With dozens of options & rarely a straight answer, it's sometimes difficult to know exactly which batteries to use in your fleet of cleaning machines.
Here at DBS Energy, your battery power partners, we like to make things easy. Recently, we sat down with our three most experienced battery bods – Stuart James, Paul Anderson & Chris North – to talk Leoch, battery dilemmas & the importance of pure primary lead.
What are the most frequent questions you hear from customers?
PA: The main questions I get asked when talking to a customer are about the manufacturer and the battery warranties; people are always looking for better warranties, which come with upgrading to a better battery technology. Leoch is a major player in battery manufacturing, but a lot of people outside of our industry haven't heard of the name.
SJ: The reason that Leoch isn't as well-known as some other battery manufacturers is that it has built its business around making batteries for other people – some of the leading names in the battery world use Leoch's technologies, but you'd never know! Until we came along, Leoch hadn't had a dedicated UK distributor – it has 4 distribution points in the US so is better known over there, but UK-wise there was nothing. It's time for Leoch to step out of the shadows & we're here to show everyone just how good its products really are – it's the UK's best-kept battery secret. It's also the second largest multi-range manufacturer in the world & that's definitely something to shout about.
What are the biggest mistakes people make with their batteries in this industry?
PA: There are loads of mistakes that people make – one of the main ones is flattening a battery 100% before recharging – that drastically reduces the life span. But there are certain technologies that can cope better with this than others.
CN: Other mistakes people make – using the wrong size of battery, using the wrong charger, not topping up a flooded battery and not putting the battery on charge after a day's cleaning.
SJ: From talking to people in the industry, we've realised that good advice is hard to come by – none of the big-name battery manufacturers have truly given this sector the attention it deserves, so it's hardly surprising that people continually make the same mistakes. This is where we can make a difference.
How can people get the best performance from their batteries?
SJ: By not overcycling the battery, charging it as often as possible using the correct charger and by setting the charger to the right settings. Educating the people using the machine is key. Switching to a better technology will also reduce the potential for damage.
CN: Often people come to us with a specific battery in mind, not knowing that there are better options available. Quite a few people are still using basic traditional flooded batteries, which have to be topped up. If a flooded battery is serviced properly, it performs fantastically – but it's difficult to keep tabs on maintenance, particularly if you're a contractor.
PA: Obviously, the problem with topping up is that a cleaning machine will often be used by numerous different people. Some of them will look after the battery, but often the battery won't be maintained properly, which causes it to fail prematurely – users just want to come in, plug it in and go. And then there's the problem of not being advised properly on the best battery for the job.
So, on that point, how do people know which battery is the best for them?
PA: By coming to talk to us – each situation is unique! If you want the best results, we need to have a detailed explanation of the situation, including the run-time needed & the environment that the machine is being used in.
SJ: With each customer, we go through a process of 'sizing' the battery. By 'sizing', I don't just mean looking at the physical size, we also look at the technology – Flooded, AGM, Gel – plus the construction of the battery & the details of the application. For instance, if you're only using the machine for a couple of hours a day, you won't need something large & ultra-deep cycling.
CN: Almost without exception, customers will find that an AGM or Gel battery will perform better than a Flooded battery as they're maintenance-free, which gets rid of the problem of servicing.
SJ: If you're looking for the ultimate deep cycling battery, then Gel Tubular is your star technology – it can reach 1500 cycles at 80% Depth of Discharge and although we never advise flattening a battery to 100% DoD before recharging, Gel Tubular is far more robust than other technologies in this situation. An AGM battery will only reach around 500-600 cycles at 60% DoD – that makes Gel Tubular around three times more cost-effective per cycle as it's only a fraction more expensive on purchase.
What machines can DBS Energy provide batteries for?
PA: We can cover pretty much every machine that an individual working within this industry would use – from scrubber dryers & burnishers at the smaller end, to walk-behind & ride-on machines at the larger. Leoch's current range has a 99% fit for floor cleaning machines - we have 2V, 6V & 12V batteries available. Even if someone wants something unusual, we can source it by making use of our wide array of contacts.
What are the advantages of 99.99% pure primary lead technology?
SJ: All Leoch batteries use 99.99% pure primary lead – it's a long-standing feature. It means they charge better, don't release toxic fumes and are more efficient & reliable than batteries using recycled lead. The use of pure primary lead also prevents the battery heating up too quickly, reducing the risk of thermal runaway, which can destroy the battery.
A lot of other battery manufacturers, particularly in the Far East & Eastern Europe, use recycled (secondary) lead. The problem with recycled lead is that it contains a lot of impurities – bits of plastic plus other metals & substances work their way into the smelting process. The problems with recycled lead ultimately run far deeper than just affecting battery performance – smelting certain plastics can release harmful chemicals, such as benzene, and the amount of energy and resources it takes to process the recycled lead makes it far less green than primary lead.
What are the top battery ranges for the Cleaning & Maintenance sector?
PA: Battery footprint is the deciding factor in finding the correct range for use in your machines. Our Monobloc batteries are a great fit & offer five different technology combinations – FFP (serviceable), FTP (serviceable), AGM (maintenance-free), GFP (maintenance-free) & GTP (maintenance-free), so people can pick the range that suits them, though we always recommend looking at something that is maintenance-free, to reduce hassle.
SJ: Leoch is the only manufacturer to make batteries in all five of these technologies. The GTP range is unique to Leoch; no other manufacturer offers Gel Tubular in 6V & 12V cells as well as 2V. Gel Tubular pairs the sturdiest plate formation with non-spill gelled electrolyte developed by leading battery chemists & is our premium lead acid choice. It also comes with a market-leading warranty of up to 5 years.
For further information
If you're wanting to get more out of your batteries, give DBS Energy a call or email us on email@example.com. We will price match any leading manufacturer for a better product, like for like.
Looking for the full cleaning solution? Leoch's sister company, Marshell, manufactures a range of electric vehicles, including floor sweepers. For more information, visit: http://www.marshell.net/en/products/green-industry/cleaning.
DBS Energy will be at the NEC for the IMHX Exhibition from 13th – 16th September on Stand 08B27.