaporating water gets lost through vent holes.
The loss of water affects the electrolyte chemical balance. Add water regularly to enhance performance and maximize battery life. Be careful not to overfill during the process.
An Insight on Flammability
Industrial batteries disperse highly flammable hydrogen gas during charging. Reduce the chances of a fire outbreak by keeping sparks, metallic objects, and flames far away from the battery. Wear protective gear like protective gloves and safety goggles when undertaking maintenance routines.
Heavy use of batteries shortens the lifespan. It may include using the battery for long hours without rest or operating under extreme temperatures. To prevent heavy use, acquire two or more batteries that you can interchange when one runs out of charge. It allows you to charge the other battery to capacity and also gives it time to cool.
Establishing an efficient procedure for proper industrial battery maintenance is crucial in establishing a safe and productive working environment. To bolster a dependent maintenance schedule, design clear charts and assign specific individuals to carry out the tasks. Additionally, ensure you follow the above tips and get the guarantee of an extended lifespan.