Europris invests in GNB lithium-ion for forklift fleetFriday, April 24, 2015
Norwegian wholesaler Europris is investing in lithium-ion batteries supplied by GNB Industrial Power, a division of Exide Technologies. The Norwegian company trialed GNB’s Sonnenschein Lithium batteries on some of its forklift fleet for six months, and lowered its operating costs significantly. Compared with traditional batteries, lithium-ion batteries are smaller and more energy efficient, and recharge around eight times faster. Charging times are so fast that the same battery can be used around the clock, with short bursts of recharging while workers take breaks.
Lithium-ion batteries are more expensive to buy but much cheaper to run and maintain. They are especially useful in 24/7 operations, which would otherwise require two to three batteries per forklift, switched throughout the day. Lithium-ion eliminates this need entirely, improving productivity and return on investment.
Lithium-ion technology also allows businesses to do away with charging rooms, freeing up floor space for storage and operations. This is particularly beneficial when space is at a premium, or where property prices are more expensive. The batteries also require no maintenance or water refilling, and lead to much-reduced energy bills compared with lead-acid batteries.
“We start by thinking about total cost of ownership when deciding between lead-acid and lithium-ion. The focus is always on the customer and the economics driving the decision,” said Michael Geiger, VP Sales & Marketing EMEA at Exide Technologies.
Europris is one of Norway’s biggest discount chains, with more than 220 stores. The company has around 200 forklifts across five warehouses, with the majority based in its main Øra warehouse just outside Fredrikstad.
Europris is in the process of replacing around 150 forklifts, with GNB providing lead-acid and Sonnenschein Lithium batteries, and a set of GNB chargers with specially optimized charging algorithms. GNB will supply its products through local dealers of forklift manufacturers Linde and Still, and will be helping Europris directly by providing knowledge and expertise. Europris bought five Sonnenschein Lithium batteries at first, with four coming through Linde and one through Still. Linde was also involved in the six-month trial process, working closely with GNB.
“We’re delighted to be working with Europris, and excited to see the benefits that Sonnenschein Lithium will deliver to the business,” said Harald Myhre, Sales Manager Norway at GNB Industrial Power.