In 2019, one of the US. largest medical care distribution centers in California was struggling with a growing amount of labor related to the daily maintenance of lead-acid forklift batteries. Regular operation disruptions with batteries failing to fully charge in time for the shift decreased uptime and affected productivity. Charging was an issue too, and in some cases a battery would charge only half-way in 5-6 hours.
Not only was productivity adversely affected and overtime pay piled up, but safety was compromised as well. The slippery floor from a mix of water and acid spills and strong odor from the heated batteries became real work environment issues.
When Jon Rudolph from NITCO introduced the facility management to the new Li-ion technology, the warehouse supervisor was interested, but also apprehensive of the possible technology transfer issues and the costs of a transition to the new Li-ion technology. The team made a field visit to another customer of OneCharge Lithium Batteries, which had been using similar trucks and successfully made this transition earlier – Schneider Electric in Chino, California.
The management was sold on the idea and supported the move to the new technology.
The switch to the new Li-ion batteries was smooth and did not require any operational infrastructure changes. The results were immediate – zero daily maintenance of batteries, reliable operations, and a 22 percent reduction of the total cost of ownership of the inventory. The company has reportedly made the decision to use Lithium Ion exclusively in all locations going forward.
The warehouse supervisor was also pleased to find out that the chargers were 4 times smaller for Li-ion batteries and were wall-mounted. This eliminated the risk of riding a truck into a charging stand.
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