If there’s something every business needs in our 21st century, it’s power. If you’re plugged in, you’re getting it from the power point, and when that fails, switch on the generator. For everything else, we’re rapidly becoming reliant on batteries.
In the past decade, battery demand and production has surged, leading to an almost 90% drop in battery prices. Beyond your mobile, your flashlight and your starter motor, the next generation of batteries will power your electric vehicles and even store your energy as we race away from fossil fuels. And with greater battery use comes greater battery testing.
And for businesses that depend on batteries for efficiency, productivity, mobility, sustainability and a raft of other essential benefits, battery testing is in fact nothing short of crucial.
What are battery testers?
“What are battery testers” is a little like the question “What are sports?” In other words, as the list of battery technologies grows, so too does the list of battery tester types. Some batteries last a week; others years. Some require a lot of power to charge; others much less. Some store a lot of energy; others an awful lot more than that. Some are big; some are small. Some are lithium; others lead-acid. You get the picture.
So while it’s tempting to just say battery testers test the health and energy-storage capacities of batteries, it’s more complex than that as we head into the future. Sophisticated battery testing routines might be looking into energy capacity at various charging or discharging rates, others will investigate internal resistance or impedance, while cycle life, battery robustness, heat generation and more are also relevant.
Therefore, a more pertinent question to pose is: Why does your business need to get the right battery testers up and running and part of your daily operations?
Have you ever showed up for work, pressed the on-button on the computer or turned the key on the forklift … and nothing happens? With battery testing as part of normal maintenance operations, it means you’re keeping an eye on one of the key metrics that keeps the heart of your business beating. Get it wrong, and fail to see a failing battery in the works before it actually runs out of juice, and the word ‘downtime’ simply means ‘lost dollars’. Get it right, and even looming battery failures won’t stop your production or profits for even a minute, because routine battery maintenance is simply a part of the plan.
But as suggested earlier, battery testing does more than just give an early warning about a looming flat. There are now modern, digital and fully affordable battery testers on the market that as well as testing voltage and current also monitor things like internal resistance, strap resistance and even installation problems. These testers can give a visual representation of a range of battery performance metrics that make equipment troubleshooting easy, especially as these metrics can be stored and tracked over time in a database that can be shared.
When a vital piece of business equipment does fail suddenly, that’s bad news. But even worse news is when you’re not sure why. It’s never a given that when that forklift won’t turn over, it’s definitely the battery that has let you down. For other systems that run through battery usage at a greater rate, it can be even more tempting to throw away a perfectly good set of batteries even though the problem was caused by something completely different. By the time you’ve figured it out, you haven’t just wasted perfectly good money, you’ve thrown away a lot of productive time, too.
Routine and regular battery testing is also a wise business operation for worker safety (in the event of dangerous failures), liability (if those failures lead to injury or damage), and just common-sense diligence and cost efficiency (because emergency repairs are always more expensive and disruptive than routine ones). Healthy batteries are also simply better and more efficient for your expensive and productive equipment, which when all put together means that a suite of battery testers is in fact just as important as the batteries, tools and machines that make your operations happen.