Operators can sample a battery device next month that could save thousands of dollars in maintenance costs based on fleet size.
A new industry vendor, Canadus Power Systems, plans to demo its HD-1224 desulfator during LCT-NLA Show East in Atlantic City, N.J., Nov. 8-10. The desulfator extends the life of batteries, and by extension, alternators, starters and headlights. It can reduce by up to 75% electrical system failures and emergency road repairs. As a result, fleet operators see fewer breakdowns, towing charges, and downtime while gaining productivity per driver and vehicle. For single batteries in a luxury limousines, the savings could average several hundred dollars per year per vehicle. For buses with multiple batteries, savings could reach $500-plus per year per bus.
“For an industry that prides itself on customer service, being able to significantly reduce luxury bus and limo downtime improves vehicle reliability, thereby keeping customers happy,” says Dr. Jack Scott, CEO and founder of Canadus Power Systems.
Cost savings can be noticed in as short as three-months, but typically takes three to six months. Exact savings depends on the number of batteries, and the sizes and ratings of alternators and starters.
How It Works
About four-fifths of batteries eventually fail because of sulfation, in which hardened lead sulfate crystals form that a normal charging current can’t break down. Batteries then lose capacity over time.
HD-1224 stands for “Heavy Duty” 12- and 24-volt systems. The desulfator is compatible with all lead-acid batteries, such as flooded cell, maintenance-free, and AGM. Its versatile technology can be adapted to a wide range of battery types, from a two-volt battery on a coal mining helmet to a 250-volt, 20,000 pound battery on an underground coal hauler. One desulfator can handle up to six vehicle batteries on a 12-V or 24-V circuit, as it senses voltage and runs accordingly.
The desulfators apply electrical pulsation technology whereby a small amount of energy produced by the alternator is reconfigured to give voltage pulses at a level far higher (> 2x) than what the alternator can put out. This occurs in short, high frequency bursts. These pulses attack sulfation and keep the battery plates clean. A sulfated battery takes longer to charge, and often misses the “disengagement” voltage of the alternator. So the alternator runs until it finally breaks down.
The HD-1224 prevents or reverses sulfation so that batteries accept a charge and reach the alternator’s “rest” voltage, extending the life of the alternator and its drive belt. For alternators and alternator belts, a weak battery cannot turnover a diesel engine quickly enough for starting. Extended cranking at low voltage (and resulting higher current) wears on the starter motor, which generates heat and breaks the starter. By maintaining batteries at peak voltage, the HD-1224 maximizes cranking power and boosts starter life expectancy.
Scott, who has an engineering science degree in metallurgy, developed expertise in electro chemistry during his career, working in the primary and secondary metals industries. In 2000, he learned from a former co-worker of a company called Solar Tech Products in Winnipeg, Manitoba, that had developed the first battery desulfator. The company invented the desulfator in response to a need for batteries with longer lifecycles that can endure extreme cold. Scott and his partners acquired the U.S. marketing rights from Solar Tech in mid-2000, and in 2002, formed a company called Canadus Power Systems that bought the assets of Solar Tech Products. Since then, Scott and Canadus have improved the desulfator by investing $6 million in R&D and arranging nine more patents. Canadus has two patents pending, plans to file three more, and has patented the desulfator in several countries.
“Our product is state of the art,” Scott says. “There’s nothing like it because of patent protection. While it might seem like a simple device, there are certain things about other products that don’t function as well in a vehicle’s electrical system. They might be cheaper, but you won’t get the battery longevity and the longevity of the electrical system and electrical system performance.”
While the desulfator attaches to a battery, it affects the performance of the alternator, starter, lights and electrical system. That “duty cycle” varies depending on the type of vehicles, such as a truck, forklift, motorhome or limousine. “You have to look at all the components and make sure the battery is getting a full charge and not taking more energy out of it than putting back in so the desulfator works optimally.”
Canadus Power Systems focuses on three key market areas: OEM line production; OEM aftermarket pushing out to select stores; and individual aftermarket dealing directly with companies and dealers. So far, the first two segments generate about 95% of sales.
“Our interests are completely aligned with the OEMs,” Scott says. “They want a reliable, quality product.” OEMs are motivated to avoid warranty claims on starters, batteries, alternators, or electronics.
Canadus achieved a breakthrough in August when a European-based, Class-8 truck manufacturer awarded it a four-year contract for 2016-2019 model vehicles. [Scott could not disclose the contractor at press time pending final arrangements]. Canadus will produce about 80,000 units per year for the OEM and anticipates exposure to other OEMs worldwide.
“One of the challenges we’ve had is establishing credibility,” Scott says. “You can’t just put it out there and a day later everyone knows it works. You have to test it and educate customers. You have to look at performance of the battery and electrical system over time.”
The desulfator can be adapted to truck fleets, construction equipment, municipal bus fleets, motorcoach fleets, emergency vehicles, recreational vehicles, and most chauffeured transportation vehicles.
“We’ve done all kinds of crazy things for customers,” Scott says. “We can develop solutions for customers that depend on the nature of electrical systems and the duty cycles. We ask, ‘What are you trying to accomplish?’ Then we design our products accordingly.”
Canadus is headquartered in Twinsburg, Ohio, with offices in Terrell, Texas. Desulfator components are made in the U.S.A. via contracted manufacturers. Pinpoint Marketing Team, based in Tuscaloosa, Ala., is the exclusive sales agent for all orders in the limo and bus markets.
How To Install
Limousine operators would find value in the HD-1224’s simple self-installation. “It takes only a few minutes to install,” Scott explains. “You have black and red leads. The black goes to the negative of the battery, the red goes to the positive. No special tools are required. You use a wire tie or two-sided tape to put on. The unit weighs only 2.5 to 3 ounces. I put it on my own car.”
Scott advises fleet operators to be aware of maintenance shops that want to install more separate parts to extend battery life instead of a desulfator “OEMs and end-users have interests aligned with us. This is like an insurance policy for battery and electrical system reliability, and reduced warranty claims.”
Originally posted on LCT Magazine