Tel: 877-505-3589
Home · Flux Blog (Currents)

Currents

Official Blog of Flux Power Inc.

Foreman’s View on Lithium-Ion Lift Trucks in Warehouse Operations

We recently sat down with a warehouse operations foreman at just one of the many locations using Flux Power lithium-ion battery packs. Mike C. works at a major national foods distributor in Minnesota.

Flux Power: Mike, thanks for your time today. Can you tell us about the setup and scope of your warehouse?

Mike: We run 18 hours a day Monday through Friday, with two overlapping 10 hour shifts. We have a 62,000 square foot warehouse, with 85% taken by racking and storage. The rest of the space has pick lines for assembling orders, with two 210’ side by side conveyor belts with automatic wrappers at the end and pallet jacks for each line.

lithium-ion for warehouse forklifts

Flux Power: Tell us how many lifts you have.

Mike: In this warehouse we have 11 lifts, 4 of them are Crown pallet jacks. Two of the pallet jacks we run all the time. The other 2 we use for peak periods. We have Flux Power’s lithium-ion LiFT Packs in all four walkie pallet jacks.

Flux Power: What were you hoping to accomplish by using lithium-ion energy?

Mike: To be honest, I got lucky. I didn’t know that lithium existed for these pallet jacks when we got it. We were due to replace our equipment and management went with the Flux Power LiFT pack. I love them.

Flux Power: That’s great to hear, what do you love about lithium-ion packs?

Mike: The fact that you don’t have to water them! No watering…this is huge! When I can take 4 lifts off my list of worrying about ‘Did I water this one? Does that one need water?’ That’s huge in itself.

And the fact that you can plug them in and not worry about charge memory, that’s also good.

We’re interested in the upcoming Flux Power lithium-ion packs for sit down forklifts and full size lifts. Not having to water them – it’s just great to fire them up and forget them.

Flux Power: Was there anything surprising about using lithium-ion compared to lead-acid in your operations?

Mike: Lithium power feels more like ‘power-on / power-off’; whereas lead-acid runs at lower amperage so initial starts behave slightly differently. We got used to it quickly, but there was a slight learning curve.

Other than that, lithium-ion simply performs and it’s low-maintenance. Low maintenance is all I ask for in equipment. It works and doesn’t ask for a lot.

Flux Power: Do you have any advice for your peers still running lead-acid packs?

Mike: Switch to lithium. Working with Flux has been great, the ease of use is much better with lithium. Saves time and headaches and more cost efficient over the long run.

Flux Power: Thanks for sharing. Is there anything else you’ve observed with the lithium packs?

Mike: On the same note as the low-maintenance, it’s also nice not having to worry about the safety issues of lead-acid. It’s good to know Flux Power has performed rigorous UL testing on the lithium packs, which gives us peace of mind for safety. Overall, we love them and wouldn’t want to go back to the old lead-acid days.

Flux Power: We know you’re very busy and appreciate your time sharing your firsthand experience with lithium-ion packs in your operations. Have a great day!

Mike: Thanks.


If you’re interested in transitioning your material handling operations to lithium-ion, contact Flux Power today at 877-505-3589 or sales@fluxpwr.com.

Lithium-ion is Making an Impact in the Material Handling Industry

A few years ago, many warehouse operators, logistics professionals and procurement offices were scarcely aware that forklifts could be powered by anything other than the traditional lead-acid batteries pervasive in material handling facilities. As the leading pioneer in lithium-ion technologies for the material handling market, California-based Flux Power has engaged in countless discussions and interviews helping to educate the market on the benefits of lithium-ion over lead acid to power forklifts. Today, as 2017 is winding down…the word is (mostly) out.

Operations are transforming with the adoption of lithium-ion battery packs to power electric forklifts. 

Benefits of Lithitum-Ion in Material Handling

Not having to water batteries is a huge plus.  Being able to plug in the lithium-ion packs whenever you want for as long or short as you want (opportunity charge) is another big convenience. No need to have a separate battery charging room saves space. Being able to run your lifts for longer periods of time without losing power, and the overall longevity of the battery itself are all just some of the many reasons that companies are switching from lead-acid in favor of lithium-ion.

The benefits are so compelling, there is a natural viral effect as operators see how much better it is to run on lithium-ion.

