Highly efficient energy system for intralogistics
BENNING LIONIC® energy systems based on lithium iron phosphate technology have been used in various parts of the materials handling industry for several years. The results are very positive and confirm their significant economic and ecological advantages compared to lead acid traction batteries.
In a practical sense, the advantages of LIONIC® energy system brings, and the impact the product has on energy consumption and operating costs, among other things, is perfectly illustrated through the recent project with Valeo Autosystemy, a leading global supplier for the automotive and commercial vehicle industry.
In 2015, Valeo achieved sales of EUR 14.5 billion and invested more than 10% of its sales revenue in research and development. Currently, the group has 134 production facilities, 17 research centres, 35 development centres and 15 distribution platforms, and employs around 82,800 people in 30 countries worldwide. This includes the Polish industrial city, Skawina, where Valeo Autosystemy Sp. z o. o. has its headquarters.
Efficient material handling
For optimal control of internal material flow, Valeo Autosystemy Sp. z o.o. relies on the pallet trucks supplied by Still GmbH, a global partner specialising in custom-made internal logistics solutions. These are lithium-ion battery powered pallet trucks. The use of these systems offers Valeo the possibility of handling the rising stock turnover and saving storage space, travel time and costs more efficiently, whilst ensuring the highest level of flexibility at the same time.
Lithium-ion Energy Systems
The advantages mentioned above can be fully exploited if each pallet truck has a powerful and highly reliable power source. For this reason, the company has been increasingly relying on the LIONIC® energy systems, made of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) cells, which were delivered by BENNING at the beginning of 2016.
How the collaboration came about, and the key advantages provided by the lithium-ion technology compared to lead-acid solutions, was the topic of conversation between “POWER news” (Pn) and Mr. Szewczyk, Sales Director of BENNING Power Electronics Sp. z o.o..
Pn: Mr. Szewczyk, lead-acid batteries – thanks to having a lifetime of several years – are considered reliable and cost-effective but, in contrast to lithium-ion batteries, they offer a significantly lower energy density. Is this the key factor that convinced Valeo to increasingly rely on LIONIC®?
Szewczyk: Starting at the end of 2014, as part of several months of technical planning, we had intensive discussions with various Valeo employees. It became clear that there were a variety of reasons for which the Lithium-Ion Systems produced by
BENNING should be taken into consideration. The major criterion was, that these systems don't require a separate charging area or battery room compared to a lead acid solution.
The saved battery space would create additional space for production. The objective was, of course, also to increase the efficiency of internal logistics.
Pn: Lithium-Ion-Energy systems when compared to lead-acid batteries have a much higher efficiency. But what does that mean in numbers?
Szewczyk: Lead-acid batteries supply electric operated vehicles with only 64% of the complete energy acquired from the grid. Whereas, with LIONIC® energy systems the available energy for the vehicle increases to over 85%. The reason for this is that their efficiency is approximately 93%, which is notably higher than that of lead acid batteries.
The higher efficiency is due to charging with virtually no charging factor and a reduced voltage deviation and temperature increase during charge and discharge, which leads to a significantly better energy efficiency. Compared to lead acid batteries, each charging session requires 30% less electrical energy, which also reduces electric energy costs and the relevant CO2 emissions.
Pn: A further advantage is that, compared to lead-acid batteries, the LIONIC® Energy systems can be charged at decentralised charging stations. What cost savings result from this and from being able to carry out intermediate charging sessions?
Szewczyk: Well, in many cases, the decentralised charging stations can be reached via shorter journeys and this contributes to significant cost savings in many cases. Additionally, we should also mention that no gassing occurs during the charging process, and the LIONIC® Energy systems do not contain liquid electrolyte. For these reasons, many of the special rules for centralised battery charging stations (for example DIN 50272-3, BGHW, leaflet ZVEI) don’t apply, so establishing a charging station for our LIONIC® Energy system doesn’t require investment in special ventilation systems or acid resistant material for the floor.
LIONIC® Energy systems can be recharged at any time, which gives flexible use during shifts, and so an increase in resource utilisation and cost efficiency. For example, if the intermediate charging sessions are carried out during the two breaks of a two-shift operation, with a typical duration of 15 and another 30 minutes a day, there will no longer be the need for a spare battery. And with a charging current of 0.75 C, the long break provides a charge of about 37.5%.
Pn: How many LIONIC® Energy systems has Valeo now been provided with, and were any other products part of the deal?
Szewczyk: At the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016, BENNING supplied 35 pieces 24 V / 240Ah LIONIC® Energy systems for Still pallet trucks of the EXD-SF, EXV-SF14 and EXV-14C types; a 24 V / 360 Ah LIONIC® Energy system for a Still multifunctional tractor of the KANVAN type; and LiCube Lithium-Ion-Batteries with 24 V / 120 Ah for Still Transport systems of the LTX20 type; plus several on-board chargers with external charge state and status display. And 100 BELATRON high-efficiency charging systems for 48 V and 80 V lead-acid batteries were also provided because lithium-ion batteries were not yet available for these voltages.
Pn: How would you describe the cooperation between BENNING and Valeo?
Szewczyk: In my view, it is a partnership based on trust in which both companies benefit greatly from the other. Valeo receives a combination of tailored products, best service and extensive expertise from BENNING, and our company benefits from the prestigious and positive recommendation of Valeo. And thanks to this, we have already gained additional large companies as customers to whom we offer the same or similar energy storage solutions.
Pn: Mr. Szewczyk, thank you for the very informative interview.