Australia, Battery-power, Companies, Features, Forklifts, Logistics, Materials Handling, Sustainability

Electrifying solutions with lithium-ion

Jungheinrich’s lithium-ion batteries have an IP54 rating. Image: Jungheinrich.

MHD spoke to Scott Coy, Director – Rental & Sales Management, Jungheinrich, about its integrated lithium-ion solutions and how the German-based material handling company is leading the way in producing sustainable products.

Jungheinrich, the German-founded material handling company, started selling its solutions in Australia during the 1970s and the 1980s in New Zealand through dealership arrangements. In 2015, via an acquisition, Jungheinrich Australia formally entered the Australian market. Similarly, in 2022, it also entered the New Zealand market. 

The pioneer of alternative power solutions began researching and developing lithium-ion technology in 2007 and unveiled its first concept lithium-ion pallet truck in 2008. In 2011, the first Jungheinrich lithium-ion pallet truck entered the market. 

Between 2011 and the present day, Jungheinrich moved its lithium-ion battery up the Ingress Protection (IP) ratings – which grades the resistance of an enclosure against the intrusion of dust or liquids – to a rating of IP54. Additionally, it has managed to reduce the energy required by the forklift truck to operate, increasing run time and significantly increasing the volume of lithium-ion trucks across the market globally. 

Going greener with lithium-ion

While lead acid batteries have been used for many decades, lithium-ion batteries have only been available for the past 15-odd years. These greener, safer and more efficient solutions are proving to be more sustainable than their non-electric predecessors. 

“We like to say Jungheinrich was born electric,” says Scott Coy, Director – Rental & Sales Management, Jungheinrich.

Scott Coy, Director — Rental & Sales Management, Jungheinrich. Image: Jungheinrich.
Scott Coy, Director — Rental & Sales Management, Jungheinrich.
Image: Jungheinrich.

“Dr. Friedrich Jungheinrich pioneered electric forklift trucks in the 1950s in Hamburg, Germany. We don’t outsource the manufacturing of our trucks; we manufacture our own integrated lithium-ion solutions. Lithium-ion solutions from Jungheinrich have been tested for a long time, we have the longest experience with these technologies, they are 100 per cent safe, and we continue to improve on them.”  

Jungheinrich Lithium-ion products are cleaner and more reliable than their lead-acid counterparts. Not all lithium-ion products are the same – as an example – the batteries in smartphones differ greatly from the ones made for electric vehicles and the ones made for material handling equipment such as forklifts. 

“Different materials than those in smartphones and vehicles are used to create the lithium-ion technologies we manufacture with our products,” explains Scott. “Further to this, not all lithium-ion batteries in forklifts in the market have the same quality as Jungheinrich’s.”

While consumers may be concerned about the safety of lithium-ion batteries, Scott reassures Jungheinrich’s products are 100 per cent safe and says education is key to understanding this. 

Lead acid batteries need to be charged in cycles and levels checked while lithium-ion batteries can be charged any time. They charge quicker than lead acid batteries and require zero maintenance – meaning reduced downtime. 

Shaping the future of sustainability 

Jungheinrich trucks have fully integrated lithium-ion solutions, which means its offering is superior to many of its competitors who have bolt-on lithium-ion solutions. 

Lithium-ion is a cheaper investment overall because it requires fewer service, less maintenance and incurs lower downtime costs over the duration of the truck’s operation. 

The use of a lithium-ion battery reduces the CO2 emissions up to 52 per cent when compared with an internal combustion truck. Green electricity can further improve the balance of electric vehicles. 

Jungheinrich formally entered the Australian market in 2015. Image: Jungheinrich.
Jungheinrich formally entered the Australian market in 2015. Image: Jungheinrich.

“By being a pioneer in this space, we’re ahead of the game,” says Scott. “We can improve what it looks like and increase its power storage. We don’t bolt on a lithium-ion battery to our solutions because our products are fully integrated.”

Jungheinrich prides itself on its after-sales support. It often says that its sales team sells the first truck, yet the after-sales team sells every truck thereafter. It firmly believes that if it doesn’t properly support and service its customers following that first sale or rental, it won’t have any business. 

“Seventeen years ago, the concept of lithium-ion batteries was futuristic,” adds Scott. “They’ve now been a reality for the past 13 years. Our goal is to educate customers on the benefits of a lithium-ion solution and make the product even more energy efficient.

“Our product portfolio includes electric counterbalanced trucks, hand pallet trucks, high-rack stackers, reach trucks, low level order pickers, pedestrian trucks, stackers, order pickers, tugger trucks and trailers, and mobile robots. Quite simply, all trucks in our range are available in lithium-ion, without any additional lead time as it is purely a standard option for Jungheinrich trucks with the share of lithium-ion to lead acid very high. Feel free to speak to us to find out more.”

For more information on Jungheinrich, click here


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