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A deeper look at battery cycles

07 March 2013

Trojan Battery discusses battery technology choices for floor sweepers and scrubbers

Trojan Battery discusses battery technology choices for floor sweepers and scrubbers

A multitude of challenges impact the floor cleaning industry today - from reduced budgets and tight schedules to increased environmental regulations, making battery selection critical to ensuring the reliable operation of floor cleaning machines. The demanding use inherent in floor machine applications requires powerful, deep-cycle batteries that provide maximum runtime and less downtime for maintenance. Deep-cycle batteries, whether they are flooded, AGM or gel types, are one of the best choices for floor scrubbers and sweepers because they are optimised for the deep discharge and recharge cycle characteristic of daily floor machine operations.

So what battery technology do you choose? There are two types of deep-cycle battery technologies available on the market today - flooded lead acid (FLA) and valve regulated lead acid (VRLA). Deepcycle flooded batteries are the most appealing due to their low initial cost and long life, but require periodic 'watering' to ensure the health and longevity of the battery. VRLA batteries, which include AGM and gel types, are considered maintenance-free because they contain no free-flowing electrolyte and require no watering.

Battery options
FLA batteries provide one of the best cycling performances of all deep-cycle battery technologies. They are a suitable option for a majority of floor scrubber and floor sweeper equipment where lowest initial cost is a key deciding factor. To achieve maximum potential cycle life, flooded batteries require periodic watering. The frequency is determined by how the equipment is operated and is based on individual use. However, Trojan Battery recommends that electrolyte levels be checked at least every two weeks to ensure optimum performance.

Trojan's deep-cycle flooded batteries featuring T2 Technology are engineered for sustained capacity and total overall ampere-hours, resulting in more operating power. Providing rugged durability, outstanding performance and long life, the batteries are suited for use in a variety of floor cleaning equipment applications.

If maintenance cannot be guaranteed on a regular basis, maintenance-free VRLA battery technology, such as AGM or gel, should be considered for floor cleaning applications. While maintenance-free batteries can provide more convenience, that convenience can come with a price. VRLA batteries are usually more expensive and may have lower cycle life when compared to FLA batteries. While VRLA batteries do not have openings to add water to the cells, they do 'off gas' so the location where the batteries are charged should have good ventilation.

Trojan's line of deep-cycle AGM and gel batteries is engineered for optimum performance and durability. As maintenance-free batteries, Trojan's deep-cycle AGM and gel battery lines feature design elements including robust plates, advanced separators, safety vents and proprietary paste and gel formulations to extend the life cycle of the batteries. They also are low temperature tolerant, shock and vibration resistant and have a low internal resistance for higher discharge current and higher charging efficiency.

'Trojan's advanced deep-cycle battery technology combined with its 85 years of expertise in the battery industry, make selecting Trojan for floor cleaning machines an easy decision,' says Stuart Dale, commercial director at UK Batteries, Trojan Battery's master distributor for the UK. 'Trojan's proprietary flooded, AGM and gel batteries combine rugged durability, long life and consistent performance, alleviating worries about performance of floor cleaning machines.' Top selection tips When selecting a deep-cycle battery, first determine the appropriate voltage and connections; this is usually set by the floor machine manufacturer. The floor machine manufacturer has also designed the floor machine to fit specific battery sizes, so be sure to check your floor machine owner's manual.

Next, consider capacity rating in minutes or ampere-hours (AH). You can refer to the capacity the equipment manufacturer uses as a baseline, but if your daily demand is more then you may need a higher capacity battery - if it's less you can use a lower capacity battery.

'When choosing the right battery for your floor machine, veer on the safe side and oversize a battery for capacity.

Under sizing a battery can result in unexpected downtime, while oversizing can only benefit you by providing longer operating time,' explains Gordon Beckley, Trojan Battery senior vice president of engineering and quality assurance.

It's important to remember that a flooded, AGM or gel battery is only as good as the maintenance it receives. Proper maintenance of these types of deep-cycle batteries will provide maximum performance and longer life - extending your overall equipment runtimes. Be sure to check your battery user's manual for proper maintenance procedures to keep your deep-cycle batteries running at optimum levels of performance.

Gaining a clear understanding of the various deep-cycle battery types and maintenance practices ensures that your battery-powered floor machines will continue to operate at peak levels of performance and reliability. With proper care and maintenance, an initial investment in deep-cycle battery technology can be extended as well as keep the total cost of ownership to a minimum, resulting in more uptime for your staff.