Customers Spread the Word of Lithium-Ion for Walkies and Forklifts

Here’s just one of many examples, Flux Power recently received an order for several high powered lithium-ion walkie battery packs from a Connecticut-based produce and dairy company.  The company heard about the benefits of using Flux LiFT Packs from their sister company, a meat processing plant also located in the beautiful “nutmeg” state of Connecticut. 

flux-power-lithium-ion-ct-customers

We continue to see this type of sprawl as warehouses readily welcome the new Li-ion technology to power their fleets. Drop in compatibility means no conversion kits needed. And UL Listed status means trusted safety expected.  


If you’re interested in transitioning your material handling operations to lithium-ion, contact Flux Power today at 877-505-3589 or sales@fluxpwr.com.

Why UL Marks are Important for Lithium-ion Batteries in Industrial Applications / Walkie Pallet Jacks

Underwriter Laboratories (UL) is an organization whose mission is “to build a safer, more secure and more sustainable today and tomorrow” by helping companies establish trustworthy products in the marketplace. To achieve this mission UL requires products go through rigorous testing by industry-standard UL test labs.

To better understand why UL is important, it is best to understand what certifications are offered and how they differ. Currently UL offers two different certifications detailed below.
 

UL Listed

Products with a UL Listing have been tested to meet nationally recognized safety standards. They have been tested as complete final products, and found to be free from reasonably foreseeable risk of fire, electric shock and other hazards; and display the UL Listed Mark on product packaging and marketing materials (shown above).

UL Listed lithium-ion walkie pallet truck batteries can be used in all brands currently available, giving the end user a tremendous level of confidence that any equipment will run safely and ensure the protection of employees and property.
 
 

UL Recognized Component

Components covered by UL’s “Recognized Component” program are intended to be installed in another device, system or end product and are not a final product. They must be factory installed (no field installation) and they may have restricted performance capabilities that limit their use.

When looking at industrial lithium-ion batteries for walkie pallet trucks, this mark restricts which trucks the battery is compatible with, and further testing of the end product is required to obtain a full UL Listing.

UL Experience and Expertise

UL is the global standard for certifying the compliance and safety of electronic equipment. UL invests its resources in making sure it’s standards are up to date in today’s rapidly changing market ensuring tested products are safe for users. To help maintain trust, UL partners with law enforcement worldwide to seize counterfeit products that attempt to fraudulently bear UL marks.

Why Use a UL Listed Lithium-Ion Battery?

UL Listed lithium-ion batteries are creating a paradigm shift not only in the consumer world, but in the material handling industry as well. The long runtimes, no maintenance, fast-charge capability and reduced cost of ownership make lithium-ion an attractive choice for industrial equipment such as walkie pallet trucks and forklifts.

As with any new technology, questions about safety arise and it is informative and helpful having a trusted independent third-party such as UL conduct extensive product testing and certification. End users then have confidence in the safety of their employees and operation.
 
___________
Flux Power is pleased to offer the UL Listed LiFT Pack™ lithium-ion battery. The LiFT Pack fits almost any existing walkie pallet truck on the market, and is a drop-in replacement for lead-acid.

To learn more contact Flux Power at sales@fluxpwr.com or call us at 877-505-3589.  
 

Six Reasons Lithium-ion Batteries Work Better for Pallet Jacks than Traditional Power Sources

Lithium-ion batteries are gradually replacing older battery technologies in a variety of applications.  When it comes to material handling and electric walkie pallet trucks in particular, the switch is happening for a number of compelling reasons.

  1. No Need to Water Lithium-Ion batteries

Lead acid batteries require regular watering to maintain battery health. Watering is required because when lead-acid batteries charge, water in the electrolyte splits into hydrogen and oxygen, creating explosive dangerous gas that must be ventilated.  This process, along with evaporation, lowers water levels in the battery. If the water is not replaced and the battery stays in use, it causes damage and reduces the battery life.  In addition, overfilling the battery creates a risk of acid spills, a messy and dangerous business.

Lithium-ion batteries, on the other hand, are completely sealed and require no watering. Charging and cell balancing is monitored by the battery management system so equalization charges are never needed and no dangerous gasses are ever generated under normal use.

  1. Lithium-Ion Batteries Charge Faster

Battery charge times vary depending on battery capacity, chemistry, and charger output.  Lead acid batteries produce a substantial amount of heat when charging and require a ‘cooldown’ period afterward.  A typical charge/use cycle for lead acid is 8 ours use, 8 hours charge and 8 hours rest/cooldown.  By contrast, a typical charge cycle for a lithium-ion battery could be 8 hours use, 1 hour charge, and 8 hours use (no cooldown needed).  This allows the battery to be used continuously, while charging during breaks and lunch.

