Charger with sealed AC cord for use inside a Class 3 forklift battery tray
Delta-Q Technologies Corp has created a sealed, latching AC electrical cable to overcome the problem of disconnection between electrical components on forklifts and aerial work platforms.
The battery charger specialist began conceptualising the idea in 2010, but real development started with Delta-Q engineers' first prototypes of the AC cable in mid-2013.
The cable underwent shock and vibration tests to make sure it would stay in place and meet safety and performance requirements of the Canadian Standards Association and UL LLC. The cable needs to withstand high-pressure water spray for an Ingress Protection 66 rating on its sealing.
"Anecdotally, we've heard that about 10% of AC cables installed with onboard chargers will disconnect periodically," says Eric Petz, product marketing manager for Burnaby-based Delta-Q.
"Delta-Q has extensive experience in providing onboard chargers, and this is an issue with a lot of different types of equipment - lift trucks, aerial work platforms, floor cleaning machines, golf carts and others," Petz notes. "This is a nuisance, since onboard chargers are often installed in tight spaces and reconnecting the AC cable can be difficult for an end-user who is not familiar with the installation. What matters to the end-user is that their charger doesn't work, and it takes time and effort to figure out why."
Currently, some manufacturers will source a locking cord, but this solution doesn't seal dirt or water out of the connection point, according to Delta-Q. Some manufacturers also use unsealed tie wraps to lock a cable in place, but this solution is neither simple nor consistent in implementation.
Industrial battery specialist EnerSys of Reading, Pennsylvania understands the problem.
"Some of our Class 3 lift truck battery designs that incorporate onboard chargers are placed in applications that test their limits," says Tim Chrusch, product manager at EnerSys. "They can go on the back of delivery vehicles and experience extreme amounts of vibration or placed in environments where they are exposed to the elements. If something like an AC cord is not secured properly, they will find their way loose", disabling the charger.
"Water and dirt can also affect the charger's function, so it's useful to have sealing that keeps those elements out," Chrusch notes.
Delta-Q markets the solution along with its IC650 charger to original equipment manufacturers for inclusion in delivery of forklifts and other industrial electric-drive machines such as aerial work platforms and stock pickers.