Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Fork Lift Truck Users Swapping Gas for Lithium Battery Power

Switch to Electric is a 'No Brainer'
Shipping News Feature

UK – The switch from diesel to LPG which occurred decades ago for many forklift users meant changing to a fuel which left less in the way of fumes and particulates hanging in the warehouse air. However the hot exhaust gases still pollute and now it seems the days of gas trucks may also be numbered, certainly in the view of one man who should know.

John Maguire managing director of Narrow Aisle Ltd, manufacturer of the Flexi range of articulated very narrow aisle (VNA) forklifts has observed a sea change in customer attitudes since his company launched the Flexi LiTHiON range of lithium-ion powered articulated warehouse trucks two years ago.

The trucks have have become a popular choice among a wide range of customer groups who need the rapid charge and multi-shift availability provided by lithium power without the storage and time consuming change-over issues associated with LP Gas bottles. However each has their own reason for switching and Maguire explains:

“LP Gas is costly and linked to global oil prices, and from an operational point of view, the time taken to change or fill each gas bottle means that truck downtime can be a problem for some high utilisation customers. In addition, the control systems and catalytic converters required to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide emission from LPG engines add significantly to a truck’s operating costs.

”So it’s easy to see why many warehouse operators consider lithium-ion powered trucks to be a more efficient and cost-effective alternative to LPG machines. Indeed, according to recent research, 78% of lift truck operators stated that they will consider lithium-ion when the time comes for their next forklift acquisition.

“For any multi-shift operation, switching from LPG to lithium-ion-powered materials handling equipment really is a ‘no-brainer’. A lithium-ion battery can be fully charged in under an hour and provides consistent voltage, which means they don’t slow down the machine as they discharge, and because they do not emit any exhaust gases, they are a better option for the working environment.”

The headache with electric trucks is of course the downtime whilst they charge up sufficiently to begin work again. However the Flexi lithium-ion system requires zero maintenance and delivers extended multi-shift availability and benefits from all drive, hydraulic and power-steering functions digitally controlled and integrated with the battery’s advanced software systems, enabling it to perform at full power throughout a typical shift with no drop off in performance levels.

The truck monitors the battery function constantly and reports the battery status in real time, and the combination of fully integrated digital motors and lithium-ion power is so effective when it comes to eliminating wasted power that truck availability is typically increased by 25% every day. Running 30% quieter than many gas trucks means no noise pollution to speak of whilst operating in aisles as narrow as 1.6 metres wide lifting loads weighing up to 2.5 tonnes to heights of 14 metres.