Industrial lifting machines have long been giving a nod to the green transition offered by electrification but the trend seems to be clear now, with more and more branches of this segment laying out concrete steps towards the electric conversion of a broad range of mobile machines and vehicles.
From the earth moving machines used in construction sites or in agriculture, to the AGVs and LGVs employed in automated logistics, all the way to the aerial work platforms and electric cranes operating in the field of urban systems and maintenance, there is a ton of applications that have taken on the energy transition challenge and the 9th GIS Expo will definitely be proof of this.
From 5 to 7 October 2023, leading players from the world of heavy transport, lifting, and industrial and port handling machinery and equipment will be back at the Piacenza Expo fair grounds to dive deep into the most recent technological developments in this sector, which is now on the fast track to zero emissions.
What latest trends are we talking about and what are the advantages for lifting machines and the entire lithium electrification department?
Construction and heavy-duty material handling leading the latest electrification trend
While the core business of many lifting machinery manufacturers is still set on internal combustion, a large number of construction companies are on a pioneering mission and quickly making the shift to hybrid or electric fleets. The aim is to preserve sites from pollution and noise emissions, in line with the challenges set by the European Green Deal.
Power, reliability and customisation: the three top advantages of lithium for construction site machines
Correctly managing energy use and the currents at play is the toughest challenge in the electric conversion of machines like heavy-duty side loaders, excavators, cranes and mini-cranes, which demand long range and high performance. For these applications, which use a significant amount of power to do their job at the site, the Flash Battery R&D team has been putting to work its expertise in the development of custom solutions, to develop battery packs from 24 to over 700V that, in a small space, can store high amounts of energy under the efficient management of our proprietary electronics.
However, energy demand is not everything. To keep pace with the high standards of this sector, it has to go hand-in-hand with the search of greater levels of safety. In defining the technical characteristics the right battery for these vehicles should have, we need to choose a chemistry that intrinsically represents a good compromise between these two needs.
Today, LFP chemistry (lithium-iron-phosphate) is the winning choice in construction because it is the safest and most stable option you can find in the market. Making it so is its high decomposition temperature and slow release of heat, plus it ensures the vehicles that use it reliability, performance and high-range.
Last, but definitely not least, is the need for optimum performance in extreme climate conditions. Construction vehicles work in the open most of the year and are faced with very different climates. This is an important consideration to make when designing the battery because it has to be robust enough to withstand the constant stress to which the vehicles are subject but also designed for the operating temperatures they will be experiencing (IP seal rating, integrated thermal management systems)
AT GIS EXPO 2023,
DISCOVER FLASH BATTERY’S LITHIUM BATTERIES, CUSTOMISED TO THE NEEDS OF YOUR VEHICLE
HALL 1 – STAND C169-D200
Shift to lithium growing in aerial work platforms, the true electrification pioneers
The AWP sector was one of the first industrial segments in the material lifting field to require a major technological shift on the electrification side, by choosing lithium batteries over lead. Today, requests are continuing to grow in this segment, which is following a clear principle: given the current technology in terms of space, volume, costs and charging infrastructure, the trend is in fact moving towards the electrification of small-size applications, with batteries in the 10 kWh to 40 kWh range
Lithium in electric aerial platforms appreciated for its efficiency, ease of use and range
Top advantages that OEMs and manufacturers of spider lifts and platforms attribute to the transition to lithium include substantial efficiency gains (25% more efficient than lead) and the total absence of pollution and noise emissions. The latter turns out to be extremely important because these vehicles tend to operate in urban areas or in enclosed or confined spaces.
Another characteristic that makes Flash Battery lithium batteries a strategic choice for this sector is the possibility to recharge to 50% in as little as 25 minutes, thereby increasing the daily range of the battery and minimising machine downtime. What’s more, the operator can continue to use the machine while it is charging, optimising the work shift even more.
