Matteo Todesco, Senior Marketing Manager – Motive Power EMEA and Marketing Operations Manager – EMEA at EnerSys® looks at warehouse digitization trends and presents the case for smart power management in electric lift truck fleets.

To understand the potential benefits of Internet of Things (IoT) and ‘smart factory’ technologies to businesses, we should first be clear on what they are. The initial comments below will help to define these terms and explain their effects on industry.

The IoT enables machines and devices fitted with sensors and electronics to communicate and share data wirelessly with other ‘things’ and with people. It provides a great basis for monitoring, controlling and data gathering.

For many years, warehouses have been using IT solutions to gather useful data. Their established tools range from relatively simple barcode readers and spreadsheets to high-powered digital management and control software such as warehouse management systems (WMS).

The latter, when linked to IoT technology, can become even more effective. The entire supply chain – with the warehouse at its centre – should ideally be digitized and wirelessly connected by digital automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) methods for recognition and tracking of goods.

Another key digitizable warehouse activity is the deployment, operation and maintenance of electric-powered materials handling vehicles.

Electric lift trucks fulfil a crucial operational role and they have become integral to the digitization trend. When connected to a fleet management system, they act as data-gathering devices. Information monitored includes location, mechanical and safety condition, hours worked, accidents and evidence of misuse. However, little or no actionable data on batteries is currently collected.

Well-maintained motive batteries and chargers cut energy consumption by performing more efficiently and giving longer runtime, which means less spending on end-of-life replacements. In addition, they are more reliable, so the expense of battery-related truck downtime is minimised.

Users desiring a modest level of engagement could use a tool, such as Wi-iQ® – battery monitoring device – from EnerSys®, which collects data wirelessly from sensors in each battery. Battery parameters monitored by these types of devices include temperature, water level, charge and discharge currents, cell voltage balance, state of charge, and other measurements of efficiency and condition. This data is accessible on PCs via the Wi-iQ® report suite, or on tablets and smartphones through the E-connect APP that enable users to view and forward historical data. Also available is Truck IQ™ smart battery dashboard that provides live insights on battery status to drivers.

For users seeking an integrated and cloud-based lift truck power management platform, EnerSys has designed the Xinx™ battery operations management system. The XinxTM System reads each Wi-iQ® monitoring device and transmits all the data to a cloud server.

To find out how a smart power management system can transform your warehouse business, visit powermanagement.enersys.com/en/.