With the commissioning of a new and much larger hub, PalletXpress Dublin, has switched from diesel and has fully embraced EP’s leading li-ion battery technology. This partnership sees 24 companies coming together to use 12 EP Equipment forklifts every day as they effortlessly move around 2,500 pallets per night. This is only achievable thanks to EP’s leading battery management systems and li-ion battery technology, which enables the use of the machines around the clock.
From 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. in the early morning, the PalletXpress hub in Dublin is very busy. A fleet of 12 EP trucks redistributes 2,500 pallets to destinations in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
From around six o’clock in the evening, the flow of trucks at the PalletXpress hub in Dublin slowly increases. From all over Ireland, the UK and Europe, the members bring in the pallets which are handled by the hub and cross docked onto each member’s vehicle. During this process the inbound vehicles are unloaded in the 130,000 square foot facility and, where possible, immediately reloaded for their final destination. This operation takes place over a 20-hour working day via a 3-shift pattern with its peak between 6PM and 3AM ensuring all freight is available for next day delivery throughout the country.
Looking for a sustainable green option
“They have been driving to our full satisfaction since the start of this hub and every time I see them, I am proud that we have succeeded”, says PalletXpress Managing Director Tom Carr while the swarm of blue electric trucks is buzzing around the double deck trailers. “With the construction of our new hub, we really wanted to take a step forward and make our Green Ambitions a reality. Diesel trucks out, solar panels on the roof and as much paperless work as possible.”
With clear sustainable ambitions set, 12 EP L1 3 tonners, supplied by EP Equipment Dealer Clearlift, now work on the site through a long-term rental agreement.
The delivery hub also houses several companies who make up other parts of the delivery network. Seeing the results from the switch to EP’s li-ion trucks, Clearlift have been able to supply 6 extra trucks to these companies, bringing the total to 18 at present in the facility.
Ray Kavanagh, Operations Manager PalletXpress: “The total package of trucks, advice, service from EP and Clearlift is very good.”
Changing mindsets around electric forklifts
The forklift market in Ireland is divided into two camps: one camp runs diesel, the other electric. The cost advantage of electric driving is attractive, but potential changeovers are often still struggling with the legacy of lead-acid batteries as an electric option.
“That was true for us too,” says Operations Manager Ray Kavanagh. “We’ve been testing ‘Wet Electric’ or conventional lead-acid batteries, but we’d also need additional spare batteries. This was not an option for us because of the time wasted on swapping batteries, the risk factor in handling and the great care taken in maintaining and using the batteries correctly. We then tested some well-known brands of li-ion trucks, but they were not to the driver’s liking and they were very expensive. The arrival of a demo with an EP truck completely changed the mood.”
Almost all trailers at PalletXpress are double-deck in order to be able to carry as many pallets as possible. It requires fast lifting movements and a good view on the second level. EP’s focus on cutting-edge design and driver comfort in our trucks really gives us the edge when it comes to meeting the requirements of high performing sites like PalletXpress.
Testing, testing and more testing
Because a 3-ton lift truck was not yet available, EP-dealer Clearlift delivered some 2-ton li-ion trucks for a test drive. The trucks were put through their paces for three weeks. The completely maintenance-free 48V li-ion battery with 360 Ah capacity was sufficient for the intensive use at PalletXpress.
“That didn’t happen by itself”, Ray Kavanagh continues. “The drivers had to get used to putting the trucks on the charger every break, because only then could we easily achieve the requirements of our operation. However, the advantages of the new truck were so great that they got used to it within a week.”
The arrival of the 3 ton EP trucks has only improved the situation at PalletXpress. Ray Kavanagh: “The battery is also maintenance-free and worry-free. Thanks to the perfect service of the Clearlift mechanic, we have not missed a single moment.”
Tom Carr, Managing Director PalletXpress: “The switch to EP lithium-ion trucks has been a more than successful decision.”
Putting the driver at the centre of the forklift
The advantages of the EP lithium-ion trucks are not limited to a carefree and clean operation alone. Thanks to the integration of the battery in the truck, they have an extremely large foot space and a low, ergonomic entrance. The power and responsiveness of both the drive and lift pump motors ensured the equivalent working speed required to complete the intensive loading and unloading process within the set time.
The view through the mast and the overhead guard are also very positive for the drivers. Almost all trailers at PalletXpress are double-deck, which requires an unobstructed view up to the second level.
Tom Carr: “It’s going perfectly, and without exhaust fumes and engine noise. Only when you make such a switch, do you experience how stressful the conditions were before. Nobody inside the hub wants to go back to diesel anymore.”
Ray Kavanagh adds: “And the drivers are also clear: they call them The Best Trucks ever!”
Saving costs, and the environment
Clearlift owner Jonathan Savage hears the reactions of PalletXpress with a smile. The success of the EP lithium-ion trucks has led him to intensify the battle with the diesel trucks. “We also supply EP diesel trucks, which are as indestructible as they are reliable,” he says. “Yet you can see that in many respects the electric truck wins over the IC truck. Especially in view of the possible analytics offered by the lithium-ion battery. It stores everything related to the daily work and with this data every customer can further improve his application. Not only is electric driving much more economical, it also allows you to control your processes much better.”
Tom Carr agrees with his supplier. “We are seeing the deployment costs fall and that will become even more interesting in the long run if we install more solar panels on our roofs. We are doing this step by step, but the conclusion is already clear to us: the switch to EP lithium-ion trucks has been a more than successful decision.”
With these improvements at the heart of what we do at EP, you can see why our li-ion forklifts are a clear choice for the job, enabling businesses to become more efficient and keep growing over time.