Lithium-ion technology has been used in laptops and telephones for more than 20 years, and now this high performance chemistry has been harnessed for use in large format batteries for motive power, standby power, renewable energy and the rail industry.
The next step in its evolution is the development of lithium-ion batteries for material handling systems – and GNB Industrial Power (UK) Limited, a division of Exide Technologies, is at the forefront of these advances.
Over the past few years GNB has been working towards developing a unique lithium-ion offering, which can be tailored to each of its customer’s specific needs. The result is a lightweight yet high performance battery, ideal for motive power applications.
Working closely with several materials handling OEMs and end users, GNB has assessed the value of lithium-ion and the benefits it can provide over its lead-acid equivalents. The main advantage was found to be an increase in productivity. As lithium-ion can be fast charged (typically taking only one hour to fully charge) during regular existing breaks in the working day, for example lunch times, unproductive periods that result from lead tray exchange are avoided. It is also more efficient during the charge cycle, which leads to lower electricity consumption and consequently a reduction in utility costs.
In addition, lithium-ion does not gas so there is no requirement for extraction and no need to charge batteries in one specific area. In existing facilities where lithium-ion batteries are retrospectively fitted, this can lead to better space utilisation and increased production. In new buildings this allows for the removal of the battery charging area completely, increasing floor space and negating the need for investment in expensive equipment.
“Lithium-ion for motive power is the result of over five years of development, working closely with our customers to create the most advanced, yet practical, lithium-ion battery solution for materials handling systems,” explains Alastair Johnston, director of business development, advanced batteries at GNB Industrial Power (UK) Ltd.
“Our strength is in our system development experience, delivery, and support. As such we are uniquely placed to provide full system solutions, access to a range of technologies and chemistries, service and maintenance support, as well as lifecycle management. There are many different Lithium-ion technologies available, all of which have their own advantages and disadvantages, but we are able to provide guidance on the best system for a customers needs – a truly bespoke service,” concluded Alastair.