Wednesday, November 21, 2018

New Lithium Powered Pallet Truck Fleet to Cut Logistics Costs and Lead Pollution

Cargo Handling in All Transit Terminals to be Revitalised
Shipping News Feature
EUROPE – By 2022, logistics provider Dachser plans to replace all of its roughly 6,000 pallet trucks in Europe with vehicles powered by energy-saving lithium-ion batteries. Compared to conventional lead-acid batteries, the lithium-ion variety lasts three times longer and boasts significantly shorter charging times. This increases the flexibility of using vehicles equipped with these batteries, and does away with the need for special rooms set aside for battery charging. The resulting freed-up space in transit terminals can be used for cargo handling. André Bilz, Team Leader Fleet Management Terminal Equipment at Dachser, explains:

“When you factor in the savings in avoided maintenance and damage costs, since the batteries no longer have to be taken out of the vehicle every day for charging, then having a lithium-ion fleet has already paid for itself today.”

The switch is also good news for environmental sustainability. The conventional batteries, which have to be replaced after about 1,200 charging cycles, contain lead, a toxic heavy metal, while the lithium-ion batteries conserve energy and thus save some 1,600 kilogrammes of CO2 per vehicle per year. Multiply that by 6,000 ground conveyors and you get 9.6 million kilogrammes of CO2 annually. Michael Schilling, Dachser’s COO Road Logistics, commented:

“Dachser invests continuously in cutting-edge logistics facilities and equipment, which ultimately enhances the quality of its services. This modernisation project is an excellent example of how profitability and sustainability can go hand in hand, which in turn produces benefits for our customers.”

By 2022, Dachser wants to convert all its Road Logistics locations in Europe to this new technology. The switch will be made step by step; locations will not operate both technologies together. Lithium-ion technology has already been introduced in the Radeburg and Erlensee (Food Logistics) branches in Germany, and will now be followed by construction and expansion of facilities, for example in Freiburg and Munich, Germany, the plans for which will include the necessary electrical infrastructure from the outset.

In looking at the many suppliers of pallet trucks, once again Dachser aims to work with the leading manufacturers. And as for battery technology, charging infrastructure, and energy management software, the logistics provider has selected Triathlon to be its preferred supplier. This switch to lithium-ion technology is by no means the end of the project: Bilz continued:

“Together with our partners, we will be driving forward the development of ground conveyor technology. Our aim is to increase the vehicles’ usability by making them smaller, more manoeuvrable, and more lightweight.”

Photo: Li-Ion pallet trucks charging at Dachser cross-dock warehouse