EnerSys® (NYSE:ENS), the global leader in stored energy solutions for motive power applications, has enabled Gaer Business to significantly increase productivity, improve warehousemanagement and eliminate interruptions to shifts and workflow at its warehouse facility in Corte Tegge, Italy.
EnerSys® achieved these improvements by supplying their heavy-duty IRONCLAD® batteries, which provide extended power, cycling life and capacity without needingmore charging time than conventional lead-acid technology.
Gaer Business is one of themain logistics partner for Expert in Italy, a major Swiss house appliances retailer. Accordingly, itmanages the supply chain and daily deliveries for more than 200 shops across all Italian regions. In Gaer’s warehouse facility in Corte Tegge this calls for unloading approximately 10 large trucks a day, with peaks of up to 1500 items beingmoved.
This workload presented amajor pallet truck battery challenge, arising fromlimited space availability. Aisles were kept to just 2.5metres in width to createmaximumwarehouse space for storage. The restricted maneuvering spaces dictated a choice of the smallest available counterbalanced truckmodels with correspondingly small batteries: a three-wheel type with 10-quintals counterbalance and, as standard, classic 24 V, 500 A VRLA batteries.
This yielded inadequate daily and cyclic battery autonomy. The situation was exacerbated as the trucks expend energy rapidly in using a clamp to handle large, heavy appliances such as washingmachines.
When Gaer understood these standard batteries inadequacies, they asked EnerSys® to investigate a potential solution. The requirement was to accuratelymeasure and analyse Gaer’s current energy usage, and then provide higher-capacity batteries that would significantly increase daily and cyclical autonomy.
EnerSys® performed this analysis in the summer of 2016 using their Wi-iQ® batterymountedmonitoring devices. This allowed EnerSys® to check exactly howmany Amperehours Gaer needed, the charging times and how often they had to change the battery. In this business case, theWi-iQ® battery-mounted monitoring devices were essential in identifying the right technology for Gaer.
The results revealed a continuous state of over-discharge that was threatening battery lifecycles. In response, EnerSys® recommended their heavy-duty IRONCLAD® batteries, as they required nomore charging time than the conventional lead-acid types being replaced, yet offered extended power, cycling life and capacity.
Significantly, the analysis revealed the IRONCLAD® batteries would provide at least 10 per centmore capacity than the equivalent leadacid types. More importantly, the trucks would also achieve faster drive and lift speeds. As a result, Gaer asked EnerSys® to equip their charging roomwith 19 IRONCLAD® batteries: 14 x 24V 552 Ah – IRONCLAD® + AIR (Replacing 500 Ah standard type), 3 x 48V 516 Ah – IRONCLAD® (Replacing 450 Ah standard type) and 2 x 48V 688 Ah – IRONCLAD® (Replacing 620 Ah standard type).
“Our decision to opt for IRONCLAD® batteries has resulted in significantly increased productivity,” commented Ezio Pirondi, Site Manager at Corte Tegge. He added, “We are achieving better warehouse management, with no interruptions to shifts or workflow.We feel that the project’s success has come not only fromthe IRONCLAD® battery technology, but also the flexibility shown by EnerSys® in identifying our requirements and then tailoring a solution to fit these. Their analysis of our space and daily duty cycle constraints, followed by their implementation of their significantly enhanced battery technology, allowed us to optimise our efficiency and achieve best practice, even within these constraints.”
The operational benefits of using IRONCLAD® batteries include a longer discharge time, fewer battery changes, and fewer spare batteries chargers and charging racks being required. This in turn allows for smaller battery rooms – an especially valuable advantage in applications like Gaer’s, where space is at a premium.
The longer discharge time allows Gaer to establish longer work shifts with reduced truck downtime. The capital investment requirement is lower, with a longer depreciation period. Fleet size is also optimised.
By opting for IRONCLAD® batteries, which benefit froma longer service life warranty, Gaer has also realised further, indirect benefits. The cost of truck maintenance is reduced because the higher sustained voltage and lower current draw of the batteries diminishes heat and strain on the truck’s electrical components. As a result, trucks not only performbetter during the shift, but also run longer before requiring a battery change.