Flexi LiTHiON range of lithium-ion powered articulated trucks energise the forklift market

Cold Chain Federation member Narrow Aisle Ltd launched the Flexi LiTHiON range of lithium powered articulated reach trucks at CEMAT in spring 2018 and the lithium product range is becoming a popular choice for a number of specific customer groups.

The fully integrated Flexi lithium-ion system requires zero maintenance and delivers extended multi-shift availability – making models in the Flexi LiTHiON collection the ideal energy solution for modern order fulfillment operations, temperature controlled stores, chemical stores and automotive manufacturing facilities.

Truck availability is optimised thanks to the lithium battery’s short recharge cycle: the Flexi LiTHiON battery can be fully charged within one or two hours, even if the battery is fully discharged, which enables the battery topping-up process to be carried out at the most convenient opportunity, such as when the operator is taking a break during his or her shift.

Furthermore, water topping-up is not required, which means that the type of health and safety issues that can arise if liquids are spilt during the traditional lead-acid battery charging process, are eliminated.

With all drive, hydraulic and power-steering functions digitally controlled and integrated with the battery’s advanced software systems, the Flexi LiTHiON is able to perform at full power throughout a typical shift with no drop off in performance levels. This ability to distribute consistent power levels, means maximum efficiency is achieved even during the busiest multi-shift operation.

Flexi LiTHiON trucks require no battery maintenance – the truck monitors the battery function constantly and reports the battery status in real time – and the combination of fully integrated digital motors and lithium-ion power is so effective when it comes to eliminating wasted power that truck availability is typically increased by 25 per cent every day.

Models in Narrow Aisle’s Flexi LiTHiON range can operate safely and efficiently in aisles as narrow as 1.6 metres wide and can lift loads weighing up to 2.5 kg and to heights of 14 metres. Like all models in the Flexi range, they feature the well known easy to drive True Radius technology that allows the truck’s mast to rotate through 220 degrees smoothly. True Radius functionality makes Flexis particularly straightforward to operate and has been proved to significantly reduce rack or product damage within any reach truck-serviced warehouse.

Operational efficiency is further enhanced by the Flexi LiTHiON’s low noise output: the trucks are some 30 per cent quieter than, for example, models of the same type powered by LP Gas or with PTO steering.

In fact, John Maguire, managing director of Narrow Aisle Ltd, believes that many users of LP Gas-powered handling equipment in warehousing will switch to machines that run on lithium-ion batteries, as the ideal way of reducing running costs, exhaust emissions and operational noise levels.

He says: “LP Gas is costly and linked to global oil prices, and from an operational point of view, the time taken to change or fill each gas bottle means that truck downtime can be a problem for some high utilisation customers. If a bulk tank can be justified then storage of multiple bottles can be avoided.

“In addition, the control systems and catalytic converters required to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide emission from LPG engines add significantly to a truck’s operating costs, so it’s easy to see why many people are talking about lithium-ion powered trucks as a cost-effective alternative to LPG machines.”

John Maguire adds: “The Flexi LiTHiON range is clean, quiet, powerful efficient and easy to drive and will prove a highly popular product with third party logistics service suppliers and own-account warehouse operators looking to achieve maximum supply chain efficiency. ”

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