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.