Vaillant Transitions to Lithium-ion Fleet
Intralogistics specialists Jungheinrich have supported global energy-saving HVAC solutions provider, Vaillant Group’s transition from lead acid to Lithium-ion batteries.
The full upgrade and replacement of the warehouse fleet operated by subsidiary Vaillant Industrial represents a major step in securing the 140 year old family-owned manufacturer’s ambition of operating a carbon-neutral plant by 2025.
Following the introduction of a new, 26-vehicle Lithium-ion fleet, Vaillant is now in a position to retire its lead acid fleet and become a 100 per cent Lithium-ion site whilst also gaining economic and operational benefits, including a more stable and efficient power source that is faster and easier to use.
The Lithium-ion batteries are longer-lasting and more efficient, resulting in a reduction of maintenance costs and reduced risk of dangerous acids or gases being emitted. The new fleet has increased the capacity on some of its larger trucks from 2.5 tonnes to 3.5 tonnes through a combination of ETV 216i reach trucks and conventional counterbalances, allowing the vehicles to cater for the pressed steel works and tools. The ETV 216i is the core product in the new fleet and is the first reach truck in the world with an integrated Lithium-ion battery, aiding the progression towards sustainability goals.
The first five trucks and all tow tractors have now been operational for a month with great reception from employees. During the transition, Vaillant also was able to take advantage of Jungheinrich’s ‘Power By The Hour’ initiative – a flexible way to pay for only the hours the truck is used for – to ensure it remained operational. With the new fleet, the manufacturer has been able to eliminate battery change from their operations by utilising opportunity charging through Lithium-ion technology. The new Lithium and rapid interim charging times enable a virtually continuous operation on a 24/7 basis and pickers on site have seen improvements in productivity and efficiency as manual handling is reduced with increased uptime. Integration of Vaillant’s fleet with automated scales and increased gadgetry on trucks for improved safety was also undertaken.
Vaillant has also completed a full warehouse construction upgrade project with Jungheinrich which introduced a new logistics and racking system that optimised storage up to 11 metres and can accommodate the new ETV 216i trucks. This new and optimised warehouse has increased capacity from 1,100 pallet locations to 4,000.
Training has been a key part of the warehouse upgrade. Vaillant now has six qualified instructors on site that went through the Jungheinrich training at one of the dedicated training centres across the UK. This has allowed the company to assess and validate current employees as well as temporary labour to operate at the extended heights of above 7 metres that it is now moving into. It also trialled Jungheinrich’s Virtual Reality Simulator on-site, with a view to be able to provide a safe environment to train and assess employees. Using this VRS, drivers will experience a real-life situation in an environment that holds no risk in the warehouse and non-drivers can gain an appreciation of the role as well as Vaillant benefiting from a digital footprint of operations.
Adrian Ancliff, Head of Production Logistics and Scheduling, Vaillant Industrial, comments, “We have certainly achieved what we wanted to from our partnership with Jungheinrich, and the end design, construction, and way our new warehouse operates is fantastic and has exceeded our expectations.
“The team was very responsive and excelled to keep us operational throughout. Being able to become a 100 per cent Lithium-ion site is superb and helps us move much closer to our sustainable goals. Looking to 2022, we plan to expand the fleet and will continue to use Jungheinrich as our main provider. The future is bright, and the future is yellow!”
Neil Warren, Region One Business Director at Jungheinrich, adds: “We are thrilled that we can play a role in Vaillant Group’s move to more sustainable operations by transitioning fully from lead-acid gas to Lithium-ion technology. This provides huge environmental and economic benefits including efficiency and productivity gains.
“We are very passionate about providing sustainable solutions for our customers that also complement business objectives and so it has been a pleasure to work alongside Vaillant on the upgrade and renewal of its warehouse fleet. We have thoroughly enjoyed our partnership and look forward to an ongoing relationship with Vaillant.”