At the LogiMAT trade fair for intralogistics in Stuttgart in February 2019, Hyster Europe presented the Hyster® J1.6XNT three-wheel electric counterbalance truck with a 48-volt lithium-ion battery, which requires minimal maintenance.
Hyster, now offers almost all counterbalance lift trucks and warehouse equipment ex works, with lithium-ion batteries.
Timo Antony, Area Business Director Central Europe, Hyster said: “Lithium-ion battery-powered lift trucks are increasingly being used as the power option for demanding applications.”
Benefits of lift trucks with lithium-ion batteries
“One major benefit of lithium-ion batteries is the ability to charge them during scheduled breaks,” he said. “This ‘opportunity charging’ approach simplifies operations by requiring only one battery instead of two.”
In addition, lithium-ion batteries are often more cost-effective when used properly and, after a few years, lower the total cost of the batteries.
With good availability and affordable pricing, lithium-ion battery power options are expected to be used in more and more applications. This option is particularly attractive for new locations, as a dedicated charging area is not required, saving space.
At older sites, it may be necessary to adjust the cabling to meet the increased power needs and capacity, because lead-acid batteries charge slowly over a longer period of time, while lithium-ion batteries charge quickly and require more energy. The infrastructure needs to be designed for, which can be costly.
Applications for lift trucks with lithium-ion batteries
Even in areas where contamination must be avoided, such as in the food industry, they are often the best solution. Since lithium-ion batteries do not contain acid that could leak and generate fumes, they are particularly suitable for intensive indoor applications. Lead-acid batteries, on the other hand, can release hydrogen and other gases that are undesirable in the cleanroom areas for food production and storage.
In addition, the maintenance requirements for lithium-ion batteries are not as labour intensive as for lead-acid batteries. This helps reduce costs, increase reliability and improve battery life as scheduled battery maintenance can also help prevent failures and downtime.
Why lead acid batteries are still the best solution for many
However, electric forklift trucks with lead-acid batteries are still often the best choice for logistics operations, for example in pallet logistics. The companies benefit from efficiency and performance comparable to LPG and diesel forklift trucks.
In multi-shift applications, operating costs can be reduced by changing the batteries between shifts. However, the trucks would need a dedicated area for battery loading, and to avoid downtime, accurate battery charging needs to be defined including planned weekly maintenance and equalisation charging.
For more information, visit www.hyster.eu.