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Robust electric forklift challenges IC models

13 July 2021

The new Linde X20-X35 electric forklift models are said to be the first electric trucks to match the performance and robustness of Linde’s hydrostatic engine trucks.

ALONG WITH the new electric trucks for standard applications (Linde E20-E35), they are based on the same 12XX platform as the Linde H20-H35 engine powered trucks launched at the end of 2019. This common platform ensures shorter delivery times, readily available options and an almost identical operating concept for the operator.

More and more companies are turning to electric forklifts to make their intralogistics as sustainable and climate-neutral as possible. These battery-powered vehicles do not give off any emissions during operation and do not produce any harmful CO2 so long as the electricity is generated from renewable sources such as wind, solar or biomass. The only shortcoming of this type of drive has been the fact that, for certain applications, IC trucks still demonstrated superiority. That is until recently. 

“Many of our customers were keen to switch to electric trucks, but they were not willing to forego the familiar performance, ground clearance, robustness, isolated operator’s cabins and the ergonomic features offered by Linde hydrostatic engine trucks,” says Linde Material Handling senior product manager counterbalance trucks Björn Walter. 

“That’s why we decided to design a completely new series that combines the positive characteristics of our IC trucks with the advantages of traditional electric trucks. These models represent a real alternative for our discerning customers, particularly those in the construction materials, beverage, steel and iron, paper, wood and recycling sectors where applications are extremely demanding.” 

At the same time, Linde designed a maneuverable standard electric forklift truck with all the functionality of the new platform concept. In line with this idea, Linde now offers two electric truck series in the 2.0 to 3.5 ton load capacity range: the standard Linde E20-E35 series and the robust and powerful X range – the Linde X20-X35. 

Linde X20-X35 series trucks are capable of meeting performance standards beyond the limits of conventional electric trucks. These include, among other things, mastering steep gradients, consistently achieving high handling rates, and operating in very dusty and dirty conditions.  

To achieve this level of performance, electric motors based on synchronous reluctance technology (SRM) are used in both series. This improves the efficiency of the traction and lift motors by up to 5%. Two more technical highlights take the Linde X20-X35 series up to the performance level of an IC truck: first, the motors are equipped with neodymium magnets, and secondly, water cooling of the power modules ensures that high performance can be provided over a long period of time without any restrictions, e.g., in multi-shift operation. 

Comparative tests based on the TÜV-certified performance test developed by Linde MH delivered two key results: “On one hand, the Linde X20-X35 series was just as powerful as the Linde H20-H35 in terms of goods handling, and on the other hand, it performed significantly better than all the competitor trucks when it came to handling time and cost per pallet moved,” says Björn.

Important for outdoor applications is the fact that Linde X20-X35 trucks can cope with uneven ground, just like IC trucks. This is made possible by the long wheelbase, large tires and the elastomer ring bearings used as shock absorbers on the front axle. These bearings prevent vibrations and shocks caused by uneven ground from being transmitted up to the operator via the wheels. This reduces physical stress so that a consistently high level of performance by both man and machine is made possible. Fully sealed battery cells and motors keep dirt and dust particles from causing harm. Sufficient energy is provided by the lithium-ion system.

If an electric forklift truck is required for indoor use on smooth industrial floors or if narrow warehouse aisles make material handling difficult, a traditional version of the new electric forklift is available. The compact dimensions of the Linde E20-E35 models and the combi-steering axle developed by Linde Material Handling allow turning manoeuvers in the tightest areas. There is also a choice of different energy options: lead-acid battery, lithium-ion battery or fuel cell systems. Batteries from existing Linde can also be used in the new models. A pallet truck is now all that is needed for lateral battery changing. 

Both electric forklift truck series and their equivalent IC engine models are based on the same platform concept. This means that operators benefit from excellent visibility between the mast sections, to the sides, to the rear and upwards when stacking. Just like the all-weather cabin with fully glazed doors, most of the other options of the IC truck are also available for the electric forklifts. The optional, fully integrated air conditioning system with eight-nozzle ventilation system provides powerful cooling and heating to ensure operator comfort and thus high productivity in all ambient conditions, while the optional “Linde Motion Detection” operator assistance system provides greater safety: sensors detect motion behind the forklift and prevent it from reversing if there are people or other vehicles in the vicinity. 

The 12XX truck generation also sets new standards of operational availability. Maintenance requirements for the robust design are low due to the many wear-free components and the long intervals between servicing of other truck elements Networked service processes and the new Truck Health Management system based on wireless transmission of truck data help to further increase vehicle availability.

The platform concept and the resulting larger number of interchangeable parts create further advantages, ranging from assembly on a common production flow line, simpler logistics as well as greater flexibility in the event of production fluctuations, to the possibility of swapping components between different models allowing fast tailoring of rental trucks for customer needs.

For more information, visit www.linde-mh.co.uk