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Lithium-ion batteries help trim fleet by a third: Switch eliminates lead-acid batteries, daily maintenance and battery room.

Standard Distributing Co. of Delaware serves more than 1,000 locations throughout a state that consumes 9.2 million cases of beer annually. The company found an opportunity to improve cleanliness and efficiency in the battery changing and charging area for its electric lift trucks running on lead-acid batteries. New lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries eliminated the daily battery maintenance, frequent changes of the batteries, and eight-hour shifts for charging and after-charging cooling.

In April of 2019, the company switched its lift trucks fleet to Li-ion, a move that allowed the company to streamline its fleet from 17 three-wheel sit down trucks to 12 new forklifts (OneCharge): six 36-volt stand-ups and six 36-volt sit-downs. In addition to eliminating downtime for battery changing, opportunity charging eliminated the need to keep spare trucks on hand.

"The battery charging area was dirty," says warehouse manager Mike Tielleman, "but the switch to Li-ion was smooth and caused no interruption to operations. On top of minimizing downtime during shifts, we finally got rid of the lead-acid batteries' daily maintenance and messy charging area. Both are simply not needed with Li-ion batteries."

The flexibility to configure the Li-ion batteries for the specific task (high lifts in a temperature-controlled warehouse) is what allowed the fleet reduction. The Li-ion batteries can be quickly charged anywhere during small breaks and lunch-time, meaning a battery changing and charging area was no longer needed. The frequently dirty part of the warehouse designated for lead-acid batteries was cleared.

By Josh Bond, Senior Editor

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Title Annotation:MODERN productivity solution
Author:Bond, Josh
Publication:Modern Materials Handling
Date:Dec 1, 2019
Words:249
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