Brüggen’s new fleet of fork-lift trucks

Brüggen’s logistics has been the proud owner of a new generation of ultra-modern fork-lift trucks for some months now. A new battery system, an online fleet management system and increased occupational safety are the advantages it brings.

Planning for the new fleet of fork-lift trucks started back in 2015. Calculable costs, reliable and flexible availability, shorter battery-charging times and online fleet management were the main objectives of the extensive project. A leasing option in conjunction with the company STILL was selected. This makes Brüggen the first major customer to change its complete fleet over to the new lithium-ion technology. Seventy-four new vehicles were procured, comprising various models of fork-lift trucks and elevating transporters. Beforehand, each department carried out a careful review of the requirements the new equipment would have to fulfil. The production assistants were given the opportunity to view the various models at the company premises and to select the features that are right for their purposes. Thirty-nine different models with various elevating heights, fork lengths and battery strengths are currently in use.

New Battery Technology

The main focus of the change-over was the switching from lead-acid batteries to lithium-ion batteries. The system has many benefits: it is completely closed, making it safer, more energy efficient and maintenance free. The change-over means a saving of labour and increased comfort for the employees. Instead of changing the batteries and connecting them to the charging stations, full charging taking six hours and filling them up with distilled water, it is now sufficient to charge them up easily via the power point accessible from outside. Costly installation and change-over times are a thing of the past – and the new system has a longer service life.

In stark contrast to the old batteries, intermediate charging is possible in any charging state and is even desirable. Similar to mobile phones, it is possible to charge up the new batteries for just a few minutes at a time. The batteries are fully charged after 1.5 hours. This does away with long waiting times and the batteries can be used with few interruptions.

The new closed system also does away with the dangers presented by the old batteries, thereby increasing occupational safety. The charging stations can therefore now be set up in the direct vicinity of the site of usage, doing away with long routes. A further benefit: the new batteries maintain their full efficiency, even when only marginally charged. With the old system, the equipment frequently lost its efficiency, especially towards the end of a shift. The fork-lift trucks can now operate for five hours before they require charging.

Online Fleet Management

The new equipment is also connected to a modern fleet management system. To this end, all vehicles are equipped with a SIM card, similar to mobile phones. Before use, employees must register and check whether there are any defects present on the equipment. The individual access authorisations ensure that only trained employees work with the equipment. Additionally, various additional functions ensure utmost safety since, at speeds of up to 12.5 kilometres an hour, the fork-lift trucks can be fairly fast.

The clear assignment of the equipment further ensures that the necessary vehicles are actually available to the departments when they are needed. The electronically transmitted data can be read out by Customer Services to enable fast repairs in the event of a disruption to services. All in all, the flagship project ensures a considerable improvement to the workflows and increases efficiency.

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