Following the extraordinary progress of electrical powerpack technology based on lithium-ion batteries, the future of industrial machinery is ready to abandon the internal combustion engine once and for all, and enter a new era of efficiency and sustainability.
The new Industrial Revolution 4.0 has arrived: the theoretical imperative of sustainable development for our planet has become a full-scale priority, and action on the government and industrial level can no longer wait – especially since we have discovered, thanks to the forward momentum of technological innovation in numerous fields of research, that sustainability can be perfectly integrated into existing production systems, even creating greater efficiency. One common denominator defines this new epoch: the electrification of the industrial world with lithium-ion batteries.
It is clear now that the transition from the internal-combustion engine to electric power will offer numerous benefits, including reduced operating costs and virtually zero maintenance. “Lithium” electric is in fact a consolidated and increasingly reliable technology, one that allows for minimum wear and tear on the mechanical components of a vehicle. Not to mention the reduction in consumption, obtained thanks to the energy offered by those three special letters – kWh – that represent a decidedly more economical alternative to traditional internal-combustion power and its excessive needs in terms of management and supply costs. In short, today, an electric vehicle is the perfect choice for any application that involves mechanical and automatic work methods and requires extreme autonomy. And then there’s environmental sustainability, another point in favour of electrification: electric vehicles either do not emit fine particulates or do so in minimal quantities, and none of them emit greenhouse gases since none of them burn fossil fuels. That’s sure a good thing for the health of our planet, ourselves, and the people who work with industrial machinery every day! Last but not least is the significant reduction in noise pollution, another irritating side effect of vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. An electric vehicle is more comfortable for the driver, and crucially, can be operated even in residential areas, at any time, without disturbing the peace.
In Italy, several cutting-edge producers were quick to understand the many advantages linked to electrification – among them a leading player in the sector, Flash Battery. The technological and production history of this all-Italian specialist in the manufacture and customisation of lithium batteries for industrial machinery and electric vehicles is built upon its capacity to understand and respond to its clients’ specific needs, offering customised, high-tech lithium-ion battery packs with a proprietary control electronics: a genuinely impressive product that makes the words “internal combustion” a distant memory for many producers of industrial machinery.
The issue of maintenance is a critical one in the field of lifting equipment. It is frequently a difficult, onerous, and complex matter to resolve, given the widespread tendency towards vehicle rental. But when maintenance becomes a non-issue, it’s a different story altogether. Manufacturers’ interest now turns to those who have made a genuine modus operandi of the concept of “Zero Maintenance”: in Italy, many producers of trolleys and aerial work platforms have decided to entrust the electrification of their vehicles to the expertise and experience of Flash Battery. Its patent-pending proprietary control electronics maintains balance and efficiency in LFP-type lithium-ion batteries (the safest and most stable variety on the market, as well as the best-suited for industrial applications) from every point of view, making the need for maintenance close to non-existent. Additionally, even in the event of extraordinary interventions, the battery’s internal workings and combined balancing do not require the use of specialised personnel and work can be done directly on-site at the user’s premises, thus ensuring significant cost savings and avoiding the onerous costs of transportation and prolonged machinery downtime.
HIGH ENERGY DENSITY
Today, Flash Battery is a genuine European leader in the study, design and production of high-tech lithium-ion batteries. Ongoing internal research, along with the increasingly customised solutions being offered to clients, are making a significant contribution to the electric conversion of many diverse fields of application – and where electric power was already used in its lead-based form, helping replace that technology with the more efficient and cost-saving lithium-ion option. Yet another advantage of lithium-ion batteries is certainly their higher energy density (more energy available with a lower volume and weight), which allows machinery and industrial vehicles to operate with significantly more working autonomy and/or travel range. This innovation has given an ever-increasing boost towards electrification, and Flash Battery is its undisputed leader. Thanks to the continuous study undertaken by its research and development department, in recent years the company has drastically increased the energy density of its latest generation of powerpacks: in just three years, they went from 134 Wh/L to 207 Wh/L, a result that is surprising to put it mildly. This clearly shows the extent to which research and innovation are integral to the business model of the Italian market leader in the production of highly-customisable lithium-ion batteries.
LONG LIFE AND FAST CHARGING
The advantages brought by Flash Battery’s technological research into customised lithium-ion batteries have meant extraordinary benefits for manufacturers in all sectors, from mobile concrete pumping and distribution systems to street cleaning machines, all the way to AGV vehicles for logistics and equipment for lifting people and materials. In particular, Flash Battery has made countless customised lithium powerpacks for manufacturers of aerial work platforms: for example, this makes it possible to save a significant amount of space in the general layout of the PLE, reducing bulk and limiting weight. Today Flash Battery’s state-of-the-art lithium powerpacks have not only an extremely long life – over 4,000 charging cycles, which in the world of lifting equipment equals if not exceeds the lifetime of most of the machinery itself – but also ensure the important prerogative of rapid charging. This allows the machinery or vehicles to continue operating for several shifts in complete autonomy, restoring 50% charge in just 30 minutes. This drastic reduction in recharging time has also been a great advantage in every application of the aerial platforms themselves, especially for self-propelled models (those most often used in industrial and urban settings and on construction sites) and offers the possibility of continuous work while recharging. The possibility of partial recharging while the platform is in use, without needing to move the equipment to a dedicated charging station, has caused a total revolution in the world of lifting equipment and in many other fields. The obsolescence of the internal combustion engine, like the inefficiency of lead batteries, has come to light thanks to the lithium-ion energy that is replacing it as we move into a new era of sustainability and advanced energy efficiency – and Flash Battery is one of the field’s undisputed pioneers.