March 25, 2015

Lithium-ion batteries ready for the commercial lift truck market

By DC Velocity Staff

Yale's announcement at ProMat that it will offer a walkie pallet truck with the first commercially available lithium-ion battery pack recognized by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) in the forklift industry is just the latest confirmation that lithium-ion has become ready for prime time. Only two years ago, lithium-ion forklift batteries were just an idea; now, they've been approved for use in certain types of trucks by several manufacturers.

According to Flux Power, a Vista, Calif.-based manufacturer of lithium-ion battery packs, the batteries have been tested and approved by Toyota and Crown Equipment for use in specific walkie pallet jacks. Company executives said that a number of shippers, particularly in the grocery and beverage industries, are already using the battery packs.

Although lithium-ion batteries cost more initially than traditional lead-acid ones, they can last up to five times longer than a lead-acid battery; Flux Power offers a five-year warranty. Unlike lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion technology does not experience negative sulfation effects during short charging and extended storage. Lithium-ion batteries also do not require water and do not contain acid. Lithium-ion batteries can be repeatedly opportunity charged to 100 percent capacity without an equalization charge, and no cool-down period is needed.

Flux Power introduced a beta version of its 500Ahe LiFT Pack battery for end rider pallet jacks at ProMat. The new battery provides more power to handle the added weight of an operator.

More coverage from ProMat 2015