Fast Facts

  • Customer: A manufacturer/distributor for large consumer electronics/appliances
  • Fleet Information: The facility was operating 30 5,000-pound sit-down forklifts running 2,500 hours/year
  • Opportunity:  Deliver environmental sustainability and equal forklift productivity with a lower total cost of ownership
  • Challenge: The customer was struggling to gain agreement with some levels of operations to transition to electric. There was skepticism that an electric-powered system wouldn’t work.
  • Solution: Concentric partnered with the client to design and implement a safer, higher-performance, lower-maintenance system. 
  • Result: 40% cost savings, or $6,000 per forklift!

THE DETAILS

Six years ago, a global appliance manufacturer was interested in converting from LP (propane) to electric forklifts in their main warehouse.  Their fleet consisted of 30 sit-down forklifts ranging from 3,500 to 8,000 pounds across various manufacturing and distribution departments.   

Some members of the facility team, as well as the corporate team, wanted to convert to electric, but the operations manager and department supervisors who owned the material handling flow were very concerned. And rightfully so! A high-use operation with many different applications needs to feel confident that any and all trucks could be ready at a moment’s notice.

This customer’s key fears were:

  1. They wouldn’t have enough power when they needed it.

  2. The forklift operators would forget to plug up at night, resulting in no power in the morning.

  3. Not having enough plug time during a shift because they weren’t going to swap batteries. 

We executed a comprehensive, 30-day operational and power assessment, and as a result, we discovered a few things that helped the customer realize that their current system wasn’t working as well as it should. Here are a few of the data points that crystallized the benefits of a switch to electric:

  • 15-20% of their usage time was being wasted as their loaders waited in line to load outbound trucks.

  • As a result, the loaders were wasting a large amount of propane sitting idle; this waste wouldn’t happen with an electric battery.

  • This idling drove up usage hours and maintenance for a propane engine but would not impact an electric forklift.

  • Propane tanks were regularly swapped out when they were still 30 to 50% full, due to loss of power in the truck, as well as operator timing of tank swaps.  

Concentric’s Application Engineering team used the data collected to design a power system that gave the customer a roadmap to convert over time. We started with the first 30 sit-downs and were able to convert some of the smaller sit-down forklifts to Tuggers--a discovery made during the operational and power assessment.  During the installation process, our team trained the operators on electric forklift usage, plug-in requirements, and safety.  We also trained management on our RAAMS® reporting, emphasized plug-in compliance, as well as a metric we call “peak power per shift.”

For the first 90 days, we met both onsite and virtually to review reports and ensure the change management process happened. (Some teammates certainly needed additional training!)  RAAMS® documented that the system was operating as intended to meet their power needs; operator-level reporting helped identify weak areas in charging practices, etc. Our GuaranteedPOWER® technician took over executing PMs, watering, and repairs. 

In year three, the facility had a major turnover of staff and operators and, subsequently, our RAAMS® power management system highlighted a deterioration in plugging up and equalizations. As a result, Concentric staff implemented additional training and re-trained every new operator.  We also made charger profile changes as the batteries aged and one of the applications changed.

This initial success was followed two years later by phase 2, involving another 30 units. Currently, another 40 units are converting. Creating new space and capacity has been a significant improvement for their material handling processes. This expansion could only occur when they were equipped with the right powertrain to drive material handling processes.  Very soon, the entire facility will be electric and they’ll grow from 90 to 150 forklifts.

What’s the bottom line? The facility drove significant CO₂ savings, took fumes out of the facility, and delivered a 40% total cost of ownership savings that was realized across the fleet—all while paying the same monthly fee for five years through a GuaranteedPOWER® contract. The facility ultimately saved $6,000 per forklift!

Key Objectives Delivered


Performance Increases

  • Increased equipment uptime by eliminating the need to swap out propane tanks
  • Moved more pallets, reducing employee downtime

Maintenance Gains

  • Lower maintenance, since the electric trucks needed less repair time/parts than LP lifts

  • Reduced overall maintenance costs, due to IoT RAAMS system’s proactive maintenance system

Safety 

  • No risk of gas emissions

  • Zero battery swapping or propane tank swapping

Environment 

  • 1.3M lbs of CO₂ savings per year

  • Total CO₂ savings of 3,018 metric tons over the five-year life of the GuaranteedPOWER® system

The customer was particularly excited by the environmental gains! To put  3,018 Metric tons of CO₂ emissions in everyday terms, we broke it down into more relatable equivalents. 

If you’d like to learn more about how electric lifts can give you similar benefits, check out our recent blog, 4 Reasons to Convert From Propane to Electric Forklifts.

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