Selecting The Best 6-Volt Deep Cycle Battery For Floor Scrubber Machines

Cleaning companies that rely on deep-cycle batteries to power their floor scrubber machines worry when battery power fades before the job is done. Because deep-cycle six-volt batteries take several hours to fully charge, it can mean lost time and money whenever a floor scrubber is down.

This is why it’s extremely important to select the right deep-cycle battery with a run-time that matches the average length of time floor scrubber machines are on duty. To do this, it requires more than just comparing the ratings on the labels and finding the least expensive battery.

Getting optimum power for floor scrubbers, start by determining the correct size, voltage and ampere hour (AH) capacity required for your specific floor cleaning machine.  Compare this information to the battery manufacturer’s rating charts to determine which battery provides the proper voltage, AH capacity, and/or runtime that matches your application.  If you’re comparing batteries from different manufacturers, it’s important to carefully check the information to be sure you’re comparing apples-to-apples.

Battery cycle life ratings are often based on selective data from the manufacturer.  Typically, cycle life ratings are determined by the depth of discharge (DOD), which is the percentage of AH capacity discharged from the battery during each discharge.  As an example, a battery with an 80 percent DOD has only 20 percent of its capacity left. Most battery manufacturers recommend a 50 percent DOD for optimum cycle life vs runtime, but cycle life can be quoted at a wide variety of DOD ratings. This can result in what appears to show a longer cycle life for one battery type over another but may not be an accurate comparison. When comparing cycle life ratings, make sure they are rated using the same DOD.

Because test methods, temperatures, charging algorithms, and charging methods all affect cycle life, relying on printed ratings shouldn’t be your only point of reference. Generally speaking, less expensive batteries may have fewer or lighter internal components (lead plates and plate construction) and may have shorter cycle life in the same application due to greater DOD.  Batteries with more or heavier plates will typically have longer cycle life but will also cost more initially.

Putting this in perspective, a deep-cycle battery with a lower capacity might be a better choice for a company with a cleaning machine that is used occasionally, or for jobs that take less time.  Cleaning companies or rental fleets with cleaning machines that see heavy cycling, a deep-cycle higher capacity battery would benefit them by providing longer run times and lower DOD resulting in longer cycle life. One might be less expensive initially, while the other may last longer and need to be replaced less often, especially if the batteries also receive regular maintenance.

All that being said, when comparing battery brands and run-times to determine which one will be best, be sure to understand the differences between your application and standard test conditions.  Manufacturers test batteries in laboratory environments that are intended to simulate actual conditions encountered in a variety of applications.  These conditions may not perfectly duplicate those in your application, but by understanding the differences, the best comparison can be made.  If possible, take notes on usage patterns, charging practices, and battery maintenance frequency and compare with the battery manufacturers’ recommendations.  Ultimately you may find that one brand stands out from the others and offers you the best performance-per-dollar for your application.

Battery Powered Floor Cleaning Machines Gain Popularity

Battery-power is an increasingly popular option when it comes to floor cleaning, and according to cleaning industry experts, there will be more options and availability in battery powered units to contract cleaners and facilities managers. Battery powered floor cleaning machines are primarily powered by flooded lead-acid batteries that industry-wide, remain as the most affordable and cost-effective method to power these machines. But there are also other advantages that the industry is experiencing with battery powered cleaning machines.

According to Natalie Dowse, Marketing and product manager for Truvox International Ltd., a manufacturer of cleaning machines in England, the major benefit of battery-powered floor cleaning machines is their ability to reduce the risk of trips and falls. With no trailing cables and leads to cause hazards in the workplace, either to people using the building or to cleaning operatives themselves, health and safety can be improved. In addition, Dowse says that machines without leads are not only safer, in terms of reducing trips and falls, they are also easier to maneuver, and transport to and from different locations.

While risk reduction is definitely a benefit, the industry also looks to these machines as a way towards improving sustainability and impacting the environment. According to 2018 North America ISSA president Paul Goldin, he believes this has a major impact on the cleaning industry and wants to improve education in this area and continue to have strong ties with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

Helping in this effort is the fact that flooded lead-acid batteries are recycled at a rate nearing 100-percent, according to the Battery Council International. With high sustainability and extremely low impact on the environment, the cleaning industry can also see reducing its carbon footprint on the environment by utilizing more battery powered cleaning machines.

