Materials handling vehicles such as forklift trucks and pallet trucks, are a vital tool for logistics, manufacturing and the global movement of goods. With 90% of the world’s forklift trucks using lead batteries, the rocketing demand for this battery technology is driving innovation for this application.
CBI member EnerSys is one of the battery manufacturers at the forefront of innovation in this space. With increasing pressure on warehouse and production areas to maximise productivity, increased focus has been on the cost and performance of both materials handling vehicles and the batteries which power them. The need for high-performing, reliable and low-maintenance batteries has never been greater.
As the Consortium’s technical roadmap has set out, achieving greater cycle life for lead battery technologies is essential to continue sustaining market demand to 2030 and beyond.
A multitude of lead battery technologies exist for different applications, with an extensive innovation journey over the last two decades. As a cost-effective, reliable and highly recycled battery technology, innovation has focused on performance enhancements over traditional lead batteries. EnerSys offer two advanced lead battery products using Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) technology that are particularly suited for materials handling applications:
The addition of carbon to batteries is a well-known performance improvement mechanism for lead batteries and has been investigated by research partnerships organised through the Consortium’s technical programs.
Battery charging systems also play a crucial role in battery performance, with intelligent charging provided for the TPPL range of batteries by NexSys® and NexSys®+ battery chargers. By having a management system which switches off modules as the battery charges, each module operates at its optimum loading and efficiency. The high-frequency power conversion system design delivers significant energy savings and also reduces charging time by up to two hours, with the chargers designed to reduce energy consumption by up to 35% for TPPL batteries. By pairing battery and charging systems, energy efficiency is maximised whilst also eliminating the potential for overcharging.
The pre-competitive research of the Consortium for Battery Innovation with our global membership of battery manufacturers, materials suppliers and research and testing institutes facilitates development and innovation in lead battery technology to ensure it continues to play a central role in delivering essential services across the logistics industry.