Family-owned and -operated Hollandia Dairy has been supplying milk and dairy products to customers in Southern California since 1950. To deliver those products on time, the company depends on its fleet of 50 pallet jacks to load delivery trucks.
But about two years ago, the company began experiencing problems with those loading operations. While the pallet jacks were up to the job, their batteries often weren’t. The lead-acid batteries Hollandia was using to power the trucks would lose charge after just four to six hours of operation, well short of the needs of an eight-hour shift. With each pallet jack requiring up to four battery changes to cover two daily shifts (day and night), the operation was seeing serious downtime and delays.
Coordinating the charging operations was proving to be a headache as well. “Often, the night shift would arrive and there wouldn’t be any batteries charged up and ready, since the day shift ran low and ‘borrowed’ the late shift’s battery packs,” explained Bob Hodge, Hollandia Dairy’s product control manager, in a release. With equipment out of service, workers would have to load delivery trucks by hand, which could take up to seven times longer than it would with the pallet jacks.
To see if a different kind of battery might solve the problem, Hollandia Dairy decided to look into the demo program offered by Vista, California-based lithium battery maker Flux Power, which allows prospective customers to test-drive the batteries in their own operations. Hollandia Dairy selected the LiFT Pack S8 lithium-ion battery for a trial in its refrigerated warehouse and immediately noted several advantages over the lead-acid batteries it was using—for instance, lithium-ion batteries require no watering, provide longer run times per charge, and enable onboard charging during breaks and lunches.
Based on the results of the trial, Hollandia Dairy invested in multiple lithium-ion batteries. The results were immediate. The company no longer struggled with dead batteries rendering equipment unusable, batteries did not have to be swapped out in the middle of a shift, and the need to manage battery watering and charging schedules was completely eliminated. Today, Hollandia Dairy regularly sees eight, 10, and sometimes 12 hours of run time per charge with its Flux Power LiFT Packs.
“Pallet jacks play a huge role in loading our delivery trucks, and the lithium-ion packs from Flux Power have been a game-changer,” Hodge said in the statement.
Hollandia Dairy is now in the process of converting more of its fleet over to Flux Power’s lithium-ion batteries. It’s also looking to extend its use of the batteries beyond the walkie pallet jacks: The dairy supplier says it plans to purchase another Flux Power battery model, the LiFT Pack M-24, for an enclosed rider forklift it’s buying.