Welcome to part two of our three part series explaining the technology behind Linde lithium-ion battery systems. There are many advantages to this user-friendly technology when compared to lead-acid battery systems including quicker recharging times, up to 30% more energy efficiency and no loss of performance even when the battery level decreases. Read on for more of a breakdown of this energy system and the many benefits it provides — also, incase you missed it, you can find the first 16 FAQs covered off in part one of our series here.

17. Is Li-ION available across all electric counterbalance trucks?

In our Performance Plus range, yes!

18. What warranty is offered?
  1. For rented batteries: Full warranty is offered for the entire duration of the rental contract
  2. For batteries purchased outright, the warranty coverage is as follows:
  • 3 years / 750 cycles for the complete battery, i.e. cost of material, repair cost and travelling expenses will be refunded.
  • From 37 months/751 cycles, the pro-rata cost participation will apply to electrochemical parts (cells) and mechanical parts. The cost of electrical components, labour cost and travelling expenses will not be borne by Linde. The pro-rata arrangement will be applied in accordance with the following schedule, based on the age or the battery or the number of full charging cycles:

19. What are the expected cycle times / life expectancy of a battery?

Based on commitments with our suppliers and internal lifetime tests, the nominal lifetime of the Linde Li-ION batteries are:

  1. For 24V WH batteries (kept at an ambient temperature of 20°C):
    • Linde commitment (if battery is purchased and not rented): 75% residual capacity after 2500 full charging cycles with an average Depth of Discharge (DoD) of 90%
  2. For 48V & 90V batteries (kept at an ambient temperature of 20°C):
    • Linde commitment (if battery is purchased and not rented): 80% residual capacity after 2500 full-charging cycles.
20. Is Li-ION suitable for a 24/7 operation?

Yes, if there are sufficient opportunities to charge the batteries. One of the biggest benefits you can get from a Li-ION battery is that they never require an 'equalise' charge, so regular small charges will keep them going as effectively as a big overnight charge would.

21. What effect does temperature have on using / charging Li-ION batteries?

This depends on the following criteria:

  • The temperature of the environment the Li-ION batteries are in
  • On average, how long the trucks spend operating in the cold
  • The truck model
  • The ambient temperature where the trucks are charged
22. Can they be used and charged inside a cold store?

Yes, but it always depends on the application. The ambient conditions (i.e. humidity and temperature ratings) of the trucks, batteries and chargers need to be respected, to keep the truck performance up (close to that at room temperature) and potential increases in changing times still reasonably small. See temperature chart below, and always refer to your equipments user manuals. These values are for reference based on ambient temperatures and provide a conservative estimate.

When using trucks inside a cold store Li-ION technology is ideal thanks to its high power delivery and very small loss of usable energy content at low temperatures.

When charging Li-ION inside a cold store, this can be a bit more challenging but very achievable thanks to our excellent cell quality:

  • For 24V Systems: The charger should remain outside the cold store (+5°C) and the cables go through the wall
  • For 48V/90V systems: In some cases, it is possible to have the charger inside the cold store (down to -20°C)

23. Is it dangerous to use lithium-ion batteries?

No, lithium-ion batteries are just as safe as lead-acid batteries if handled properly. As the very high energy density poses a risk, lithium-ion batteries have a battery management system with comprehensive protective functions, e.g. protecting against overload, over charge, deep discharge, excess current and short-circuits. Furthermore, the electric forklift truck’s battery tray provides effective protection against mechanical damage.

Linde uses multi-level safety protective functions on all Li-ION battery systems:

1. Battery

  • Installed safety features on cell, module and battery level to prevent overpressure, over temperature, overload, over charge and deep discharge
  • Integrated shock-sensor to monitor the battery and detect misuse
  • Patented braking resistor (dissipates regenerative energy if battery cannot absorb it → prevents uncontrolled behaviour of the truck)

2. Battery-management and communication

  • Permanent communication between battery and truck (full system harmonisation) to share information and data, thus the truck can perform and react with regard to the battery’s condition, e.g. internal temperature or State of Charge (SOC) — even in cases of failures, the system is designed to provide a controlled reaction e.g. a controlled roll-out
  • SOC, remaining driving time and error messages are displayed on the forklift display
  • SOC individual truck performance (the settings can be adapted individually by a service engineer):
    • SOC<10% → crawl speed
    • SOC<5% → only safety-relevant functions possible
    • SOC<2% → truck switches off

3. Battery-tray (48V/90V battery)

  • The robust steel tray is 25mm thick providing an effective protective casing for the Li-ION battery, and bringing the set up to a similar weight when compared to a lead-acid system
  • Integral pressure release valve at the bottom of the battery tray relieves any over pressure in the battery cells
24. Will using lithium-ion batteries have any effect on my property insurance and fire protection?

Perhaps. The handling / storage of lithium-ion batteries is relevant for insurance purposes. Please contact your property insurer in advance and agree on the local requirements and any necessary measures. The local fire service should also be made aware that lithium-ion batteries are in use on-site.

25. Do I need to take appropriate measures for unforeseeable incidents?

Yes. Although the likelihood of a serious incident (increase in temperature, battery igniting) is extremely low thanks to the battery’s technical safety features, the possibility of this occurring should not be ignored. We recommend drawing up an emergency plan for this eventuality and designating an area in which damaged batteries can be set aside. This area must be well ventilated (outdoors) and be a sufficient distance away from any flammable materials.

26. Are there any Li-ION safety concerns while charging Li-ION batteries?

No, Li-ION is a safe solution as no gasses or fumes are emitted whilst charging is in progress.

27. If a Li-ION battery catches fire, what gasses are emitted and what are the toxic levels?

a. It is very unlikely that something would happen however we do encourage you to review the battery safety data sheets from the manufacturers BMZ (for electric counterbalance and reach trucks – 48V and 80V batteries) and SAFT (for warehouse products using 24V batteries) to understand the portion of each “ingredient”, as well as the chemical reaction, and suggested first aid measures

b. It depends on the battery type as SAFT and BMZ batteries have different chemistries however, please note all the ingredients that would burn inside the cells themselves including plastic parts, cables, electric circuits although are not unusual, could potentially be toxic

c. The most gas volume would be produced by the degeneration of the organic electrolyte

28. Are lithium-ion batteries hazardous materials?

Yes, lithium-ion batteries are classified as Class 9 hazardous materials (guidelines UN 3480 for batteries, UN 3481 for batteries contained in or packed with equipment or UN 3171 for battery-powered truck or battery-powered equipment). The current hazardous goods regulations for transportation by road (ADR), rail (RID), sea (IMDG) and air (IATA) apply.

We hope you found part two useful! If you require further clarification on any of the above FAQs or would like to talk to us about upgrading to Li-ION battery technology, please contact us by clicking on the button below. Our Li-ION specialists are on hand to assist with any queries you may have.

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Stay tuned later this month for part three in our three part Lithium-ION batteries FAQs series.