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2014 sees lithium-ion technology make progress

09 June 2014

If you haven’t been to CeMAT, it’s best to think of it as a huge materials handling marketplace, a showcase where you can view products & solutions, picking up ideas to improve your warehouse and logistics processes and selecting partners to help with the work you need doing.

CeMAT 2014 featured many product highlights but the prospect of a lithium-ion powered sit-on counterbalance truck was perhaps the most notable.

Chinese manufacturer BYD featured a counterbalance truck powered by lithium iron phosphate (a kind of lithium-ion technology). The forklifts are said to require significantly less time to charge than traditional lead-acid batteries and offer dramatically extended battery life. BYD aims to have these trucks available for the UK market in 2015.

Nor is this an isolated occurrence. Linde Material Handling held its own event in Mainz shortly before CeMAT for invited customers and prospects and unveiled its lithium-ion product range and strategy.

Linde says the stand-out feature of its lithium-ion MHE is that the trucks (including control unit and electronics), battery and charger come together to form a complete system, the various components of which communicate via CAN bus.

In addition, Tobias Zierhut, head of product marketing new trucks at Linde, said a 3 tonne ride-on counterbalance truck powered by lithium-ion at a reasonable price is expected to be available by 2016.