Save while you charge
Battery charging is an important cost factor in logistics centres that operate electrically powered forklifts. The Honold Logistics Group has recognised this and installed Fronius "Selectiva" battery chargers with Active Inverter Technology from the outset when it constructed the vehicle tyre distribution centre in Korbach. Successfully - as will become clear.
Manufacturing tyres is one thing - getting them to the dealer and then to the customer is quite another. At the Korbach RDC (Regional Distribution Center) and other locations the logistics service provider Honold overtakes this responsibility of the famous tyre manufacturer Continental AG who has the largest German production site in Korbach.
Honold handles every stage of the logistics chain, from acceptance of tyres at the factory to delivery to industry or dealers. The RDC uses 23 forklift trucks, including one counterbalance truck for pallet transport, one forklift with a clamp attachment for transporting larger tyres, and several reach trucks and tiller-controlled electric order picking machines. Although Honold's reach trucks are used in both shifts and have replacement batteries, no replacement batteries are provided for the other vehicles.
Fronius chargers and no others
Honold in Korbach relies solely on Fronius chargers, supplied by the Austrian specialist in 2006 as original equipment. There is a special charger for every battery type. All 23 chargers are of the "Selectiva Plus" type. They are all equipped with Fronius "Active Inverter Technology" rather than conventional inverter (high frequency) technology or old 50 Hz transformer technology. An extremely high efficiency level of 94% reduces energy costs dramatically (by up to a third) when compared with the old 50 Hz transformer and conventional HF devices. 94% efficiency means that 94% of the power drawn from the socket is used to charge the battery. Old 50 Hz transformer and conventional HF devices achieve just 60 to 80%.
"As part of our investment plan, we considered which battery charging systems would be future-proof", emphasises Theo Grünewald, Logistics Manager at Honold. "Some factors were essential: careful charging of valuable batteries in a way that would extend their service life, and a sensible approach to energy usage." They then checked out the market and contacted battery suppliers. "In the end, we decided on Fronius chargers", says the manager. "The lower electricity costs were one of the deciding factors for us", adds Adrian Grimm. The manager of the RDC illustrates the size of the saving with an example: "On January 1st 2009 we took over the factory logistics of the Continental site in Aachen from another logistics service provider who had previously used battery chargers with 50 Hz transformer technology. We immediately changed completely to Fronius chargers with Active Inverter Technology but the energy supplier assessed our monthly advance payments for 2009 on the basis of the electricity consumption in 2008 when the 50 Hz chargers were used. In January 2010 we received a fat credit from the local energy supplier."