Posted February 09, 2022
Having an efficient commercial floor cleaning machine can have a big effect on the efficiency of your business and employees. Shorter periods of downtime can leave more time for effective cleaning and having the right power source can improve the performance of that machine 10 times over. Lithium batteries can improve power, run time, longevity, and downtime when charging, which will certainly improve the overall efficiency of those floor machines and machine operators.
Switch To Lithium Batteries
The life of your commercial floor cleaning machine can greatly depend on the type of battery that is installed. Selecting the right power source can be tricky if you don’t have the right information in front of you. Lithium batteries offer several key advantages over lead-acid for floor machines:
- They are zero maintenance
- More battery capacity for longer run times
- 10x the battery cycle life
- They take up less space and are much lighter in weight
- They charge up 6x faster
Lithium floor cleaning machine batteries require no maintenance as there is no adding water, having to maintain charging capacity periodically or excessive cleaning around the terminals. The best way to prolong the life of lithium batteries is also through proper charging techniques as they can be sensitive to heat due to the movement of lithium ions. It is best to store them in cool, dry, temperatures.
AGM and GEL Lead Acid batteries require specific maintenance practices to keep them in good shape. They discharge at a much quicker rate and need to be monitored so that the charge capacity doesn’t drop below a certain point. They also take longer to charge and can be easily damaged by opportunity charging. Lead-acid batteries also obtain corrosion around the terminals over time and need to be cleaned so they perform accordingly.
Traditional wet lead-acid batteries typically provide around 80% capacity when brand new. They work up to their full capacity and remain there for a couple of hundred cycles and then decline over the next couple hundred cycles. AGM or Gel lead-acid batteries will provide their full capacity when brand new and steadily decline right away. Some Gel batteries will maintain their full capacity for a few hundred cycles but then rapidly decline.
For example let’s say you had two floor cleaning machines, one with lead-acid batteries and the other with lithium iron phosphate batteries. If you use LiFeP04 batteries, you’ll get about eight hours of running time and as a bonus, your floor machine will be much lighter and easier to manoeuvre. With the same lead-acid battery set-up, you’ll only have two hours of running time and your machine will weigh a ton.
Battery cycle life is the amount of time you can charge and discharge your battery before it gives up and needs to be replaced. LiFeP04 batteries provide up to 10 times more cycles than lead-acid batteries. Lead-acid batteries will have around 300 to 400 cycles before they start to lose power and battery capacity. This means you’re replacing your batteries every 2-4 years, and replacing lead-acid batteries is not a fun task. Replacing batteries includes downtime, heavy lifting, and disposal that no business wants to have to deal with frequently.
Lithium batteries can fit much more energy into less space than lead batteries. Consequently, they take up less space in your commercial floor machine, allowing for a lighter, better design, and improved manoeuvrability from OEM’s.
Most large commercial floor scrubbers require a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of charge time before they are up and running. Lithium batteries can handle a higher amp rate from the charger, allowing them to charge up to 6 times faster than lead-acid. RELiON InSight 24V lithium batteries can be fully charged in as little as 1 hour. In comparison, lead-acid battery chargers slow down significantly at around the 85% capacity mark to top off the remaining capacity.
Lithium batteries are the fastest charging batteries on the market and longest-lasting. The charge/ discharge cycle of lithium-ion batteries is between 2000-5000 cycles compared to 200-500 cycles for lead-acid batteries. Additionally, RELiON lithium batteries are not negatively impacted by “opportunity charging,” making them even less maintenance and easier to care for.
Check Out How To Install InSight Series™ Batteries In A Commercial Floor Scrubber
What is Opportunity Charging?
Opportunity charging is charging your batteries before they reach their minimum charge. In other words, plugging the battery in to charge for a brief period and not allowing it to fully charge. Opportunity charging is most often done on a machine that comes equipped with an onboard battery charger. On-board battery chargers allow batteries to be charged at any available 120V outlet. This practice can shorten the life of lead-acid batteries but doesn’t affect lithium batteries.
Lithium Batteries Can Maximize ROI
Essentially, having the right battery for floor scrubbers and sweepers in addition to proper maintenance and care, directly affect ROI. Having the right kind of battery can reduce downtime, keeping employees working longer, which could be a direct link to revenue. For example, LFP batteries are some of the most expensive batteries on the market but, due to the length of their charge cycles, they do not need to be replaced as often, and there is no maintenance involved, making them much more cost-effective. Having lithium power in your floor scrubber or sweeper also means a better return on the investment your business makes when installing new batteries.
In addition, choosing the right battery for the machine can directly affect increased productivity and efficiency. Cleaning staff can get more done in less time by having a machine that provides more constant power and is lighter for easier maneuverability. There is a lot to consider when it comes to understanding batteries for automated floor cleaning equipment.
LiFeP04 batteries can offer up to 50% in overall savings compared to lead-acid when you consider the total cost of ownership. Reduced maintenance, battery replacement, labor, and charging costs all add up to substantial savings. Important things to note when figuring out initial costs are the expected life of the battery, number of charges, and disposal. Even though a battery may have a lower price point initially, the long-term care, durability, and disposal of the equipment could end up costing more than a battery that costs more upfront.
If you want the most out of your industrial floor cleaning machine, the best way to get instant results is by switching to lithium batteries. The number of benefits you get increasingly outlast the initial upfront costs. If you have any questions about how to explore the power of lithium in your floor machine, please reach out to a Vigor Systems team member and we will be able to get you set up the right way.