EP Lithium Forklifts in Heavy Duty Applications

When it comes to Lithium Ion powered equipment, EP is the place to go. At EP's Global Dealer Event discussion in November, two of their most experienced partners shared their experience using Lithium forklift trucks in heavy duty applications with several thousand working hours per year.

In the material handling industry electric forklifts are not considered “heavy duty forklift models” and more than often are not considered for use in high demand operations that require 24 hour operation or high frequency use.

This misconception that a lithium-ion forklift is not capable of performing heavy duty tasks means that many end users do not experience the benefits of lithium-ion battery technology as they are told it can not fulfil their needs in the workplace.

Within the EP Global dealer community we have success stories from partners with electric forklift trucks with over 6,000 working hours in 24/7 use.

Speaking on stage at the event was EP Equipment VP’s Bennit Schmieder and Arjan Van Zanten with Dealers David Dadd of Armill Lift Trucks and Johnathan Savage of Clearlift Material Handling.

Read the full discussion below and find out more about how Lithium-ion forklifts can be used in heavy duty applications.

Lithium-ion forklifts for Heavy Duty Applications

Bennit Schmieder: Hello and welcome back to our next panel discussion we have some amazing guests here today David Dadd from Armill UK and Jonathan Savage Ireland from Clearlift one of our very good old friends. There is no event with EP without Jonathan on stage I would say, especially not when talking about heavy duty applications and 24 hour operation.

Arjan Van Zanten: So what we gonna do now is that we gonna talk with two experts, two absolute experts about their experiences in heavy duty applications

Jonathan Savage has been responsible for Pallet Express and Keelings. David Dadd has put lithium-ion forklifts in heavy duty applications for the Woodland Group and of course everybody knows ALDI.

We would like to hear more about your experiences in getting these customers getting it running but me also interested in after sales, how do you keep it running?

Jonathan Savage: Things today are going very well at PalletXpress it all started off with them moving premises having a fleet of diesel trucks and wanted to move to electric but when we came along 3.5 years ago we wanted to move their application to lithium powered forklifts.

The guys from Pallet Express said it’s too good to be true so we need to have some more evidence that this truck is gonna work for us.

Round the back of the factory there’s really a rough bit of ground with a very steep concrete ramp. I made sure I got on the truck and I got the engineer to video me lifting a 3.5 tonne weight where its only a 3 tonne truck, going up the hill, stopping dead, lifting, lowering and then taking off. That in its own right sold the truck that was it that was a deal sealer.

I went back to Ireland reported popped open my laptop showed the guys the video told them it’s not too good to be true it is it is the real deal and we did the deal. initially it was for 14 trucks but 3.5 years on we have 30 electric forklifts on their site.

We also rent everything which is another key point to what you were saying earlier in the event about the the four elements. One is risk so we have built up a hire fleet of about 800 units in Ireland and our standard terms are 12 month rolling contracts so we took a lot of risk with EP we have a long standing relationship with EP Equipment starting back in 2012/2013

At the start we were maybe one of the only companies in the world renting trucks you know so the after sales thing really came into it.

If you want a brand new truck in one year’s time you have the right to do that nobody does by the way we have trucks in for 8-9 years so that’s that was very important for us taking the risk and then it was easy for them to make the decision. Annually the electric forklifts at PalletXpress generate 1700 to 2000 hours a year now.

Forklift trucks in 24 hour operation with long working hours

Arjan Van Zanten: The interesting thing is if you started with 3000 pallets a night and your company grows and you move to 4500 when you have designed your truck from day one with a lead acid battery you’re stuck. With lithium-ion power it’s scalable, you can use the benefits of lithium ion power.

I think when we when we look at working hours, David you have a case of 4000 hours a year.

David Dadd: Yes we we’ve got some trucks in one of our customers that are doing just under 4,000 hours a year. Electric Forklifts in a 24/7 warehouse.This is in Woodland Group.

Our relationship with woodland group started about seven years ago. They’ve got just under 150 trucks with us at the moment. About five years ago they made a a big commercial company statement that all their forklifts are going to become electric and so they put brand new facility into Coventry.

We were asked to go in there and quote for new trucks. We then got hold of this large site and Doncaster 495,000 square foot, one of the biggest buildings I’ve ever been in and we put some peas in there and you know in the normal demos and runs

We had ours on test and it matched it matched our performance wise to you know to to exactly what they needed so they they they they took the bullet and and went from there really but yeah and now running 6000 hours right now running 6000 hours

The thing that frustrates me about the industry is the is the you know the want to talk about all sales guys but the sales guy that goes in “well it’s a 2 1/2 tonne diesel forklift, well we’ll price for 2 1/2 tonne diesel forklift truck” and they’re lifting 500K pallets that’s what frustrates about the industry.

With EP and with lithium and you’re making people think differently and it gives you a perfect platform starting point asking the customer do you really need this? Go back to the beginning what do you need? You have this wide variety of products in our range let’s pick the right product, not what you’ve had, but the right product. This is invaluable as a service provider as well as a cost saving as well as great news for the manufacturer it’s a win win win.

Electric Forklifts at Aldi

We also got contacted by our our local distribution centre of ALDI and they had a few hire trucks and they’re having a little bit of trouble with their their local supplier and their national account.

We got invited in to see them and have a conversation and they were interested in pallet trucks so more for the battery changing facility of their current pallet trucks but we supplied some worked well liked the product and then you just ask the question ohh what you doing with those Lindy diesels you know and while we’re trying to be green and you know we’re looking at our carbon footprint awesome you know that’s my story yeah hello there hello come and talk to me

We went in and they had use replace their diesel forklifts. Aldi love the trucks they sing their praises.

Arjan Van Zanten: Sales is easier prices are better service is simple and easy costs are ok. It’s interesting to hear how relaxed we are talking about customers like this.