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AMETEK Prestolite Power celebrates 100 years

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

This year marks 100 years since Prestolite Power industrial battery chargers first set the global industry standard. Originally manufactured by the Hobart Brothers Battery Charger Division, its first charger, the HB Battery Charger, was built primarily by skilled laborers, who witnessed firsthand the very beginning of the technology.

When the industrial battery charger industry began one hundred years ago, battery chargers basically consisted of a motor that generated an electrical charge. They were all mechanical and very inefficient at charging batteries. American manufacturing was at its height of importance, and companies often employed the entire population of some small towns. While times have changed and assembly lines have been updated with the latest technology, the early adapters of battery charging technology developed the core methods that are still used.

Today, AMETEK Prestolite Power offers the broadest range of industrial motive power chargers for lift trucks, forklifts and other utility vehicles used in manufacturing, distribution, BigBox retail facilities, warehouses and more. Improved data collection, application of precise controls and high efficiency now serve as the cornerstones for battery charger technology across the industry. Fleet management software and cloud based software is also vital to maximizing warehouse efficiency as it allows the operators to see the status of which batteries are losing charge.

Prestolite’s most recent industry advancement was designed specifically for the needs of a market no other battery charger manufacturer had addressed. It is the Atlas charger, a sturdy, cost-effective option tailored for lift truck batteries operating for the Latin American market, where power supply can often be unreliable. The Atlas charger is tough enough to withstand harsh warehouse environments and challenging manufacturing conditions.

The Atlas charger is designed to meet the significant demand for 208 and 240 AC voltage chargers. It uses advanced IGBT high-frequency power conversion circuitry to provide efficient, dependable service. The charger has been simplified to produce more power from the same form factor and features a single DC voltage and DC amp-hour output. It also does not require additional programming, as the unit’s configuration allows the display to be available while lift truck operators work.

What does the future look like in the battery industry? As the supply chain has expanded considerably globally, so has the demand for product increased, which has led to more pressure on warehouses to run as efficiently and smoothly as possible. Jim Lichtenberg says, “AMETEK Prestolite Power foresees efficient battery chargers that can reduce downtime, last as long as possible and use the least amount of power possible playing a key role in sustaining and maximizing productivity within warehouses around the world.”

That is why Prestolite Power has concentrated its efforts towards its opportunity charging concept because it is crucial in warehouses today as it leverages a lift truck operator’s break time to recharge battery power while the batteries are still in the lift truck. It also wirelessly keeps track of efficiency, existing power and other key parameters that help a warehouse run smoothly with reduced downtime and significantly less space.

Fleet management software and cloud based software is also vital to maximizing warehouse efficiency as it allows the operators to see the status of which batteries are losing charge. Prestolite Power has positioned itself to stay ahead of the impact that new technologies is having on warehouse operations by striving to continue to advance its battery management system technology. This monitoring technology helps prevent over-charging batteries, which can ultimately lead to a shorter battery lifespan, by constantly tracking battery conditions and making sure the charger terminates on target.

Since its inception, Prestolite Power has sought to provide innovative, industry-leading products that help its customers maximize productivity in their environments, and its plans for the next 100 years include paving the way for the pursuit of the needed advancements in battery charging technology.

AMETEK Prestolite Power also just presented its top dealer partners with awards in April at its Annual Dealer Meeting held at the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami, Fla. The company is very proud of the quality of its dealer network, which continues to deliver leading edge solutions to this very competitive market.

“Celebrating this 100 year milestone for Prestolite Power, it is evident, now more so than ever, that the longevity and success Prestolite Power has had is made possible by the solid relationships it has with its customers and dealers,” adds Jeff Harrison, Director of Marketing and Sales for AMETEK Prestolite Power.

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