LogiMAT: Power options on show

Allan Leibowitz -
News Story
- 16 Jun 2022 ( #1081 ) - Stuttgart, Germany
7 min read
The big manufacturers were out in force. PHOTO: LogiMAT
The big manufacturers were out in force. PHOTO: LogiMAT

Rising fuel costs, environmental concerns and increased performance expectations thrust power solutions into focus at many stands at LogiMAT in Stuttgart.

China’s BYD, a lithium-ion battery pioneer which has successfully applied its technology to forklifts after making inroads into the bus market and the fast-growing EV market, showed off its biggest materials handling machine to date – the heavy-duty BYD ECB70/80.

Launched into a market sector dominated by diesel- and lead acid battery-powered trucks, the BYD ECB70/80 promises up to nine hours of operation on one charge.

Blade Feng
Blade Feng

Described by Blade Feng, BYD Europe forklift business unit director, as a true ‘diesel killer’, the ECB70/80 “finally brings a zero-emission solution with no compromise on performance to a sector that has relied for too long on polluting IC engines”.

LogiMAT visitors were also among the first in Europe to see the BYD ECB20S, a three-wheel counterbalance with a 2 T capacity which was originally scheduled to make its public debut at the cancelled 2020 staging of LogiMAT.

BYD also showed a new pair of powered pallet trucks - the PTP20P and PTW20Si – as well as a comprehensive range of chargers.

Baoli, the Chinese stablemate of KION’s Linde and Still, showed off three new lithium-ion battery trucks in Stuttgart. The new KBE-N series consists of 48 v electric forklifts with load capacities ranging from 2 - 2.5 T. Also making its debut was the EP 15-03 electric hand pallet truck. The new model has a load capacity of 1,500 kg and is powered by a 24 v battery. The new EP 20-111 electric low lift pallet truck with a load capacity of 2,000 kg, a foldable platform and side protection, was also on show.

Combilift debuted a new electric four-wheel sideloader, the FSLE. A diversion from Combilift’s core multi-directional sideloaders, the new model is aimed at meeting demand for an electric version of the more conventional machines. CEO Martin McVicar stresses that it is not a “me too” vehicle because of its new steering-controlled traction system and 360 degree visibility.

Eleven of the Irish manufacturer’s models on show in Stuttgart were electric, reflecting the move towards more sustainable and emission-free materials handling across many industry sectors. These include three and four-wheeled sideloaders, multidirectional trucks, a selection of pedestrian-operated stacker trucks and the Aisle Master range of narrow aisle articulated forklifts. “Over 60% of the trucks we manufacture are now electric, with availability in almost all models across our range, and more and more of our customers are switching to electric power,” McVicar adds.

Tony Benson and Fabio Bernieri
Tony Benson and Fabio Bernieri

Italy’s Baumann showed off its new 120 v ELX sideloader models. Sales manager Fabio Bernieri points out that 70% of truck manufacture is currently electric, and electrification is especially evident in the 3-5 T range.

The Baumann ELX series has a smaller chassis, increasing manoeuvrability in tight areas, and has been modified with steel decks, timber bearers, onboard fleet management and specialist load guards to maximise load security and operator safety.

Bernieri says the new model is particularly suited to timber and pipe applications and any long loads. “The 120 v power gives the sideloader performance and endurance comparable with diesel equivalents,” he adds.

Hubtex highlighted its flagship electric Phoenix as part of its theme of “heavy lifting”. Marketing director Marc Liske says his team also introduced the all-electric SFX platform transporter, the public launch of which had been delayed by the pandemic.

“Over the past few years, more and more customers have been ordering electric vehicles,” he says, adding that lead acid is still more popular, although Hubtex also offers lithium-ion for its range. “Electric is becoming more popular than gas or diesel across our entire range,” he adds.

For Italy’s Mariotti, LogiMAT saw the first shift of focus in 45 years. While the company has been synonymous with compact sit-down forklifts, Mariotti has launched its first stand-up counterbalance truck, the MIP 10, which director Francesco Bruno claims to the be most compact on the market.

