Warehousing, Logistics, and Materials Handling Equipment
Warehouse capacity is an expensive and increasingly rare commodity, with profit margins being squeezed, and demand growing relentlessly. A challenge for logistics operators is to seek ways to alleviate these pressures whilst maintaining service levels.
Hydrogen fuel cells provide the solution to some of the problems faced in modern 24/7 warehouses, allowing MHE fleet operators to achieve the highest levels of efficiency from their assets and maximise the use of floorspace for revenue generation, all whilst reducing operational costs.
Working closely with our partners, we have helped develop direct battery replacement products for a range of materials handling equipment with our IE-POWER modules at their core. The uniquely compact, robust design and high-power output make these modules perfect for forklift trucks, cherry pickers, AGVs and other demanding applications where efficiency and reliability are key.
Why not batteries?
Lead-acid batteries are inexpensive and widely supported, but the technology is aging and has significant drawbacks for multi-shift operations such as:
- Large amounts of valuable space taken up for battery charging rooms.
- Several batteries are required per truck that require regular maintenance
- Long charging and cool down times with off-gassing as a large concern
- Li-Ion is newer and more efficient but is more expensive, still requires a large amount of floor space for charging activities and can involve costly site upgrades with regards to power infrastructure.
Benefits of using fuel cells over batteries: Hydrogen fuel cells are the ideal solution for a multi-shift operation.
- Improved % OEE of the MHE fleet – by eliminating “battery droop” and minimising the time needed for battery swaps or recharging, MHE operators can consistently achieve more per shift.
- Zero emission – in use and in the supply chain if using green hydrogen. Producing hydrogen directly using on-site renewable electricity not only improves energy security but can also have significant cost and carbon savings.
- Alleviate space constraints – With only one fuel cell ‘power pack’ required per truck, no extra spend is required on unnecessary spares, and no large areas of floorspace taken are up by battery charging infrastructure.
- Cost savings over batteries for multi-shift operations – When considered from a TCO point of view, fuel cell powered MHE enable fleet operators to realise significant cost and revenue improvements over battery equivalents.
Converting your MHE fleet to hydrogen is as simple as swapping an empty battery for a charged one – the power packs use the same connectors as the batteries they replace to provide power to the truck, which means no modifications are needed and warranties are not affected. The operators still use the equipment in exactly the same way as before, but with no gradual reduction in power over a shift, plus quicker, easier, and safer refuelling as battery swaps are completely eliminated.
Supporting infrastructure is also simplified, as a single refuelling station can replace an entire battery charging room, allowing the space to be reclaimed for other activities, generating more revenue per square meter.