A fleet of flexi articulated fork lift trucks have been operating on three shifts in a cold store at temperatures as low as -28°C for nearly seven years running on the original powerful and durable trak® air batteries and chargers supplied by Hoppecke Industrial Batteries.
The timing is important because normal operating life of a lead acid battery in cold store conditions is four or five years and batteries on average lose around 30 per cent of their capacity in cold storage applications. Recharging can also be a problem in such low temperatures because the voltage of the battery rises faster than the electrolyte density. This in turn reduces the total electrical energy capacity available to the truck, reducing the time between battery changes as progressively the battery loses efficiency.
At the Norish Foods cold store at Brierley Hill in the Midlands, a fleet of Flexi Narrow Aisle cold store trucks has been custom-designed to cope with the harsh environment. This includes all the main components of the trucks being coated with zinc or made from stainless steel and all other electrical parts being cold store specified.
However, vital factors for electric-powered trucks operating in a cold store environment are the quality of their batteries and the ability to charge them, which is why Norish Foods went for the trak® air units as well as a high frequency charger system from Hoppecke.
One of the main benefits of the Hoppecke trak® air system is that it removes electrolyte stratification, protecting the batteries from overcharge which allows them to have a much longer service life than other batteries in the field, cutting down considerably on replacement and disposal. Also, the high frequency chargers cut charging times by around 2.5 hours thanks to a built-in micro-processor and air electrolyte circulation technology. Hoppecke only supplies regulated chargers in cold storage applications because they offer an adjustable output, which is imperative to remove the likelihood of under- or over-charging a battery.
As a result, the Hoppecke trak® air system has enabled Norish Foods to make huge savings in truck running costs because with a 6-hour charging time, fewer batteries and chargers are required. Typically, on traditional battery types at least two spares were required per truck to allow 24-hour operation while in extreme cases a spare charger would be needed per truck.
Use of the Hoppecke trak® air high frequency chargers has also meant that charger outputs adjustment is available on the charger by either laptops presetting or by fitting a trak® com IP battery monitoring module. This unit offers automatic charger output adjustment which continually monitors the temperature of the electrolyte before and during recharge and automatically adjusts the charge profile to deliver the optimum recharge to the battery while reducing the units of electricity used. This therefore increases the capacity available to the customer in an operational and cost effective way.
Norman Hatcliffe, Managing Director of Norish Foods, says: “The really great additional benefit of Hoppecke trak® air is the 40 per cent energy saving we achieved. It meant we were able to obtain payback on our investment in fewer than 12 months as well as real long-term high power performance from our fleet of flexi trucks.”
Gus Whyte, Sales Director – National Accounts and Systems at Hoppecke Industrial Batteries – says: “This is another illustration of a company that has realised how sensible choice, care and management of batteries can save many thousands of pounds a year, while also reducing carbon output.”
He adds: “For Norish Foods we supplied a solution that matched the needs of their business perfectly and our trak® air batteries and high frequency chargers have helped them to cut down dramatically the amount of downtime of their trucks.”
As part of the contract Hoppecke is also responsible for all battery filling which is carried out six times per year and totally protects Norish Foods’ investment through the ‘Power for Life’ agreement.
Flexi Narrow Aisle is a long-term user of Hoppecke products. The company’s experience has shown that the Hoppecke trak® air system delivers compatible discharge characteristics to suit the high throughput demands of articulated truck customers in the warehousing and logistics industry.
HOPPECKE was founded in 1927 and is now the leading specialist for industrial battery systems, and at the same time the largest battery manufacturer in European ownership. Hoppecke offers to its customers throughout the world, concepts for efficient and reliable power supply for every industrial application. A leading exponent of environmental care for more than 80 years, Hoppecke offers solutions for a variety of industries including motive power, reserve power for IT/telecoms, power stations, solar energy and UPS, special power for rail and underground. It is a European leader in recycling of industrial batteries, and operates its own recycling foundry for lead-acid batteries, thereby making a substantial contribution to careful husbanding of resources.
Hoppecke Industrial Batteries Ltd
Tel: 01782 667305