By purchasing 110 new electric pallet trucks with a lithium-ion battery, two leading Dutch distribution companies are now taking a step towards a healthier future. The new trucks improve ergonomics, are less error-prone and even fit into passenger lifts.
Daaf Vunderink, owner of EP Equipment dealer Equipment 4 in Renswoude, The Netherlands, is pretty busy with it. In just a few days, together with his mechanics, he delivers 110 brand new EPL 153 electric pallet trucks to Van Vliet Transport in Vianen and De Klok Logistics in Nijmegen. The trucks are given their final inspection and the lithium-ion batteries are charged up for their first run on customer site.
Arthur Fust, Transport manager Benelux at Van Vliet Transport is pleased to see the line of pallet trucks growing. The company is part of the same group as De Klok Logistics and the management has decided to put an end to some long-standing problems within the distribution of palletised goods. “Working with hand pallet trucks isn’t really contemporary anymore,” Arthur explains. “We sometimes handle pallets weighing 1,200 kg and more. It is just not healthy to move those pallets with a manual truck. We already used electric pallet trucks with conventional batteries, but those are prone to error. What’s more, they’re too big and heavy to fit in a passenger lift. Thanks to these EPL 153 trucks, we can get rid of all worries in one go.”
Major opportunities within distribution
Based on the good experience with EP Equipment’s super-compact EP 12-EZ truck, the company concluded that there are major opportunities within distribution for the compact, li-ion battery powered pallet trucks. Field tests showed that the trucks could be more robust and preferably equipped with a built-in charger. “After testing with different trucks, we chose the EPL 153 from IMOW, a sub-brand of EP Equipment,” explains Daaf Vunderink. “The truck has just 130 parts, weighs no more than 115 kg and has a capacity of 1.5 tonnes. The maintenance-free li-ion technology and the promotional price of only € 1,295 were probably decisive”.
Arthur Fust nods. “A good hand pallet truck also costs at least € 800, but then you still have the physical strain. A truck with a lead-acid battery is much more expensive and requires maintenance. This is not easy within our deployment. No or not enough demineralised water in the cells, battery corrosion, trucks that come to a complete stop and then no longer move… We experienced it all”.
Charging anytime, anywhere
Van Vliet Transport and De Klok Logistics tackle all these problems by choosing the EPL 153. The truck even fits in a passenger lift, which is convenient for deliveries to buildings. The crawl position switch makes it possible to operate the truck with the drawbar in the upright position, allowing it to operate even in very confined spaces. Furthermore, Fust sees the intermediate recharging of the 24V/20A lithium-ion batteries as a great advantage. “The truck is equipped with an ordinary 230V plug. You plug it into any regular power outlet. So, if you want to recharge the battery during a cup of coffee on location, you can, and you may! This way, the trucks remain deployable all day long. To be even more flexible, we are working together with Equipment 4 U on a system for recharging the batteries in the truck”.
Good for everybody
For transport manager Arthur Fust single load wheels is a ‘must’ because of the large number of pallets being picked up crosswise. “If you don’t pay attention for a moment, tandem rollers push off the bottom battens. A single fork wheel is easier to use for us,” he concludes. “As with battery maintenance, we simply got rid of the problem with this choice. Furthermore, these trucks are super easy to use: they drive and lift electrically, lowering is done with a lever. They are robust, they look good and you don’t have to worry about them. And most importantly: they move a load of 1.5 tonnes with ease. No driver wants to switch back to the hand pallet truck! That’ s not only healthy for them, but also for our companies”.
As a logistics service provider, De Klok Logistics specialises in fine-mazed distribution within the Netherlands. De Klok Logistics has a rich history and has been a reliable carrier in the Netherlands for about 80 years. In recent years, Vortex-Logistics, van Vliet Transport and Van Opzeeland have also been added to the group.
As a result of this close cooperation, the organisation has a storage capacity of more than 175,000 m2 spread over various locations in the Netherlands, all connected to a shared IT platform. With a fleet of hundreds of trucks, more than 650 employees are working daily to fulfil customers’ wishes.