Combilift outlines the growth in electric-powered handling equipment

Combilift outlines the growth in electric-powered handling equipment

In an article taken from PBM’s January edition, Combilift’s UK Manager Ricky Durkin argues that it is worth making the switch to electric power.

The word out there this year has definitely been sustainability, with more and more companies publicly pledging their commitment to more environmentally-friendly operations. This entails changing long term practices and investing in new technology.

One casualty of the push for greener industrial vehicles has been the IC diesel engine — for decades the default power option which was considered to offer the best performance in tough environments and conditions, such as those encountered in the merchant sector. As these diesel trucks were operating mainly outdoors, the issue of emissions was not accorded too much importance back then.

However, the introduction of more stringent legislation and low emission zones for road users has focussed public attention on the impact of pollution from off-road equipment, and there has been more pressure than ever over the past few years for these machines to clean up their act.

Indeed, the amount of orders for electric powered models that Combilift now receives illustrates the confidence that surrounds the performance of battery technology when it comes to lift capacity and run times. Replacing diesel with electric is a very effective way for merchants to reduce their carbon footprint, but what’s good for the environment can also bring numerous other benefits that may not at first seem obvious.

So for any sceptics out there, let’s take a look at the other advantages that electric can offer for your operations, your workforce, your neighbours and your balance sheet.

Good for productivity

The latest generation of electric trucks, such as those manufactured by Combilift, are definitely much more versatile than their predecessors which tended to be limited to indoor work only. And this indoor and outdoor capability can reduce the overall number of forklifts needed on site for immediate cost savings.

The advances in battery technology have enabled the development of ever larger capacity electric trucks and much longer intervals before charging is required. For example, Combilift has recently supplied a fleet of 8t capacity electric trucks to a roofing manufacturer and it also added the Combi-XLE to its range this year.

Combilift’s UK Manager Ricky Durkin argues that it is worth making the switch to electric power.

This multidirectional forklift with a 5t lift capacity combines emission-free operation with powerful performance. Design features such as high ground clearance, large cushioned front and rear tyres, patented all-wheel traction and a spacious cab enable it to work smoothly on semi rough terrain whilst offering a high level of driver comfort.

Emissions from fossil fuels are harmful to the workforce. The British Safety Council has called for limits on the amount of exposure to diesel emissions, and by electrifying your fleet you can improve air quality on site to reduce the potential risks to your employees.

The Yate branch of James Latham, for instance, is on course to replace all of its LPG multidirectional Combilift trucks with electric ones, with a high level of approval from the drivers, one of whom commented: “There is now a bit more space in the cab, and when you are working in hot weather, conditions are much cooler and more comfortable as there is no heat emanating from the engine.”

Neighbourhood watch

Unless you are on the receiving end of noise pollution it may be difficult to imagine the detrimental impact it can have on health and well-being — and it’s not good for wildlife either. The advantage of quiet electric power is summed up by Combilift customer David Harvey, Group Transport Manager of Lawsons. He explained: “A lot of our branches are in residential or urban areas, and our electric trucks have enabled us to keep noise levels to a minimum for our neighbours — and of course for the drivers and visitors on site.”

Although the initial cost of an electric truck may be higher than that of a diesel model, the TCO over the lifetime of the truck can actually be better. Battery charging is cheaper than refuelling, and as electric powered trucks do not have traditional combustion engines or hydraulic transmissions, there is no longer any need to check and top up engine fluids or lubricants.

This results in longer intervals between services, ultimately saving costs. Fuel for IC trucks will also become more expensive as of April 2022 when Red Diesel will not be permitted for use in the merchant sector, making a switch to electric trucks even more financially attractive.

Combilift has a track record of manufacturing innovative materials handling solutions for over 20 years and is well-placed to monitor and react to trends in forklift truck technology. The business produced its first electric multidirectional C-Series model over 18yrs ago, and now over 60% of the trucks that come off the production lines in Monaghan are electric, with availability in almost all models across the range.

Click the following link for more information on the Combilift range, including the new Combi-XLE.

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