The new generation of BELATRON chargers combine efficiency with connectivity
Over the last few years, energy costs have grown into a significant component of companies’ running costs in terms of production. Here, energy becomes a strategic resource with a significant influence on maintaining international competitiveness. By 2050, we need to have reduced our consumption of primary energy in Germany by 50% relative to the 2008 levels. This is where the German government has placed the objective of a marked increase in the efficiency achieved.
There is particular focus on Industry, which consumes a share of approximately 46% in the overall power consumption. That gives rise to an obligation to improve the whole system of industrial energy efficiency. For example, in order to secure energy tax concessions, such as the “peak compensation” or a cap on the EEC subsidy, industrial companies have to come up with proof of a certified environmental management system corresponding to EMAS or an ISO 50001 compliant EMS (energy management system).
„The value of BELATRON chargers – for our customers – is enhanced thanks to using digital communication solutions. The range of possible applications is expanded, giving rise to enhanced efficiency and extra cost savings.“
Attaining optimum efficiency
In many cases, companies don not even know where they are using disproportionately high amounts of energy. Consequently, they are generating additional expense unnecessarily. One important factor in assessing this is the level of energy efficiency of individual items of plant. Efficiency in scientific terms can be drawn upon as an indicator. What is harder to analyse is whether the process cycles which determine the operating periods of machines and items of apparatus are making use of all of the possible scope for optimising efficiency.
Consequently, an initial step must be to determine how much energy the company is consuming and at what topographical and chronological points. This is where we turn to energy monitoring. That means logging, monitoring and controlling the consumption figures. For this purpose, the widest range of types of data, such as the consumption of electricity, gas and water; and also the levels of atmospheric humidity and temperature, will be logged from sensors. On the analysis of the information thus obtained, consumption can be actively controlled with the benefit of reducing costs.
Avoiding load peaks
Load peaks or “maximum output levels” which are continuously measured, represent a substantial component in the cost of electricity for corporate customers. In most cases: high loading peaks are expensive. A load management system based on the information from energy monitoring will continuously adapt itself to ongoing changes in consumption conditions. The extreme differences between high consumption and low consumption will be smoothed out by switching the relevant consumers on or off or just by reducing the power they are receiving. Accordingly, cost-intensive load peaks are avoided. Noticeable downturns in the costs for electrical power will be achieved.
Energy management software uses a range of smart technologies which focus on more than just saving electricity. Examples of their applications include:
- monitoring the consumption of electricity, gas and water
- identifying the main consumers
- reducing load peaks
- detecting faults, and revealing scope for modernisation – with a view to reducing failures and bringing down the costs of servicing.
Predefined standards for the most common applications or individually defined routines will help to achieve rapid, reliable and fault-free process control.
This will crucially depend on precise measurement and seamless logging of structured operating data, such as energy consumption, temperature and operating hours.
Relevance to intra-logistics
In the context of intra-logistics, the charging-up of your fleet of floor conveyors is one of the most energy intensive concerns in the company. Accordingly, this is a problem area where the use of energy efficient products, products which can also be included in digital workflow processes and management systems, becomes essential.
As highlighted by Peter Hoeptner, BENNING’s distribution manager for traction, “The digitisation of processes and the Internet of Things (IoT) are increasingly highlighting the significance of connectivity and data exchange”. He went on to say “Accordingly, our objective is not merely to supply energy-efficient products, but also to develop apparatus which makes it possible to exchange data in a straightforward, flexible way. For example, this will enable smart networking with energy-management systems. These objectives are fulfilled by our completely upgraded range of BELATRON chargers.”
The illustrated curve is the capacity curve for a LIONIC® energy system 24 V / 9 kWh (360 Ah) in 2-shift operation with intermediate charges. Where intermediate charges are applied in a 2-shift system with the respective breaks (1x15 minutes and 1x30 minutes per shift), no replacement battery is required and phases with a lower power draw are made use of more efficiently in terms of optimised energy management.
The BELATRON range is supported by the latest generation of future-oriented, energy-efficient charging technology. This equipment has been available as standard since April 2019, in the wake of completing an extensive phase of testing over a broad range of applications. Chargers of as much as 96 V and 300 A are available as standard.
The required grid connection capacity is minimised thanks to the achievement of as much as 96% efficiency together with a cos φ of up to ~1, and this in turn reduces investment, installation & operating costs. Thanks to the sinusoidal power draw and the satisfactory output power factor, there is no need for the reactive current compensation system to be expanded.
The size of the casing has been almost halved, whilst retaining the same output power. Compact construction makes it possible to achieve a high density of installation in the smallest space. This reduces the space taken up in the charging station. A new addition is the multi-voltage function which makes it possible for the widest range of different batteries to be charged up with just one BELATRON. This ensures additional flexibility in the optimisation of charging processes.
User-friendly data exchange
A big plus point with the new generation of chargers is their high connectivity. Because the data from chargers and batteries can now be continuously transferred to an EMS, you have a clearer idea as to your entire battery pool’s capacity, operating characteristics and condition in general. It’s just this transparency which means that companies can operate their charging stations more efficiently and hence more cost-effectively.
Chargers can interact with each other using the option of an interface card, i.e. interfacing with energy management systems. In conjunction with the BATCOM digital+ battery controller, the communications interface provides comprehensive energy data, thus enabling seamless recording of power draw levels.
Important conclusions concerning the charging procedure’s energy efficiency and the general condition of your batterie can be drawn thanks to visual display on the EMS. At any time, you can intervene in order to optimise the situation. For example, choices include future control of charging, individually tailored to the respective battery and/or environmental situation.
Processes such as “load shedding” (applied in order to avoid peak loading levels) can be automated in conjunction with LIONIC® lithium energy systems.
The logged charging data can be used as the basis for obtaining further important information, thus enabling early detection of possible defects in your battery.
Availability is maximised
Failures in the charging technology can quickly bring about negative repercussions on the availability of the floor conveyor fleet. Especially if you are not operating with interchangeable batteries. In the worst case, you suffer production shutdown, because the required goods can no longer be transported. In that event, prompt intervention is absolutely essential. And this is where it helps to have modular technology with output electronics that can be swapped over on site. Accordingly, the MTTR can be kept as short as possible.
With modular-design BELATRON chargers, the system can continue to operate with the remaining modules if an output section fails. On-site service staff will be able to assign master functionality to a different output module. Accordingly, data communication and display to the outside world will still be assured.
Charging can continue, albeit at a reduced level, until the spares arrive.
Conclusion: Efficiency and prevention
At the present time, data reliability is crucial to all energy-technical processes. Reliability increases quality, saves on valuable resources and makes you more competitive. With an EMS, complicated consumer data can be displayed and analysed with a few control clicks. A given company’s energy usage becomes transparent, and energy efficiency can be maximised.
But there are further benefits that will prompt a company to include chargers in their digital processes (further to the need to comply with energy-saving regulations, and further to the drive to reduce energy costs). As a rule, there is also the fact that preventive servicing can always be performed more favourably than remedial repairs.
The facility of a display and data availability with the new BELATRON chargers provides the following 2 benefits: (1) Optimisation of the energy consumption required in order to charge up motive power batteries and (2) Maximisation of their availability. Thanks to the fact that recommended preventive actions have been highlighted.