BITA issues lithium-ion guidance

The British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) – the UK trade association for manufacturers and suppliers of fork lift truck and associated components and services – has published a Guidance Note for all users and potential users of lithium-ion traction batteries.

With a considerable upswing in the take-up of lithium-ion-powered industrial vehicles – including powered pallet trucks, tow tractors, scrubbing machines and lifting platforms, as well as forklift, and reach trucks – BITA has produced the publication to offer comprehensive guidance concerning the specification, transportation, storage, charging, handling, use, inspection, maintenance and disposal of this type of battery.

In an industry that has been a long-time user of battery-powered vehicles, albeit of the lead-acid variety, there are many significant differences in the properties of the two types of batteries. In some cases, their differing characteristics are so significant that users need to have clear information to ensure their safe and efficient operation. Many operational requirements are fundamentally changed for li-ion compared with lead acid, and, to provide clarity, this new guidance is separated from BITA’s long established, and well respected, Guidance Note GN 68 ‘Lead acid traction battery applications’.

BITA has led the way in publishing what it considers to be the most comprehensive independent advice currently available. Whilst much of the information will be of interest in all markets, it also contains information specifically applicable to the UK.

David Goss, BITA’s Technical Manager and the man responsible for leading the team that created the document, said: “UK take-up of lithium-ion technology was initially quite slow, but we are now seeing tremendous interest in the benefits that lithium-ion battery technology offers. These include ‘opportunity charging’, low maintenance and improved efficiency. However, there are some important dos and don’ts regarding the technology; BITA’s latest Guidance Note sets these out in plain English, providing invaluable, impartial advice for all users.”

BITA’s Guidance Note GN69 ‘Lithium-Ion Traction Battery Applications’ is free to BITA members, and available at a nominal fee to all from BITA’s website