Advances in battery technology have made it possible for facilities to tailor their battery-operated lifts to meet specific needs, according to Rotary Lift. For instance, some battery types are more suited for quick service applications than others.
What options are available for lift buyers? Rotary Lift has some tips. The company says it offers more battery-operated models than any other lift maker.
“Rotary Lift revolutionized the market in 2011 with the introduction of patent-pending Shockwave technology that makes its battery-powered two-post surface and inground lifts the fastest in the world. Shockwave technology is now also available on our light-duty four-post and alignment lifts,” says Doug Spiller, heavy-duty product manager for Rotary Lift.
“On the heavy-duty side, our battery-powered Mach Series mobile column lifts have long been preferred by heavy-duty customers for their speed and ease of use, and last year we introduced fast heavy-duty four-post lifts with DC power units. We know what it takes to build an efficient battery-powered lift, and recognize the significant impact choosing the right battery type and style can make for the customer.”
Rotary Lift engineers thoroughly cycle test lifts with a variety of battery types at Rotary Lift’s North American headquarters in Madison, Ind., and also monitor the performance of lifts in use in vehicle service facilities. Based on extensive research, they recommend two types of batteries for vehicle lifts:
1. Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM): While AGM battery technology is not new, its cost has only recently come down enough to make these batteries feasible for installation in vehicle lifts. AGM batteries are maintenance-free and offer longer battery life at faster cycle rates; however, they should be connected to an AGM-compatible charger to maximize their potential. For frequent-use, quick service settings where a vehicle is fully raised and lowered at least once every 15 minutes, AGM batteries may be worth the higher initial investment.
2. Flooded Lead-Acid: These standard batteries have wet cells that require monitoring and maintenance, but they offer an economical option for customers.
Once the type of battery is determined, the next step is to choose the style of battery that fits the particular service.There are two options.
1. Deep Cycle Style: Deep cycle marine batteries are the most commonly used batteries for mobile column lifts. That’s because they can operate for days or weeks between charges, meaning the mobile column does not have to be plugged in continually. This enables technicians to move the lift to a location that is convenient for the vehicle being lifted and then leave the lift in place for an extended period of time. Constant charging applications will typically shorten the lifespan of deep cycle batteries.
2. Starting Style: Standard car and light truck batteries are economical and powerful, providing the best bang for the buck for light-duty lifts under normal operation. They are ideal for facilities that can benefit from fast rise times, but that do not typically cycle the lift every 15 minutes. Automotive batteries should be continuously charged. Continuous cycling without a charger can damage these batteries.
Each of Rotary Lift’s battery-operated lifts comes with a smart digital charger that works with any of these styles and types of batteries. The charger not only senses the battery type, discharge rate and how close the battery is to fully charged, but also the ambient temperature, which can affect charge settings, according to the company.
“Some lift manufacturers ship all lifts with a basic charger and pre-determined battery installed, which limits the customer’s ability to choose the right type for his or her application,” says Spiller. “At Rotary Lift, we have learned that it is best to give the customer flexibility. That’s why our standard charger works with all of the popular lift battery options. All of our lifts can be shipped without batteries, enabling the customer to determine which style and type should be installed. Customers should consult their owners manuals for size and amp requirements.”
Rotary Lift is a brand of Vehicle Service Group, which is part of the Dover Corp.
To download a copy of the battery selection guide and to learn more about Rotary Lift battery-operated, heavy-duty lifts, visit the company’s website. The company also recently released a lift buyer's guide and top 10 lift safety tips; both are available for download from the website.