When running two or three shift operations, lead-acid batteries must be swapped out for charging and cooldown, meaning additional batteries are needed as well as storage areas with ventilation for dangerous gases.  By contrast, with lithium-ion batteries running your fleet of walkie pallet jacks, you do not need to swap batteries nor do you need ventilated charging / storage areas.

  1. Say Goodbye to Acid and Lead Contamination

Acid spills and lead contamination are especially significant to industries such as food processing, grocery, pharmaceutical and beverage delivery.  No company wants walkie pallet jacks to be a source of contamination for their products or employees.  By shifting from lead acid to lithium-ion batteries, you never need to worry about acid spills and lead contamination again.

  1. Lithium-ion Lasts Longer

Lithium-ion technology is widely used in portable electronic devices because it provides long runtimes, and has superior cycle life.  Pioneers in the lithium-ion sector for industrial applications, such as Flux Power, are taking the benefits of lithium-ion and applying them to material handling applications.  Lithium-ion batteries for pallet jacks last 3-5x longer.

Runtime testing has shown that lithium-ion batteries have dramatically increased runtimes when compared to lead-acid. A Flux LiFT Pack lithium-ion battery in an electric walkie pallet jack runs 45% longer than similarly rated (amp-hour) lead-acid batteries.  This coupled with fast charging capabilities equals less downtime and greater productivity.

  1. Lithium-ion Batteries Are More Powerful

Lithium-ion batteries have flat discharge curves and provide higher constant power compared to lead-acid. This basically means that you can continue using your lithium-ion powered pallet jack without annoying sluggishness as the battery drains. Keeping your inventory moving and workers happy.

  1. Simple Switch to Green Technology

There are numerous benefits when converting to lithium-ion technology, including the simple fact that lithium-ion is a more ‘green’ solution, with zero emissions, no lead, and no acid.  The chemistry is also more efficiency, meaning you’ll be using up to 30% less energy, reducing CO2 emissions.  The batteries also last longer, meaning you’re using 3-5x fewer batteries, further reducing CO2 emissions.  The batteries are weighted to meet minimum truck requirements and can weigh a couple hundred pounds. A solution like the Flux LiFT Pack is plug and play. So you can convert an existing fleet of lift truck lead-acid batteries without any conversion kit required. Simply disconnect your old battery, lift and replace with your new lithium-ion battery to begin using a more convenient, productive and cost-effective power source.

_________

For more information on converting your walkie pallet jacks to lithium-ion power, visit fluxpwr.com.

 

 

New file

We are pleased to announce that Flux Power and our CEO Ron Dutt have been recognized by Food Logistics Magazine for our efforts in bringing our LiFT Pack lithium-ion battery technology to benefit operations in the food and beverage industry supply chain. In Food Logistics’ annual survey, Ron Dutt was named one of Food Logistics Magazine’s 2017 Champions: Rock Stars of the Supply Chain.

With over 24,000 subscribers and an active website and social media presence, Food Logistics is the only publication exclusively dedicated to food and beverage industry executives. While industrial battery executives are not often thought of as “Rocks Stars,” we completely agree that Ron is our star, and we are extremely grateful for the food and beverage industry’s acknowledgement of the hard work of the entire Flux team under Ron’s steady leadership. Flux’s press release announcing this honor can be accessed here.

For the past three years, Flux has been singularly focused on transforming the energy storage options available to the food logistics industry and other material handling intensive businesses. Flux’s state-of-the-art lithium forklift batteries deliver improved performance, efficiency, run times and useful life, with little or no maintenance and no risk of acid spills or vapor – all at a substantially lower total cost of ownership. It’s a win-win for the customer and the food logistics industry.

The acknowledgement by Food Logistics underscores the increasing interest, piloting and shipments of Flux LiFT Pack batteries to power multi-shift operations at a growing base of food industry distribution centers across America. Moreover, Flux LiFT Packs are based on safe cell chemistry and are the first UL 2271 listed lithium battery offerings to power forklifts – the indispensable workhorses of food logistics.

We thank Food Logistics for their coverage of important news and trends in the industry and in particular for highlighting how Flux battery solutions can support the future success of food and beverage industry participants. Not only does this honor support our existing dialogues, but the publication’s reach will expand awareness of the coming new age of Flux battery technology to more effectively power food and beverage operations.

