User-friendly Lithium-ion Trucks

22nd October 2020

Logistics BusinessUser-friendly Lithium-ion Trucks

AMAB has recently chosen Toyota Material Handling as a partner for their lithium-ion trucks. The user-friendliness of the trucks and lithium-ion solution was a determining factor in their choice.

AMAB offers a variety of services and one-stop-shop total solutions, on their own premises or at their customers’ sites. They are specialised in packaging: co-packing, repacking, electro assembling. “Our workers are people with a physical or mental disability. Together with the occupational therapist we decide which role they can fulfil despite their disability. We try to regularly switch their tasks to bring variety in their job,” says Rudi Crombé, manager of the technical department in Zaventem, where the introduction to lithium-ion has just been completed.

“Before this purchase, most of the machines at our 3 sites were already Toyota trucks, which we always have been satisfied with. That’s why it was a logical step for us to also buy our next trucks from Toyota,” he adds. He also immediately expresses that AMAB appreciates the fact that a Toyota representative always comes on site to introduce new machines and give a clear explanation. “In 2015 we merged with our other branches. We used this opportunity to establish an inventory and ask 3 potential candidates for a service contract.

“Toyota eventually came up with the best offer. The majority of our fleet consists of Toyota trucks, which makes it easier for the technician. This way we only have to call in one technician, which requires less kilometres, and less impact on the environment,” says Crombe. Preventive maintenance and repairs are therefore also planned more efficiently this way, keeping transportation to a minimum. For a few months now AMAB has several lithium-ion-powered pallet trucks and stackers in operation at their site. After much deliberation, they decided not to go for traditional lead-acid batteries, but for lithium-ion instead. When asked why they chose lithium-ion, Crombe’s answer is clear: “It’s easy to maintain, easy to use, and the initial cost offers an ROI on the long term because of the lowered energy consumption and longer battery life. After all, battery change takes up a big part of our maintenance budget. While lead-acid requires supervision, check-ups and a separate charging area, this is not the case for lithium-ion. It’s very easy to use, which makes it ideal.

“Our employees often prioritise habit and routine. So for them, the implementation required some adjustment. Before, they had to drive the lead-acid trucks until the battery was empty before charging them. We noticed they often waited to charge the lithium-ion trucks as well because the battery was not empty yet. But now they are used to it and it has become a routine. When the workers end their shift, they automatically charge them. The batteries are never empty again! Before, a truck would stand still here and there, leaving them to work with one machine less. Our available space is restricted, which is why trucks standing still are not an option. Now we can use all trucks efficiently and we don’t lose any parking space.”