Making lithium technology perfect for this sector is also the fact that it is completely maintenance-free, doing away with a large number of additional costs. If implemented with a remote control system, lithium batteries offer the added advantage of increasingly improving the performance of the machine. Such is the case of Flash Battery’s Flash Data Center, our automatic and real-time advanced remote control system that ensures the interconnectivity of the over 18,000 Flash Battery lithium battery systems now operating across the world
Hybrid gaining traction for knuckle-boom cranes
In the lifting equipment category, the demand for hybrid systems is now coming into play in the articulating crane and mini-crane segment. In hybrid systems, the machines work in battery-powered full-electric mode but can also tap into a range extender in the form of a motor-generator.
This has two important advantages:
- construction site operators will feel safer knowing they can rely on an alternative option based on the operations they need to perform
- pollution emissions and fumes are drastically reduced, because the combustion engine only works for a short period of time and in many cases, it is there just to back up the efficiency of the lithium battery.
Here, like in the other cases, lithium brings the advantage of greater efficiency and lower emissions. With Flash Battery’s advanced technology, there is also the additional benefit of developing purpose-built mechanical systems and dedicated firmware that respond to the specific needs of this kind of application via personalised consulting.
Zero emissions, zero noise and zero maintenance: railway is also going electric
Many spider lift and aerial work platform manufacturers are betting on electric for railway applications, especially in the field of specialty machines for construction and maintenance of railway tracks or tunnels. This sector is particularly fussy when it comes to sustainability and safety and has found lithium to be the right compromise towards a zero emissions and low noise pollution approach that simultaneously matches the efficiency,performance and range of combustion engine-powered models, cutting maintenance costs to zero.
In terms of efficiency and range, Flash Battery lithium batteries are setting the pace with a service life of over 4,000 cycles, often outlasting the lifespan of the machine. Moreover, the possibility of doing partial charges and discharges as well as equalised control of the cells by the patented electronics built-into the battery, called Flash Balancing System, help to optimise the life cycles and ensure protection even during extended periods of inactivity, amping up performance.
Predictivity and energy are Flash Battery’s watchwords for GIS Expo 2023
Since 2012, Flash Battery has been catering to the construction site machine and vehicle market with its expertise and offering of lithium battery solutions specifically developed for the various different applications.
GIS Expo will be the right stage to give heavy lifting equipment manufacturers a glimpse into the most recent technological advances from our R&D department, which accounts for more than 35% of our staff, and feels more compelled than ever to search for new materials and processes to achieve higher and higher efficiency.
Increased energy density with fourth-generation cells
To respond to the demands of energy-intensive machines and vehicles such as the specialty machines of the construction and heavy-duty material handling sector, we banked on the introduction of a fourth generation of cells, which will further increase the energy density of our battery packs up to a maximum of 190Wh/kg.
Together with our mechanical and electronic customisation capabilities and the safety offered by LFP chemistry, this will enable us to store more and more energy in a small space and volume and simultaneously offer high standards of safety and better performance.
Customisation is what allows us to respond to the needs of a broad range of applications and segments. For example, the requirements and performance of a battery made for a telescopic hander will be quite distinct from those of an aerial work platform. Every Flash Battery lithium battery is, therefore, designed according to an 8-step industrial process, where all the industrial areas collaborate to support the customer and together come up with the electrification solution best suited to the specific machine or vehicle.
Through this approach, we have been able to develop all the skills needed to produce most strategic components in-house with the ultimate goal of achieving perfect integration that not only allows our batteries to perform at their best, but also delivers added value in terms of performance, range and zero maintenance costs for the entire machine.
Predictive diagnostics 24/7, for higher performance fleets
Gis Expo will also be a good testing ground for the latest update of our Flash Data Center, the proprietary remote control portal that uses new artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to automatically analyse battery parameters 24/7 and accurately determine the battery’s state of health.
This makes self-diagnostics and predictive maintenance possible and also allows accurate planning of the battery’s end of life, resulting in lower disposal costs and improved efficiency of component re-use processes.
Flash Data Center is a smart system that learns and improves performance based on the analysed data and allows manufacturers to run advanced and predictive analyses of the big data related to their battery systems in real time and get increasingly more performance and productivity out of their fleets.
Want to learn more? Mark our position!
Our sales team will be eagerly waiting for you at GIS Expo from 5 to 7 October: hall 1, booth C169 – D200