09 February 2010
Jungheinrich is primed to launch a field test for an innovative electric counterbalanced forklift. The type EFG 216k truck is equipped with a lithium-ion battery which will be "put to the acid test".
The field test will be performed at a large German automotive manufacturer beginning in March. The test involves a Jungheinrich electric counterbalanced forklift (type EFG 216k) outfitted with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery; it is set to run several weeks around the clock. The goal of the test is to thoroughly examine the performance characteristics of this innovative battery technology under real operating conditions. A key aspect consists of the short recharging time for the lithium-ion batteries: several interim recharges during three-shift operation could make battery changing unnecessary in a number of application areas.
"The use of lithium-ion batteries will lead to the use of considerably less energy in future — from the mains socket to the motor," comments Peter Dibbern, Head of Basic Development at Jungheinrich. Should the technology go into series production, this would represent a major contribution to climate protection, he adds. The lithium-ion batteries exhibit a substantial increase in charging and discharging efficiency compared with conventional lead batteries. They last twice as long and are moreover completely maintenance-free. A special battery management system guarantees the permanent monitoring of the cells. "This makes the lithium-ion batteries rugged and safe even today," continues Dibbern.
In contrast to lead batteries, which support only around 80 percent of capacity utilization, the capacity usage of lithium-ion batteries runs at almost 100 percent. And the battery management system prevents any depth discharge. The holistic approach of the new Jungheinrich energy and drive concept, unveiled for the first time in a concept truck study at CeMAT 2008, consists of intelligent energy storage and usage.
"The lower leakage for lithium-ion battery charging and discharging results in considerable energy conservation," asserts Dibbern. According to conservative estimates, a total of 15 percent can be saved in energy costs without any loss in performance. "If the manufacturing costs of rechargeable batteries continue to go down as expected, then the day when these batteries become more economical for certain applications is not far off," he concludes.
Jungheinrich ranks among the world's leading companies in the material handling equipment, warehousing and material flow engineering sectors. The company is a service provider with manufacturing operations as well as an intralogistics solution provider, which offers its customers a comprehensive range of forklift trucks, shelving systems, services and consulting. Jungheinrich shares are traded on all German stock exchanges.