As battery power grows in popularity, it’s also important for maintenance companies to realize that battery-maintenance is essential for longevity and keeping costs low with this type of equipment. Proper maintenance includes checking battery water levels and refiling when necessary. This process can be simplified with the use of Single Point Watering Systems that allow water to be added to several batteries from one single inlet source, and stop once all the battery cells are filled. Proper charging techniques and making sure batteries are not discharged to levels of more than 50-percent are ways to make batteries last longer and that they continue to provide longer run-times between charges.

With a variety of benefits, there’s clearly a shift towards using battery power that can help the cleaning industry change how it’s viewed, its safety record, and an environmental leader.

 

U.S. Battery Attending The 2018 ISSA North America Show

U.S. Battery will be attending the ISSA North America Show in Dallas, Texas, to showcase a variety of deep-cycle battery products for the cleaning industry. Show attendees can learn the best ways to achieve higher reliability and longer operation times from battery-powered floor cleaning machines and equipment, by visiting the U.S. Battery booth #6155 during the show, which runs from October 30th through November 1st, 2018. The show brings the entire cleaning industry together that includes more than 9,200 distributors, manufacturers, manufacturer representatives, building service contractors, in-house service providers, residential cleaning, and associated service members. U.S. Battery is a global leader in providing deep-cycle batteries for the cleaning industry, as well as providing “green” and sustainable power sources for this and a variety of other industries. For more information, visit www.usbattery.com

Battery Powered Floor Cleaning Machines Need Clean Power Cables

Frayed or corroded battery cables and terminals may be the cause of poor performance on many battery powered cleaning machines. Here’s what to do.

One of the leading causes of poor performance from battery powered floor cleaning machines is corroded or damaged battery cables. Working under harsh conditions where exposure to moisture, heat, and wear, your cleaning machine’s battery cables, and battery terminals can become less conductive. In addition, poor connectivity can also be a result of over tightening, and constant vibrations. Therefore, it’s often best to check the condition of the cables every-time you perform routine maintenance on your vehicle’s batteries.

Topping the list for poor battery cable connectivity is over-tightening of the battery terminals. Battery posts are made from lead which can crack and break if the hardware connecting the cables to the posts are over tightened beyond the recommended torque specifications. If your cleaning vehicle’s batteries have been recently replaced or removed for any kind of maintenance, make sure the cables are attached using the specified torque recommendations from the battery manufacturer. Here’s an example of a battery data sheet indicating proper torque for one of U.S. Battery Manufacturing’s popular batteries for cleaning machines. 

Screen Shot 2018-08-17 at 9.20.15 AMCorroded cable connectors and terminals are another reason why your floor cleaning machine’s performance may be limited. The terminals and connectors can be easily cleaned by first spraying them with a solution of baking soda and water. Remove the cables from the battery terminals and use a small stainless steel brush with a wooden or plastic handle (to avoid any potential of arching). Gently clean the terminals and cable connectors before re-attaching them.

Improper connector assemblies can also be hindering your vehicle’s performance. Some cable connectors are crimped to the cable end, which can create a point of high resistance. If you notice some melting of the cable sleeve around that area, switch to a cable that has a mechanical connection (bolt attachment) or ones that are soldered together.

Undersized cables can also cause problems if they are not large enough to handle the vehicle’s amperage loads. If your cables are old and need replacing, check the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure that you’re using the correct gauge cables. The correct sized cable allows maximum flow of amperage from the battery to the motor and will also avoid meltdowns of the cables and terminals under heavy use.

Replacement Batteries For Floor Cleaning Machines

Maintenance crews are often on a strict schedule, so it’s vital that battery powered floor cleaning machines perform reliably and maintain full power throughout your cleaning schedule. This is one of the reasons why selecting the correct batteries for floor cleaning machines can be confusing. The least expensive batteries may not provide enough longevity, while the most expensive may hurt the bottom line of your company’s operating costs. There are some methods, however, to ensure you get the right balance between reliability and cost.

Choosing The Right Battery

When selecting a replacement battery it is important to refer to the manufacturer’s specifications.  These can be different for various floor machines such as Tennant, Nilfisk Advance, Factory Cat, Global Industrial, PowerBoss, Karcher, Minuteman International, and others.

