When selecting surface preparation equipment, contractors often consider the power source. For example, propane and battery-powered machines both have their merits. Propane fuelled machines don’t require access to electricity, so can work on remote sites. Alternatively, battery operated machines suit residential sites because they are quieter and don’t emit any fumes when used indoors. Considering the application is key, but businesses must also consider the lifespan of the machine and power source to reduce costs and maintain efficiency. Here Geoff Putz, vice president of manufacturing at surface preparation expert, National Flooring Equipment, gives some tips about how to extend the lifespan of batteries.
Little maintenance is required to run battery-operated machinery and businesses can easily extend the battery lifespan to improve return on investment and efficiency even further. Here are some common questions that operators have about maintaining the battery life of their machines.
Can I leave my machine plugged in while it’s charging?
Historically batteries were run down to the minimum level, left to rest, charged fully and then unplugged. This is not the case today. Advances in charging technologies means that the battery will not be damaged if the machine is left plugged in because the technology knows what percentage it is charged and maintains the levels better.
Why is my machine running out of battery when it says it’s fully charged?
Operators commonly see the battery indicator reading 100 when a National Flooring Equipment machine is charging, but this only reflects the amount of voltage in the battery, not the level of charge it has. The charger indicator will blink green once the battery is 80 per cent charged and go solid green when it is fully charged. To fully charge a machine, it can take four to ten hours, depending on the type of machine and age of the battery.
Can I replace my battery myself?
All National Flooring Equipment battery powered machinery includes an absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery because it can withstand the high impact environment of the surface preparation industry. Customers or our repair team can easily replace batteries, if the right voltage battery is acquired.
Customers might want to cut costs by replacing the battery with a cheaper acid jelly, lead acid or lithium technology battery, from their local automotive shop. While it might seem like the cheaper option in the short term, these materials will not withstand the impact of operation — the equipment and application will damage these batteries in several weeks. If this occurs, the battery acid could leak onto other components in the machine, causing extensive and costly damages, so we strongly advise customers only use AGM batteries.
Battery operated machinery currently has lower operation and maintenance costs, so businesses should take time to consider what option would work best for their applications and requirements. If contractors choose a battery-powered machine, proactively maintaining the battery is key to fewer replacements and better efficiency.