Longer battery life due to consistent frequency of use
The charging station management with the Next Battery Selector Dynamic ensures the economical and resource-saving operation of your battery pool.
During each charging and discharging process, the battery temperature increases significantly due to electrochemical reactions within the battery. This means that when the batteries’ charging and discharging cycles follow in quick succession without sufficient cooling phases, there is a risk of overheating. This must be avoided, as it reduces the service life and the achievable discharge cycles of traction batteries.
For an economical and trouble-free operation of the industrial trucks, it is important to always observe the cooling phases and use all drive batteries present in the battery pool in a balanced way.
POWER news (PN) spoke about this topic with Peter Hoeptner, Sales Manager Traction for BENNING, at LogiMAT 2022.
PN: Mr. Hoeptner, in addition to the charging stations, wallboxes and BELATRON chargers, you have placed a trade fair focus on charging station management with the Next Battery Selector Dynamic.
Why do you see a need for action here? The problematic impact of excessive battery temperatures on battery life has been known for a long time, right?
Hoeptner: Yes, in theory, but in practice this is not always taken into account. We have found that the frequency of use of the individual drive batteries varies greatly, especially in cross-shift operation. Usually, when the batteries are changed, those in the front area of the charging station are used in preference to batteries housed in the middle and rear areas.
Thus, the battery life and the associated cooling phase in the charging station after a full charge also varies considerably. In parallel, the number of charge-discharge cycles for the individual batteries will deviate more and more from each other over time.
PN: That means, using the entire battery pool in a balanced way would reduce the temperature rise, since the pause times are distributed among all batteries after the end of the charging process, allowing the batteries to cool off?
Hoeptner: Exactly, but using the exchangeable batteries at a steady frequency is only possible if the order of use of the fully charged batteries is specified to the personnel across shifts.
This is where the Next Battery Selector Dynamic comes in. It ensures that all batteries are used in the order of their switch-off time after a full charge.
PN: Especially in battery rooms with many charging stations, it is definitely not always easy for vehicle operators to keep track of everything. How do you ensure that they can clearly identify which battery to use next?
Hoeptner: An indicator light should be installed clearly visible at each charging point to signal the fully charged battery with the oldest cut-off time in each case. If the personnel changes the battery and disconnects this battery from the charger, the system immediately activates the indicator light of the next battery to be used at the charging station.
Since the Next Battery Selector Dynamic only activates one indicator light at a time, the responsible personnel can see at a glance which battery to use next. This way, the correct battery is always selected, even with a large number of charging points in a confined space.
PN: On the exhibition wall, we can see an image of a smartphone in connection with a charging station controlled by the NBS Dynamic. What is this all about?
Hoeptner: Using the optional BELATRON monitor software, users can view the upcoming sequence of use, or the next battery to be used, on a mobile terminal or via a large screen in the charging room.
This helps keep your charging stations uncluttered and contributes to a faster battery change. But this is only one part of the additional value of this software. We developed BELATRON monitor to provide smart data monitoring of all charging parameters for the operators of our BELATRON chargers.
In addition to charging station management, the software offers a perfect overview of the charging station. Important charger statuses are visualised in a user-friendly manner and can be used to evaluate charger utilisation.
The data remains locally stored at all times and does not leave the company. Access can be implemented both as a stand-alone solution and via the customer network.
PN: You just mentioned integration into the customer network. Does this include communication with energy management systems?
Hoeptner: BELATRON chargers can be equipped with an optional interface that allows energy management systems to read out charging parameters and process them easily. With this information, it is possible for companies to automate processes such as load shedding to avoid peak loads.
PN: Let’s stay on the topic of connectivity. How are the chargers connected to the NBS Dynamic system?
Hoeptner: Our current BELATRON chargers have two optional NBS ports, which allow for effortless networking of the chargers with each other using RJ45 patch cables. This connection is significantly more stable and less susceptible to interference than radio connections.
PN: How flexible is the system? What options are there if the company grows, the vehicle fleet is increased and accordingly more charging points are needed?
Hoeptner: Thanks to the connections with plug-in technology, the NBS Dynamic System can be easily scaled at any time. For this purpose, only the new BELATRON charger is plugged into the existing structure with a patch cable. The chargers each have two RJ45 ports, so integration between two already existing chargers is also possible. This creates additional flexibility in the charging room design.
PN: That sounds very simple indeed. But what about the device settings? I assume that the chargers must always be assigned to exactly one battery type or battery voltage?
Hoeptner: Our BELATRON chargers have an optional multivoltage function that allows for charging a wide range of batteries
(Editor’s note: 24 V, 48 V, 80 V, 120 V and 36 V, 72 V, 96 V). As batteries of different voltages are also assigned to different NBS groups, our BELATRON chargers with multivoltage option automatically assign themselves to the correct NBS Dynamic group, ensuring that the correct charging location is always displayed for use with the next battery.
PN: We are talking about new chargers here. What are the possibilities for implementing the NBS Dynamic later on in existing charging stations?
Hoeptner: The NBS Dynamic is downward compatible. If there are already older BELATRON chargers on site that do not have an NBS Dynamic interface, these can be easily integrated via a clever bus connection concept.
We retrofit the existing devices with relay contacts and then integrate them into the new NBS Dynamic via a bus coupler. This reduces investment costs and makes it easy to get started.
However, it should be fundamentally checked and evaluated whether replacing the old devices with modern BELATRON chargers would not be more economical in the long run due to the higher efficiencies, new software and communication interfaces – we were just talking about energy management.
PN: Are you also alluding to a holistic view of such a project?
Hoeptner: Well, tailored suits just fit perfectly! – The same applies to custom made charging processes and stations. Customised solutions are created according to the needs of the customer and thus achieve added value. A holistic approach at the beginning of the project guarantees that the system will meet the customer’s needs perfectly, conserve resources and be operated economically.
At the same time, it is a matter of simple aspects, such as the optimal use of space. Let’s assume that the charging room will not be changed due to the high structural engineering requirements.
Nevertheless, additional chargers are needed, but there is not enough installation space for them either on the walls or on the shelves.
In this case, we use the BELATRON UC system. This space-saving charging cabinet offers the greatest possible energy density in a footprint of only 60 x 60 cm. The system is modular and the number of 19" BELATRON charging modules can be flexibly adapted to requirements. BELATRON UC systems can of course also be equipped with the NBS Dynamic.
PN: During the interview, we repeatedly see visitors walking around the stand with VR glasses or their mobile phones. What is the meaning of that?
Hoeptner: We thought about how we could ideally present such a large system with its complete functionality. This was not only about a trade fair presentation, but also about the presentation on our website and when visiting customers. Unlike products such as our BELATRON charger or our liflex NG battery, which we can simply bring along with us, this is not possible with the NBS Dynamic.
A product demonstration for a reference customer also always involves a great deal of organisational effort due to scheduling, safety briefings, etc.
Therefore, we decided to build a completely animated charging station on a scale of 1:1 in virtual reality and make it available online.
All visitors need is internet access, VR glasses, a mobile phone or tablet to enter the hall. They can move around freely inside and experience the battery change live or look at the units in detail – without even having to download an app.
PN: We would like to try that out right away. Mr Hoeptner, thank you very much for the informative interview.
“The Next Battery Selector Dynamic activates only one indicator light at a time, so the responsible personnel can see at a glance which battery to use next.”
Sales Manager Traction, BENNING