Flux Power Holdings

Q1 ’17 Q&A with CEO Ron Dutt

1. What is the status of Flux’s lithium pack built for airline ground support equipment?

A: During our fiscal fourth quarter of 2016, we successfully completed a pilot of our custom-developed, 72-volt battery pack to power electric aviation ground support equipment with a leading regional airline at Los Angeles International Airport.  Feedback on our packs from both the airline and our distribution partner is very positive and Flux expects to break through with first sales to this customer in the quarter to come.  The successful development and 3-month pilot highlights the scalability of our design and engineering capabilities, as well as, our proprietary battery management technology for a broad array of motive power applications. Importantly it also moves us into a customer price point of roughly $20,000 to $25,000 per pack for several power rating alternatives, creating an excellent new leg of growth potential.

LAX is also the site of a second trial with another major airline that is progressing well.  The industry has taken note of the performance features of our lithium power solution and are eager to upgrade past legacy sources of power for ground support equipment.  Performance of our lithium packs is apparent, they only remaining hurdle to firm orders is to demonstrate cost value proposition of lithium power to the accountants who keep a firm eye on initial spending decisions.

Charlatte, the leading manufacturer of battery powered electric airport vehicles throughout Europe and the USA, is now conducting a review and trial of our GSE pack.  We believe the support of Charlatte will be a major influence in our exposure and sales growth.  

2. Can you talk about some of the large accounts that have just started the piloting process for their walkie pallet jack forklift fleets?

A: Flux has on-boarded more than a dozen large accounts over the last two years all of whom have transacted modest sales to date as a precursor to full deployment at some point in the future.  More recently, Flux has commenced the piloting process with another dozen or more large accounts that have caught wind through the industry grapevine of the performance and long term cost benefits of our lithium power solution.  I define ‘large accounts’ as an organization that maintains anywhere from 100 – 500 walkie pallet jacks in their fleet of equipment and in most cases owns or rents larger forklifts such as End Riders (a Class III cousin of walkie pallet jacks) in addition to Class I vehicles.  

The most active interest in our LiFT Packs continues to come from companies involved with food and beverage distribution, grocery stores and specialty retail operations. 

3. What is the feedback from the OEM’s on the current lineup of UL Listed LiFT Packs

A: I met with Toyota and Crown at their headquarters over the summer to give them a Flux Power business update as well as to collectively strategize on our sales pipeline.  OEM’s are obviously very much aware of the entire forklift power ecosystem and see strong demand for lithium-based alternative power solutions. These OEMs, by the way, have approved our packs for use on their lift equipment.  It just so happens that Flux believes that we have the premier lithium-based solution due in part to our advanced technology and first-mover advantage including the only UL Listed product in this industry.  Equally important is the goodwill and trusted relationships Flux has built with a variety of dealers, distributors and clients; those parties are the beneficiaries of our commitment to client service.

4. Why are Flux LiFT Packs such a good fit for the food service industry?

We’ve been very impressed with the vision and openness of the food industry to trying a new power solution for their forklifts. The importance of reliability and performance, combined with a lower total cost of ownership was quick to resonate with this audience, generating some of our earliest customers and pilots. We are grateful for this support.  Now that we have built in customer requested features and secured UL and OEM approvals, we’re ramping our shipments and our production capacity to serve the demand we have created.

Flux batteries provide an enormous opportunity to optimize food industry supply chains by enhancing productivity, providing faster charging, longer operating times and eliminating battery maintenance while also reducing fixed costs. Our “LiFT Packs” are also an environmentally friendly battery solution that frees the food industry from the maintenance, venting, safety, performance, useful life and other drawbacks of lead acid batteries. 

5.  Can you give a high level overview of your battery management system?

Our systems use lithium-ion cells that are denser in energy than traditional lead-acid batteries, which allow our batteries to hold more charge over the same weight. In addition, our BMS protects the lithium-ion batteries enabling the lithium-ion batteries to reach their full life and cycle potential and generating longer run times than lead-acid based batteries.  Longer run times equates to fewer battery changes and therefore fewer costs over the same time period. Our systems manage individual cells and their charge cycles, which generally allows for more consistent discharge capability and ease of maintenance over an unmanaged battery. Through our BMS, we have enhanced battery systems overall to provide safer, more reliable and extended life rechargeable energy storage systems for applications including motive, marine, industrial, military, stationary, and grid management markets.  The lithium chemistry in our cells, Lithium iron phosphate, is one of the safest, most cost effective, and widely accepted Lithium alternatives available.

 

 

Copyright Flux Power © 2017