Industrial Battery Safety Tips for Summer Weather
Heat kills – and when batteries fail, so do your operations.
Industrial batteries are the heart of motive equipment. And your workers play a critical role in maintaining the operation of batteries and machinery.
But heat is dangerous for workers and batteries alike.
Heat led to over 2,800 injuries in U.S. workplaces in 2019, according to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics. And premature battery failure costs thousands of dollars in replacements – and downtime is even costlier.
In this article, you'll discover how to beat the battery heat, including:
- Why batteries hate heat (and how it affects you).
- Simple yet effective measures that protect your batteries.
- Easy steps that prevent common heat-induced battery failure.
- Newer technologies that monitor temperature and prevent battery overheating
- Practical tips to keep your workers safe this summer.
By the end of this article, you'll enhance operational safety while ensuring smooth, uninterrupted operations and longer battery life.
Step 1: Know your enemy
Industrial batteries are robust, but sweltering summer heat makes them vulnerable, often even more than human operators.
See, charging and discharging heat up batteries. And higher ambient temperatures, when intensified by direct sunlight, add to internal heat. That can push batteries toward their upper thermal limit.
Elevated temperatures can accelerate chemical reactions inside the battery, leading to overcharging, capacity loss, and even thermal runaway.
Your batteries will last the longest within their optimal operating and charging temperature range, which is usually between 20°C and 30°C (68°F to 86°F).
So how can we protect these essential batteries from extreme heat?
Step 2: "A pound of prevention:" Let's talk about Maintenance
Excessive heat accelerates chemical reactions inside the battery, leading to overcharge, reduced capacity, and shorter lifespan. It, in turn, leads to higher costs: early battery replacement, unplanned downtime, and even worker injuries.
To make battery maintenance quick, easy, and automatic, consider the SDS approach: Simplify, Document, and Schedule It. Check out this detailed guide on battery maintenance for practical tips that protect expensive batteries against common problems and improve ROI and reliability.
Step 3: Monitor and Control Temperature
You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know about it. Enter Battery Management Systems (BMS).
A Battery Management System (BMS) keeps track of your batteries' condition. By continuously checking parameters such as voltage, current, and temperature and making necessary adjustments – you can spot potential issues early… and protect its lifespan, ensure safe operation, and enhance performance.
Some BMS solutions are even equipped with thermal controls that mitigate overheating, ensuring your batteries operate within safe temperature limits.
In addition to maintaining battery health, a BMS can significantly enhance operational efficiency. Providing real-time data on battery status enables more informed decision-making, better maintenance scheduling, and improved warehouse efficiency. With a BMS, you can ensure that your batteries continuously operate in the "Goldilocks zone" - not too hot or cold, but just right.
Step 4: Embrace the Shade
According to research at the Berkley Lab, shaded surfaces can be 20-45°F (11-25°C) cooler than the peak temperatures of unshaded surfaces (https://heatisland.lbl.gov/coolscience/cool-roofs). Similarly, where you store and charge your batteries significantly impacts their temperature – and performance.
Fortunately, keeping your batteries cool and safe this summer doesn't need to be a Herculean task.
Simple measures like storing batteries in a cool, shaded area can make a significant difference. Use natural shade or shade structures if batteries must operate or be charged outside. These can reduce the risk of overheating and extend battery life.
And when possible, operate battery-powered machinery during cooling times of the day.
(If batteries do overheat, follow your safety protocol immediately - a swift response can mean the difference between a minor hiccup and a major incident.)
Step 5: Charge Smart with IHF Chargers
Charging practices also play a significant role in maintaining your batteries during the summer heat.
Unlike traditional chargers, IHF Chargers (Intelligent High Frequency) can adjust charging profiles based on battery temperature, helping to prevent overheating and extending your battery life.
And chargers like Crown Battery's PowerHouse series have added features like data transfer and system analysis.
The result? Optimal charging, enhanced battery performance, and longer battery life.
Smart chargers are more energy-efficient than their conventional counterparts, so they use less electricity – which shaves your operating expenses.
(If you’re tired of excessive charging times and inflated energy costs, click here to see whether PowerHouse IHF Chargers can improve your efficiency, battery monitoring, and lifespan – in any weather.)
Step 6: Keep Workers Safe
We can’t discuss summer heat and battery safety without mentioning the workers running your operation.
We’re betting you already know the basics: Ensure your team has access to cool, shady rest areas and plenty of water. Encourage frequent breaks and educate them on the signs of heat-related illnesses like heat stroke.
And consider this comprehensive Summer Safety Guide from OSHA, which provides an invaluable checklist to help protect your workers during the hot summer months.
With knowledge, proactive management, and the right equipment, you can ensure that your operations stay efficient, safe, and profitable – no matter what the thermometer reads.
That saves you a lot of trouble – and cost – in the future. And your team, your batteries, and your balance sheet will thank you.
Now that you've beat the summer heat, why not stay ahead of the competition with more insider tips, industry updates, and expert advice? Sign up for the Crown Battery blog below to ensure your operations are always running at full power.