Any electric forklift can be easily converted to use a lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery pack as its power source, according to CHASE Technologies General Manager Brent Frazer. “The biggest criterion is to manufacture the ballast tank according to minimum weight requirements, which is traditionally inherent in the heavy lead acid battery. The client simply gives us weights and dimensions and we design and manufacture the solution.”
For very large orders, CHASE Technologies orders ready-made custom-built tanks from the factory, which means that the LiFePO4 battery pack becomes a simple ‘drop-in’ component, ensuring quick turnaround times. Once the battery packs have been assembled, it is a simple PDI process to check that all of the plugs are correct and that the chargers are working properly.
Frazer points out that CHASE Technologies takes particular pride in its tank-fabrication capability. It always ensures that any tank it manufactures and installs fits snugly enough so that there are no niggling rattles, for example. “We seal everything and even place a rubber mat underneath the battery to prevent any metal-on-metal contact. This is testament to our attention to detail and guarantee to our customers that they receive the highest-quality battery packs.”
In terms of warranty issues, Frazer highlights that this remains unaffected by converting the power supply from lead acid batteries to LiFePO4. The only difference with the CHASE Technologies pack is that it comes with a separate control display used to switch the battery on and off, which is also an added safety measure. “A development we are working on is to integrate this display with that of the client’s forklift,” reveals Frazer.
“What tends to give LiFePO4 a competitive edge in the marketplace is that, in many instances, clients import forklifts without batteries, as it is far more cost-effective to source these locally and also receive any back-up if required,” adds Frazer. Another service offered by CHASE Technologies is that it can customise the spray-painting of its fabricated tanks in accordance with specific customer branding requirements.
This makes the conversion process a ‘no-brainer’, he stresses. “The industry needs to understand that it is a really simple process. All we need are the weight and dimensions of the tank and the battery ampere hours, which allows us to provide the equivalent LiFePO4. We even produce the necessary technical drawings if any tank has to be manufactured. The end result is a complete solution for the client that allows them to take full advantage of the cost-saving and energy-efficiency benefits of LiFePO4 technology,” concludes Frazer.