He says the new model opens up the warehouse market for Mariotti and “touches a new family of customers”.

The range comes as standard with a 36 v lead acid battery arrangement, but is also available with a lithium-ion battery. “This is our first model designed for both and the lithium-ion battery is fully integrated into the machine,” he explains, adding that Mariotti uses custom Sunlight batteries.

Energy was a key focus on the Linde stand, with the new X range taking centre stage. Like other models launched recently, the electric X20/X35 can be used in demanding applications that used to rely upon the use of IC trucks.

Stefan Prokosch, senior vice president, brand management at Linde Material Handling, notes that “customers want to change, but don’t always know the solution”, prompting the manufacturer to launch its Energy Navigator, a tool to analyse needs and priorities and help buyers choose an appropriate engine type.

Tobias Ingemarsson
Tobias Ingemarsson

Semax showed two of its unique mask-behind-the-cabin machines, a P40 and a P60, both shown with electric power. CEO Tobias Ingemarsson says most orders these days are for electric versions, although the company also offers diesel options.

The display models were lead acid, but Ingemarsson notes growing interest in lithium-ion. “A lot of people are not yet ready go to lithium because of the price and the lack of infrastructure. You need to have separate chargers with higher voltages to use it in the correct way,” he explains.

Lithium was also on show at Heli Europe, with the Chinese manufacturer showing battery-powered forklifts and warehouse equipment, including the new G2 series four-wheel lithium forklift and G3 series three-wheel trucks, as well as the new-generation lithium battery pallet truck and tractors.

Heli Europe’s King Zhang says: “We find that electric forklifts are growing quickly and the marketshare is becoming bigger and bigger, especially for the lithium forklift.”

He adds that Heli has launched a new generation of trucks to meet increased demand and has established an R&D department to develop the warehouse truck range - not only economy models, but also more advanced products.

Diesel will not disappear

It wasn’t all electrics at Stuttgart. Doosan was among the manufacturers showing off new diesel trucks. The stand was dominated by the new mid-range NXS Series, an enhanced value range of four-wheel diesel-powered counterbalance forklift trucks, positioned between the high-spec D25S-9 and the economy D25NXP series.

Marketing team leader Jan Droogendijk says there is still strong demand for diesel, especially the latest Stage V-compliant models. “Even though we are seeing so many new electric models, this doesn’t mean there is not a place in the market for diesel,” he says. He acknowledges that the current fuel crisis has somewhat eroded the diesel value proposition, but says they are generally cheaper to purchase and to operate. He notes that diesel remains a popular choice for outdoor applications and in some regions, like Eastern Europe. “Diesel will not disappear,” he stresses.

Rainer Marian
Rainer Marian

Both Hyster-Yale companies also see a strong future in diesel.

One of the key attractions at the Hyster stand was the new A Series counterbalance forklift, the first of a new platform of forklifts. Rainer Marian, director – network development, says although the first model has been released with a diesel engine, the same platform will be used for electric and fuel cell models. “We are going away from a truck designed to do everything to trucks designed for particular industry segments,” he says.

On the decision to debut the range with a diesel model, Marian says: “We believe that the internal combustion applications still have their longevity.”

He acknowledges that electric forklifts may account for 70% of the market in Europe, but stresses that Hyster wants to stay in the ICE segment and “have a big piece of that cake”.

Yale’s new platform, the Series N, was also on show, and Timo Antony, area business director for Central Europe, says this range has also kicked off with a diesel model, with electric and integrated fuel cell models to follow. “Yale already has an extensive range of batteries that we ship with our trucks, and we just extended it with Sunlight which is investing heavily in lithium-ion, but there is still an extensive market for diesel forklifts.”

Antony notes that not only is the new diesel engine Stage V-compliant, “it is also our cleanest and most fuel-efficient engine ever”.

  • Next week: developments in the attachment market. And check out our previous report here and our show gallery here.
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