Lithium-ion trucks from Linde go vertical
Linde Material Handling uses lithium-ion technology in new double stacker and pallet truck with ergonomic lift
For all operators who use pallet trucks and double stackers in at least two-shift operation and keep replacement batteries in stock, Linde Material Handling recommends checking whether the use of lithium-ion batteries could be worthwhile. The time is favourable right now because Linde has just expanded its product range with two new warehouse trucks that are equipped with this forward-looking battery technology: the Linde T16L ION pallet truck with ergonomic hub and the Linde D08 ION double stacker. Both these warehouse trucks feature a mast. In the coming months, Linde will also be adding pallet stackers to its lithium-ion product family.
“A major advantage of lithium-ion battery technology is that interim charging is possible at any time and is in fact even expressly desirable as it extends the vehicle uptime,” explains Christophe Chavigneau, Head of Product Marketing Warehouse Range at Linde. “Whenever it is foreseeable that the truck will be idle for more than a few minutes, the user can drive up to the charger and connect it up.” The optionally available, side-mounted battery connector makes interim charging for the T16L ION pallet truck even easier and more convenient. All it takes for the operator is to plug the charging cable into the socket, without having to open a lid or a flap. During recharging, the vehicle is immobilized for safety reasons and to prevent damage to the cable due to accidental drive switch actuation.
Chavigneau dismisses concerns that the use of lithium-ion technology could pose a certain amount of risk because of the battery’s high energy density, pointing out that the same rigorous safety standards are applied as in all other industrial trucks from Linde. Thanks to the electronic monitoring of all relevant battery parameters, the trucks are switched off under strict control before a safety-critical condition can arise in the first place. This was verified and documented prior to the market launch with a series of extensive tests. “The system is absolutely safe when used according to specification,” says Chavigneau. Nevertheless, it is important for users to know how to react in certain cases – something which applies just as equally to lead-acid batteries.
Four 24-volt batteries of different sizes are available for the pallet trucks. Capacities range from 1.8 kWh to 3.6 kWh and from 4.5 kWh to 9.0 kWh. The double stacker can be equipped with the two smaller batteries. Selection of the battery size should be based on how much power is required for the application in question and whether interim charging is possible.
A major field of application for both the pallet truck with ergonomic lift and the double stacker is in shipping where they provide valuable help in the loading and unloading of trucks via loading ramps. However, due to their compact dimensions, they are also popular aids when it comes to order picking in confined spaces. The pallet truck’s ergonomic lift function raises the load arms up to 675 millimetres including the initial lift to make it easier for the operator to pick up and position crates, parcels and other types of load carriers. This means that the operator can work with a back-friendly posture. An optional solution, which has been available for standard trucks since the beginning of 2016, provides for even more comfort and additional time savings: the automatic lifting and lowering function. Here, two light sensors attached to the mast detect whether there are still goods on the pallet at a specific height, or if the warehouse worker has just removed the last package and would now have to bend further down to pick up the remaining goods. If no goods can be detected, the lift mast automatically moves upwards by up to 550 millimetres, so that the next layer of packages can be picked up and stored in a back-friendly and ergonomic way. Conversely, if the worker takes goods out of a rack and places them on the pallet truck’s load carrier, the load arms are lowered step by step, so that he can always work in the most ergonomic position.
As an alternative, an optionally available switch on the chassis enables the operator to manually control the lifting and lowering function. Even though this is not quite as comfortable as the automatic version, the user still saves time as he does not have to keep going backwards and forwards to the tiller. “Particularly if the truck is frequently used for picking, these are highly recommendable new extras,” says Chavigneau. In addition, the trucks come with three comfort features that are now part of the standard equipment and thus benefit these lithium-ion versions as well. These include, firstly, maintenance-free castor wheels with integrated spring and damper which ensure stability even on uneven ground. Secondly, a buzzer is available instead of a horn for use in noise-sensitive environments and thirdly, the emergency stop switch is placed centrally above the display, which facilitates quick access from all sides of the vehicle.