Reconditioning Lead Acid Batteries for Forklifts

Evergreen Industrial Batteries

7. Affordable and Clean Energy 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Overview

Evergreen Industrial Batteries prevents lead acid batteries from being smelted before their usable life is over. They also work with companies that use these batteries to improve the efficiency of their battery usage. In doing so, they are working to protect the environment by reducing the number of these batteries that will be disposed.


Authors

Cena Hilliard

Cena Hilliard

Shaylynn Green

Shaylynn Green

Vaishak Siddaraju

Vaishak Siddaraju

School

Case Western Reserve University - Weatherhead School of Management

Case Western Reserve University - Weatherhead School of Management

Professor

Scot Lowry

Scot Lowry

Innovation

“Our business is an essential part for a company that uses forklifts but we’re never part of their core business” said Jeremy O’Reilly, company president. EIB supports companies that choose to use eco-friendly electric forklifts which offer a cleaner, quieter alternative to gas or diesel-powered lift trucks. Since EIB is able to purchase used batteries that would otherwise be disposed of and recondition them to service, they are reducing the impact of these batteries on the environment. Reconditioned batteries are less expensive than new batteries so they save customers money. As a value-added service, EIB will work with clients to assess their usage of the batteries and can make suggestions about how to more efficiently use the batteries they already have. Forklifts are often used for short periods but are used frequently. Companies will run three shifts and don’t have the ability to charge the battery for eight consecutive hours, so they often believe they need a second battery. EIB shows them how to take advantage of the idle time between jobs. By putting a charger next to forklifts when idle, they can take advantage of down time instead of purchasing a second battery. Customers save money and from a sustainability standpoint, fewer batteries are sent to the smelter. EIB ultimately saves the customer money and reduces pollution.

Reconditioning Lead Acid Batteries for Forklifts

Inspiration

O’Reilly expressed passion and demand when talking about the genesis of this innovation. He explained that he and his stepfather saw a need in the market for a cleaner energy solution for forklifts and more efficient battery use to lessen waste. EIB is committed to quality, collaboration and its customers. O’Reilly explained the company culture as “Leaders Eat Last,” describing the goal to reduce fear of taking risks in the organization and establishing psychological safety.

Overall impact

EIB has had a major impact on the environment. They utilize 1000 amps of AC power, six cranes, and a staff of 19 to process more than 30 batteries per day. EIB helps to reduce the number of batteries that go a smelter where old batteries are melted down to extract precious metals that can be repurposed. The process is very bad for the environment. EIB reduces the number of batteries that are smelted by adding “several years of life” onto the battery by finding other markets that could use the rest of what is left of the battery before pitching it and buying a new one. EIB is also helping to save the environment by encouraging the use of electric forklifts, and helping companies use them more efficiently. For instance, if a company has forklifts in their manufacturing plant and notices that one forklift battery is not sufficient for the day, they may decide to add an additional battery to the forklift. EIB would assess the usage of the forklift’s battery and make a suggestion such as putting chargers at the forklift docking stations to allow for charging during idle times of inactivity. This will prolong the life of the battery and reduce waste of batteries and harmful pollution from smelting.

Business benefit

O’Reilly started the business with his stepfather who understood that there was more demand for reconditioned forklift batteries than there was supply. Their initial business model was to act as a “broker” between the owners of old batteries and the potential buyers of repurposed batteries. Things went well initially, but about 18 months into their operations, they were experiencing issues with the quality of the batteries that were causing warranty issues which negatively affected irnprofit margin and reputation. “We had no control over the product and had to own the quality. We. were not sure whether or not we were going to be in business for much longer,” O’Reilly said. EIB had to pivot from being a broker to owning the reconditioning process. To address this issue, EIB decided to buy another business and rent a warehouse. They took on the task of reconditioning the batteries themselves so that they could ensure the quality. They began hiring staff and now employ 19 people and operate in 28,000 square feet of warehouse space. Business is thriving and shows no signs of slowing down.

Social and environmental benefit

EIB has had a major impact on the environment. It helps to reduce the number of batteries that go through a smelter where old batteries are melted down to extract precious metals that can be repurposed. The process is very bad for the environment. EIB reduces the number of batteries that are smelted by adding “several years of life” onto the battery. This additional life is added by finding other markets that could use the rest of what is left of the battery before pitching it and buying a new one. EIB is also helping to save the environment by encouraging the use of electric forklifts, and helping companies use them more efficiently. For instance, if a company has forklifts in their manufacturing plant and notices that one forklift battery is not sufficient for the day,they may decide to add an additional battery to the forklift. EIBj would assess the usage of the forklift’s battery and make a suggestion such as putting chargers at the forklift docking stations to allow for charging during idle times of inactivity. This will prolong the life of the battery and reduce waste of batteries and harmful pollution from smelting.

Interview

Jeremy O'Reilly, President

Keep this story going! Share below!

Evergreen Industrial Batteries

Evergreen Industrial Batteries

Cleveland, OH, US

Business Website: https://www.evergreenindustrialbatteries.com/

Year Founded: 2010

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

Evergreen Industrial Batteries serves the material handling industry. They purchase used lead acid batteries used in forklifts and refurbish them to extend their lifetime. These batteries are sold to companies that need them at a discounted price.