Convenience and control are two key words for any business, but for the materials handling industry and the time pressures inherent with having to undertake work either on an immediate response basis or during a limited timeframe, they take on an even greater importance.
“When it comes to warehouse machinery and ensuring it is ready for use whenever it is needed, convenience and control are vital factors,” explains Derek Anderson, strategic director for the UK’s largest independent battery sales and service supplier, ECOBAT Battery Technologies (ECOBAT Industrial).
“The ability to take greater control over the charge regime that can be applied to each and every machine will have a direct effect on its operational efficiency, as well as its length of service. The ECOBAT charger app, which we introduced in May, provided a step forward in the process, but the addition of our new WiFi charger range, takes things to a new level.
“These multi-voltage chargers, which can operate between 12 and 48-volts, can be changed via the app, as opposed to having to manually change the dip switches to make alterations, which makes them an exceptionally convenient option. This means that when swapping between wet and GEL batteries for example, there is no need to touch the charger to change the voltage or settings, it can all be done through a smart phone.
“Alongside this advantage, sits another major benefit, which is the ability to record and download the charge cycle information for each battery. This is a vital tool to ensure that they are being correctly charged and therefore their use fully optimised.
“Taking a GEL battery that is 60% discharged as an example, the normal recharge period would be 10-12 hours, any less and the battery will not be fully charged. With a normal charger, the charge cycle information isn’t available, whereas with the ECOBAT WiFi charger/app combination, the operator can access the details and verify whether a battery that is under performing is actually only doing so because it is not benefiting from a full charging cycle or is really reaching the end of its life.
“To fully understand how to get the most out of the batteries they use and subsequently reap the greatest return on their investment, operators in the materials handling sector really need to grasp what each battery is undergoing – its charging history – as this allows them to identify the issues and make the necessary changes to solve the problems. With this system, the information is instantly available in order for them to act proactively.
“Although the WiFi charger does require a dongle to enable it to connect with the smart phone, one dongle will work across multiple chargers, which again simplifies the process and also minimises the costs for operators.
“We are delighted to be able to offer our customers this useful battery management tool, which in addition to its adjustment options, also allows users to view safety guidelines, operational guides and trouble-shooting for common battery/charger issues. It is a genuinely added-value option for the ongoing maintenance and general upkeep of warehouse equipment and very much in keeping with our sales, support and innovation ethos.”
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