By Tim Wittig
As schools and universities across the nation slowly reopen after the prolonged shutdown that began in March 2020, facility management operational policies and procedures for disinfecting will be employed to help ensure the health and safety of returning students, educators, administrators, and staff. In fact, according to a recent report in Education Week1, more than $100 million of the Government’s $2 trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Bill will be used toward cleaning service support for schools throughout the United States. This funding, coupled with thorough and more frequent cleaning protocols, will ultimately result in an increase of Janitorial and Sanitation (Jan/San) demand. Considering the potential increased usage of floor care machinery, the selection of a reliable battery power source—one that can deliver consistent performance throughout a shift, or across multiple shifts—is critical.
Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) batteries are constructed with pure lead plates. Pure lead plates are extremely thin, therefore more of them fit into the battery, resulting in up to 20% more power compared to traditional flooded lead acid batteries of the same size. This high power-density design delivers longer runtimes for more productive hours on the job. With an appropriately sized charger, they can be charged in less than two hours and are optimized for opportunity charging during breaks and at the end of a shift. They can even be put back into service before they are fully charged.
TPPL batteries also have the capacity to deliver more cycle life, therefore reducing battery replacement costs. They have a low self-discharge rate and high storage life, with the resilience to perform after months of inactivity—a key feature for equipment that has been sitting idle since stay at home orders were put into place.
Batteries manufactured with TPPL technology are also virtually maintenance-free. They never require watering, battery cleaning, or long equalizing charges, which not only saves time spent on labor-intensive upkeep procedures, but also eliminates the risk of damage from acid spills on floors and carpets. Plus, due to their sealed construction, they emit minimal gas and are ideal for sensitive environments, including schools and universities.
Protecting the public’s health and safety during the COVID-19 global health crisis has compelled educational facilities to adapt to new procedures to comply with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. The importance of maintaining as sanitary an environment as possible to deter infection will necessitate increased floor care applications. TPPL batteries are a reliable power solution for more frequent and widespread use of this equipment.
 Evie Blad, “Here’s What the Coronavirus Stimulus Bill Means for K-12 Education,” last modified March 27, 2020, ”https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2020/03/27/heres-what-the-coronavirus-stimulus-bill-means.html.
Wittig is General Manager, Motive Power Specialty Markets Americas, at EnerSys®.