Tce | How do you monitor a hire fleet? With the right battery! Flash Battery explains
29/04/2021 – Tutto Carrelli Elevatori
Hire organisations are always worried about how their machines will come back and how they are used by customers.
The hire company can stipulate all the contractual clauses, return conditions, and deposits they like, but there is always a real risk of machines coming back in terrible condition, with all the associated financial implications.
Hire machines that come back damaged, at best cause lost income during the time required for repair (which is an additional cost in itself), while at worst the machines have to be scrapped.
For hire companies it always represents a capital loss.
Remote monitoring systems capable of constantly and remotely reporting the state of health of a vehicle can help solve this problem, offering a dual security:
Electrical industrial machines fitted with Flash Battery power packs enjoy this advantage because these batteries have a built-in remote monitoring system that offers significant advantages for monitoring a hire fleet and its operating efficiency.
Remote monitoring is one of the hinge pins of Flash Battery technology, the lithium battery system for industrial machines and electric vehicles famous for high energy performance. Below we will see how this makes Flash Battery a very effective instrument for monitoring a machine hire fleet and particularly effective for solving some of the typical issues in the industrial hire world.
Flash Battery packs have an automatic predictive diagnostics system that operates entirely remotely, from the Flash Data Center. This system ensures constant monitoring of batteries and enables predictive maintenance in order to avoid machine stoppages.
The hire company can determine the state of the batteries installed on hired machines at any time.
If, for example, a customer is not correctly charging a machine, or the battery is subject to some form of excessive stress, the hirer can identify this and intervene.
Another aspect of battery monitoring is the availability of battery life data with fully automatic daily monitoring of operating parameters.
These data represent a valuable asset for a hire company, enabling them to make accurate and realistic assessments of the condition of a machine, even though they are not the actual users. It is well known how difficult it is to establish the condition of a machine without direct experience and a knowledge of its history. These data fill this information gap, which would normally be achieved from experience, with the additional advantage of being objective and abundant (more than 100,000 logs are recorded every day). The data can be used to generate statistics and for analyses to establish how machines are being used, as well as a customer’s energy needs.
Each individual data item is reported to the Flash Battery Service Center through an automatic alert system that monitors each individual parameter (faults, temperature, errors).
Hire services are often referred to when special machines are needed on a one-off basis and so by implication the users are often not experts.
Flash Battery is once again ideal in these circumstances.
The batteries have certain characteristics that make the technology, although advanced, very easy to use.
Flash Battery units do not require maintenance, they are provided with a highly efficient balancing system that keeps each individual cell balanced, guaranteeing maximum battery autonomy.
The Flash Balancing System is patented by the company and ensures that the lithium cells comprising the battery recharge as evenly as possible, with a balancing capability 20 times faster than normal lithium systems. This maintains optimum autonomy for the battery and consequently for the vehicle it powers. The Flash Balancing System acts during both battery charging and discharging, keeping the charge levels of each cell uniform.
This makes charging extremely safe with almost non-existent degrees of error, even for the most inexpert of operators.
Safety cannot be underestimated when hiring out machines.
Using electrical vehicles in safety implies compliance with certain precautions: the less precautions that need to be obeyed, the easier it is for personnel to operate in safety.
Unlike other cell types, lithium batteries do not require specially fitted charging areas, charging rooms are unnecessary, and maintenance and installed system costs are zeroed.
This aspect alone makes machines fitted with lithium batteries much more attractive than the alternatives.
Flash Battery is designed around 3 key safety factors:
The chemical compound used in Flash Battery is LiFePo4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate), which is known to provide reliable excellent performance combined with high stability. This decision was derived not only from a study of the chemistry of the material, but also from laboratory stress tests to understand the behaviour of the batteries in extreme situations, like short circuiting.
Safety is incorporated into the assembly method by putting the smallest possible number of cells (4 at the most) in parallel.
Control electronics is the third safety factor, coordinating the battery pack like a brain. This system monitors the internal temperature of individual cells, dialoguing with the vehicle and battery charger, and capable of suspending charging or discharging in potentially critical situations.
Flash Battery became aware of hire-related issues through direct experience with operators in the sector.
Some of Flash Battery’s earliest customers in the aerial work platform market included leading manufacturers (Platform Basket, Cela, Easy Lift, etc.).
They directly indicated the main problems in the hire market, which derived mainly from the lack of care and inexperience of final customers.
“Flash Battery’s technological approach to PLE,” explains Marco Righi, CEO of Flash Battery, “derives from specific assessment of the problems of the hire market indicated to us by manufacturers. In response to the lack of care of final customers, who are often inexpert, we responded by providing the simplest to use technology possible, that is also safe and does not require even minimal maintenance by users. To complete the picture there is also a weight reduction of about a third compared to standard batteries, which facilitates the transport of these often bulky industrial machines. It is fair to say that to some extent Flash Battery evolved in line with the demands of machine hire”.