The best of both worlds – for the best that nature has to offer. That’s the best way to describe the pilot run of the new Linde X35 at German soft drinks manufacturer, Ensinger Mineral-Heilquellen. The new electric forklift truck performance class impressed the managers of the long-established mineral water brand, not only in terms of sustainability, but also with its outstanding performance.
Maximum efficiency in the use of natural resources has now become a key goal in most industries, but in Ensingen – a district near Stuttgart in Germany – it is a long-held tradition. For more than half a century, Ensinger Mineral-Heilquellen GmbH has been processing what is possibly the most important raw material in the world: mineral water fresh from the spring, which flows from eight deep wells in the nearby nature reserve. So it’s no wonder that treating the environment with respect has long been of utmost importance to the people at Ensinger. The company supports a wide variety of nature conservation projects, generates electricity using photovoltaics, and has even secured the environmental award from the state of Baden-Württemberg. Today, the managers of the medium-sized mineral well are especially proud to be working to climate-neutral standards, as per scope 1 & 2.
One of the key features of Ensinger is its approach to sustainability, which is why the electrification of our forklifts fits perfectly with this aspiration.
This ensures that the family company’s production processes do not cause a rise in the amount of greenhouse gases damaging the climate. A highly commendable achievement, especially given the huge handling volumes! A massive 600,000 litres of mineral water, sparkling fruit drinks, fitness drinks and more leave Ensinger’s loading bay every day! In the summer months, the company easily produces 3.8 million litres of soft drinks a week. It goes without saying that achieving this kind of throughput relies on highly efficient logistics processes. “Powerful counterbalanced forklift trucks are crucial for us,” explains Ensinger’s Managing Director, Frank Lehmann. “The fact that the new Linde X35 electric forklift gives us the outstanding performance of an IC truck but with zero emissions makes us even happier.”
Full speed ahead!
Electric forklifts and the beverage industry is a combination that some still can’t shake off their negative perceptions of, but one that has long since proven its worth at Ensinger. Twelve out of the twenty-two Linde forklifts used in logistics at the German producer of spring water are already operating with lead-acid or lithium-ion batteries. And because sustainability is a core aspect of day-to-day life here, there will soon be even more – as long as the performance is right. That’s precisely where the new Linde X35 comes in, which is currently on trial at the company as part of a field test, prior to the official market launch. Manfred Rivoir, Head of Logistics, briefly describes the requirement profile at Ensinger: “We really put our forklift trucks through their paces here at Ensinger. When a lorry enters the loading centre, the empties are unloaded and the truck is then re-loaded with full bottles right away – the whole thing has to be super speedy.”
“The equipment is therefore designed to carry three pallets at a time, which means we can transport a total weight of up to 2400 kilos on the forks, depending on whether the containers are glass or PET.” Especially during the summer months, when demand for mineral water and soft drinks is high, things hot up on the empties belt, too. Here, the industrial trucks supply two placement stations, among others: one for PET and one for glass bottles, for which the company has seen a significant increase in demand over the last few years. The trucks operate both in the loading bay and in the empties processing area in a demanding two-shift operation. Can the new Linde X35 trucks compete with their internal combustion counterparts, which run on propellant gas at Ensinger?
Tough on the task, gentle on the climate
The X35 offers the best of both worlds. “The forklift is absolutely brilliant,” says logistics expert Manfred Rivoir. “You can clearly see the leap in development – the product is just super manoeuvrable, super efficient, super fast and never fails to keep up, even with our tight turnarounds.” Ensinger’s logistics experts are especially fond of the huge torque, which is due in part to the brand-new synchronous reluctance motors. Forklift operator Davide Maggio is equally enthusiastic: “With the X35, I can load and unload the lorries much faster. It has real power under the bonnet and is still super smooth and quiet.” The trusted Linde Li-ION high-performance battery supplies the energy to the X35’s power units. And it works so efficiently that the equipment can easily cover two shifts. All it needs is one quick charge per shift, which can be done during a break.
“To be honest, the truck has even caused a bit of rivalry within our team, simply because everyone wants to drive it at the same time!” Head of Logistics, Manfred Rivoir, digs the dirt on his colleagues. “We put the X35 into operation in both the loading hall and for processing the empties – and nobody wanted to give it back!” However, its popularity is not just down to its outstanding performance and enormous torque. This newcomer from Linde can also deliver when it comes to visibility and ergonomics. Forklift operator Enes Sulic shares his experiences: “It doesn’t look that big from the outside, but when you sit in the cabin, it has a really spacious feel about it. You have everything in view and can manoeuvre perfectly – that part is a rocket.” Head of Logistics, Manfred Rivoir, sums up: “I used to drive a lot of forklifts myself and you think you have an idea what direction things are headed in. But we were absolutely blown away by how much power the X35 delivers and how economical it is in terms of energy consumption.”
Ensinger Mineral-Heilquellen GmbH
Founded in 1952, Ensinger Mineral-Heilquellen GmbH has always been a family company and is now the market-leader in bottled spring water in Baden-Württemberg. The traditional company has around 170 employees and produces around 120 million litres of premium drinks each year at its premises near the large town of Vaihingen an der Enz in the Ensingen district. The climate-neutral drinks manufacturer, which has already received the environment award of the state of Baden-Württemberg for its outstanding commitment to sustainability, also promotes organic farming in the region as part of its very own environment award.