Environmentally Friendly Material Handling Equipment

August 23, 2019
Posted by: Justin Engel

As manufacturers and end-users alike increasingly look to implement sustainability initiatives, the electric forklift has emerged as an effective yet environmentally friendly material handling equipment solution. In recognition of this trend towards sustainability, we’ve listed the top reasons behind the emergence of the electric forklift as the preferred alternative to traditional internal combustion options.

Efficient AC Power 
Unlike previous DC models, modern electric forklifts utilize highly efficient AC motors that require less power on start-up and during acceleration. By reducing equipment power demands, electric forklifts and material handling equipment improve energy efficiency and extend run-times between charges. As a result, the total cost of ownership for an average electric forklift is $0.80-3.00 per hour of operation. The variable speed and torque of AC motors also enables users to adjust the operation of the forklift to their unique needs and environment, which helps to prevent excessive speeds and/or aggressive driving. At Starke, all of our LiftMaxx electric pallet trucks and stackers are equipped with Curtis AC controllers, which allow users to easily customize a variety of functions.


Environmentally Friendly 
By replacing the internal combustion engine with an efficient AC electric motor, electric forklifts produce no direct emissions or exhaust fume, removing up to 20,000 lbs. of carbon from the environment for every 2,000 hours of operation. The net effect can dramatically improve the overall air quality of a facility, reduce ambient noise and vibration, and limit product damage (especially to sensitive consumer electronics). Beyond emissions, electric forklifts also eliminate many other waste products found in internal combustion forklifts including countless fluids, oils and lubricants. When determining the environmental impact of a piece of equipment, you should also take the lifetime of the equipment into account. Since electric forklifts have far fewer parts and produce less heat/friction, the service lifetime of electric units tend to last 1.5 to 2 times longer (in terms of total operating hours) than their internal combustion powered counterparts.


Rechargeable Batteries
With a rechargeable power source, electric forklifts consume less energy per shift than their internal combustion counterparts as the advances in battery design and technology provide longer periods between charges and require less space for storage and charging. Rather than waste the kinetic energy produced during deceleration, many of Stärke’s electric forklift and narrow aisle models recover this energy through regenerative braking technology to further reduce energy consumption and extend run-time between charges. As an operator backs off the accelerator to slow down or change directions, the electric motor acts as a generator by reversing direction to recapture the kinetic energy of the vehicle. Since this process reduces the friction and heat produced by the braking system, regenerative braking systems also reduce the wear and tear on the braking system as well.


Energy Demand Management 
Utilizing a power management plan built around an ideal usage distribution, operating hours, peak electricity rates and workloads further reduces the overall energy costs associated with electric forklifts. Here, usage distribution and charging hours are coordinated to take advantage of the lowest possible energy prices (usually lowest in the middle of the night) and maximize the savings provided by an electric forklift.


As you can see, any organization looking to minimize their environmental impact should consider making the switch to an electric forklift fleet. These units provide a long-term, energy efficient and environmentally friendly equipment option without sacrificing performance or an unreasonable increase in operating costs. For more information on Stärke’s electric equipment options, contact your local Stärke dealer.


Justin Engel

Justin Engel is the marketing specialist at Stärke Material Handling Group. In addition to content development, he also handles graphic and website design, SEO, PR and strategic planning.

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