Manufacturing facilities generally use numerous electric-drive industrial trucks (such as fork lifts) for moving parts and equipment in a factory. Until recently, the several-hundred-pound battery packs on these trucks had to be removed for recharging – usually every shift. This required a battery charging room and extra batteries, often two or more per truck. PosiCharge battery chargers allow the batteries to be recharged during naturally occurring breaks in vehicle usage without having to remove the batteries. A battery charging room and spare batteries are no longer needed, and the new battery charging system, besides being enough faster to allow this innovative approach, is also 10% more energy efficient.
To provide sufficient charge during the brief breaks in manufacturing usage, the charger must charge the battery as rapidly as possible, but without overheating or damaging the battery. To achieve this, the PosiCharge’s microprocessor identifies the battery being charged, controls its temperature during charge so it doesn’t overheat, assesses its health, records its history, and identifies any needed maintenance.
Following extensive trials, Ford Motor Co. has now installed PosiCharge in 18 of its manufacturing plants, with plans approved to fully convert all North American facilities as soon as possible. Ford projects the conversion project will have a short 14-month payback and save about $2 for every vehicle produced in North America. Even the heaviest duty industrial trucks in Ford plants, which previously required internal combustion engines because batteries couldn’t last through a shift, are being converted to electric drive thanks to PosiCharge. Now several other large users of electric industrial trucks, including North American operations of Toyota, Hyundai, and Daimler Benz, have also converted or are converting to PosiCharge.