As an example, the Nilfisk Grey Line Sweeper Scrubber SR models, run on a 24V system. Units like the SC1500 requires four, 6V 200 amp-hour batteries. U.S. Battery’s US 2000 XC2 or US 2200 XC2 are ideal for these power requirements. The Nilfisk SC600, however, runs on the same voltage system but requires four 255 amp-hour, 6V batteries. U.S. Battery’s US 250 XC2 would provide the best solution for these modes. In all, these examples, these batteries provide a great balance between cost and long-lasting performance.

Maintaining Batteries For Longer Life

To get the most performance from your batteries, it’s also important to commit to a regular maintenance regimen such as:

  1. Checking and replenishing the electrolyte levels. Installing a BWT or Flow-Rite single-point-watering kit can make this an easy and quick process.
  2. Performing an equalization charge
  3. Checking and Cleaning battery terminals and connections
  4. Performing an opportunity charge when possible

For a full list of proper Deep Cycle Battery Care & Maintenance procedures please see our Care & Maintenance page or download our Care & Maintenance brochure.

U.S. Battery Deep Cycle batteries are handcrafted in the U.S.A. The batteries also feature our exclusive XC2 formulation that gives them the highest initial capacity, fastest cycle-up time to full-rated capacity, improved recharge-ability, and the highest total energy delivered than any battery in their class. For a complete list of Flooded Lead-Acid or AGM batteries for cleaning machines download U.S. Battery’s Sweeper Scrubber Battery flyer to see all of the models, sizes, and specifications available to fit your particular vehicle.

 

Is Your Floor Cleaning Machine Undercharged?

Ninety percent of the problems maintenance crews have with their battery powered floor cleaning machines, is that they run out of power before they have time to finish the job. This is due to improper charging, where the batteries are not given enough time to reach full capacity and are starting the work day in an undercharged condition. If this is a constant problem, it can eventually lead to batteries that go bad before they need to, and this can be a costly addition to battery replacement costs.

There’s an easy way to find out the battery’s state-of-charge (SOC) with a simple hydrometer.  First, make sure your floor cleaning machine is equipped with the correct deep-cycle batteries for that application. Using the hydrometer requires gloves, safety glasses and should be done in a well-ventilated area. Measuring the SOC of each battery cell and comparing hydrometer specific gravity readings to the specifications found on the battery manufacturer’s website, you’ll be able to determine if the battery is charged or undercharged. If it’s undercharged it’s imperative to give the batteries additional charging times. If the cleaning machines are always in use, try to find times to give them additional charge time during lunch breaks, or when workers may not be using the machines. This will ultimately extend battery life and increase the run times of the machines and add to productivity.

If, however, the batteries are charged for a long period of time and never seem to become fully charged, it can be an indication of other problems in the battery, or with your charger’s algorithms. Check with the battery manufacturer is these problems persist. For more information and tips to improve battery maintenance visit www.usbattery.com.

Visit U.S. Battery At The 2017 ISSA/Interclean Show North America

The 2017 ISSA/Interclean Show North America will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada September 12th – 14th. It’s the world’s largest trade show for the cleaning and facility solutions for the industrial cleaning & supply industry. U.S. Battery Manufacturing is one of more than 700 exhibitors at the event and will be showcasing the company’s products for battery powered cleaning machines and vehicles. U.S. Battery’s sales and marketing team, as well as the company’s engineers, will be available to provide ways on how to maximize performance and extend battery life with battery powered cleaning machines. The U.S. Battery team can also show attendees how to minimize downtime on battery powered machines and provide greater insight into reducing annual operation costs. Visit U.S. Battery at booth #3677 and see what the company can do to help make your cleaning vehicles more efficient.

Visit U.S. Battery at the ISSA/Interclean 2016 Trade Show Booth #442

 

Corona, CA – U.S. Battery is attending the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA/INTERCLEAN) show in Chicago, IL October 26th-28th. Attendees are invited to visit U.S Battery’s booth #442 to learn how U.S. Battery deep-cycle flooded lead-acid , and AGM batteries can help exceed performance capabilities in commercial floor cleaning applications.

The ISSA/INTERCLEAN Show allows U.S. Battery to meet with, and provide support for national and global representatives within the cleaning industry. The company’s products are available in both six and twelve -volt configurations, and feature extra heavy duty connector lugs, a durable polypropylene exterior case, and the company’s  SpeedCap® positive locking venting system for easy maintenance.