Battery manufacturer Fronius is launching the Fronius Energy Hub, a flexible and mobile charging station for outdoor applications. The hub gives operators of electric forklift trucks a quick and easy way to move the charging of their traction batteries outside, saving valuable space in the warehouse and simultaneously improving safety.
Unexpected capacity bottlenecks, a growing need for space in the warehouse and safety and fire prevention requirements are just some of the reasons why logistics managers opt to move their charging infrastructure outside, says the manufacturer. Charging areas and stations for electric forklifts take up a lot of space and there are also cases where charging traction batteries in confined spaces is prohibited for insurance reasons or there are strict requirements for the operation of lead acid and lithium-ion batteries. The challenge is finding a practical way to protect both batteries and chargers outside of the building from the weather and extreme temperatures, whilst also ensuring they are easily accessible for the forklifts.
“This mobile outdoor charging station is supplied ready-for-use and can be easily set up anywhere,” explains Ewald Berger, Head of Project Business at Perfect Charging. “From the customer’s perspective, all they need is some free space and a power connection. We take care of everything else.” Thanks to the reinforced base, even heavy 80-Volt batteries can be put down safely. On request, the Fronius Energy Hub can also be combined with a Fronius photovoltaic system and inverters in order to further reduce the energy costs.
The Fronius Energy Hub is fitted with standard-compliant ventilation ex works. This circulates several hundred cubic metres of air per hour. Thanks to the system’s air heat exchanger, the warm air can remain in the container. “We therefore ensure energy-efficient ventilation as well as ideal temperatures for charging the traction batteries,” explains Berger.
Safe charging of lithium-ion batteries
The Fronius Energy Hub complies with the charging station regulations EN 62485 and meets the requirements for approval by the Deutsches Institut für Bautechnik (DIBT). It can also be ordered with a REI 90 fire rating for particular fire prevention requirements. Furthermore, it features numerous smart functions, for example its exhaust air and monitoring sensor technology which automatically switches off the charging system if the hydrogen concentration gets too high, which can lead to the development of oxyhydrogen.
Rapid identification of the coolest battery even outdoors
The optional LED strip on the outside of the container clearly indicates the state of charge of each battery and therefore guides the employee intuitively to the battery that has been fully charged the longest and has already cooled down. “This means that the forklift truck driver can quickly and easily identify which battery to choose even with the doors closed,” explains Berger. “This optimises the utilisation of the entire battery pool and, combined with the Fronius Ri charging process, extends the service life of the batteries by up to 15 percent.”
The Fronius Energy Hub is available in various sizes and can be configured according to the customer’s requirements. “This ensures we offer our customers the best solution with the greatest added value,” Berger concludes. Forklift truck operators benefit from considerably more space in their warehouses, which they can use for value-adding activities. In addition, the flexible outdoor charging station is a clever alternative for meeting the strict requirements for charging infrastructure in terms of minimum distances, ventilation and fire prevention. The Fronius Energy Hub therefore has an important contribution to make in terms of making intralogistics charging processes even more efficient and sustainable.