The high cost of low price

September 01, 2014 by Kirsty Adams
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Investing in new equipment – without fully understanding the financial implications – could cost your operations (and your bottom line). Derek Anderson, managing director of industrial battery and charger specialist PowerCell, explains how.

Every company is looking for ways to reduce its overall expenditure, while increasing productivity. But these good intentions can quickly come unstuck.

For those responsible for investing in new equipment – particularly those not involved in day-to-day operations – it’s tempting to focus solely on price for ‘quick wins’ that delivers immediate savings.

But a lower price-tag doesn’t mean that you or your business will retain those savings in the long term. You may end up with products that are not as efficient or reliable or – worse still – are not even suitable for your needs.

Whether you are purchasing a new piece of equipment or replacing existing items, it’s important to consider the impact of your purchase on day-to-day operations.

By identifying your potential long-term cost savings, you can ensure your operations benefit from the best possible solution – while minimising any post-purchase issues.
Nowhere is this truer than with electric power, where your battery represents a significant investment – up to 15-20% of the value of a new fork lift truck.
It should contain your fuel for at least the next five years, but aggressively priced packages can include the cheapest battery and charger options. Typically, an inferior quality battery contains lower quality lead, and, on occasion, less of it. This lead tends to degrade faster, yield less charge and deliver a lower number of overall cycles.

A low-cost battery does not respond well to accidental under- or over-charging and, as the charge capacity drops, its utilisation plummets and it begins to fail.
Chargers are another critical aspect of your forklift expenditure, but the importance of achieving an optimum pairing with the battery is often overlooked to achieve the lowest initial purchase price possible. However, getting this right from the outset will guarantee your operations benefit from significantly lower whole-life costs and raised efficiencies.
When it comes to chargers, it’s all about the quality of the charge itself. The best models on the market deliver improved energy efficiency, deeper charges, longer run times and more energy for every penny.  
The latest intelligent solutions combine the robustness and reliability of 50Hz transformers with the benefits of inverter technology – achieving 95% efficiency (compared with just 70-85% from conventional chargers).

These smart chargers automatically recognise the age, state and charge level of any battery to deliver the precise, correct charge every time – eliminating the dangers of over- and under-charging – two factors which can shorten a battery’s service life.
What’s more, because the process is truly intelligent, a consistent power level is assured throughout the entire charging process – resulting in a battery reaching full charge more quickly.

As well as dramatically reducing energy consumption, these new chargers reduce costs per cycle, optimise shift lengths, cut CO2 emissions and can increase battery service life by up to 25%.

At PowerCell, we work in close partnership with our customers – from dealers and manufacturers to end users – to meet the precise needs of their equipment and their operations. Through this, we achieve the best possible long-term outcomes, by reducing their energy bills, honing maintenance regimes, maximising battery life expectancies and keeping operations running at optimum efficiency.

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