Energy- and resource-efficient products


The KION Group has always focused on delivering efficient products that conserve resources.

This clear and consistent focus is reflected in the Company’s individual products, especially in the trucks in the Industrial Trucks & Services segment. KION works constantly to improve the environmental performance of its industrial trucks, attaching great importance to reducing the emissions of its internal combustion forklifts and to developing efficient trucks and alternative drives. In addition, the Company’s established range of forklifts with electric drives is continuously developed further, particularly in respect of their energy efficiency. On top of this, comprehensive fleet management and truck control systems are there to support customers, which result in evenly distributed equipment utilisation, the shortest vehicle routes and a lower accident risk among other benefits.

Save energy, reduce emissions

With their gearless power transmissions, Linde forklifts require significantly fewer components than conventional forklift trucks, need less frequent oil changes and stand out from sector competitors thanks to their particularly low fuel consumption.

In addition, Linde industrial trucks do not require any brakes thanks to their hydrostatic drive, which eliminates the fine dust generated by brake pads. STILL already started 15 years ago to equip its counterbalance forklift trucks with maintenance-free, wet-running multi-disc brakes, so no fine dust is generated here either.

In the area of diesel forklifts, the EU Euro V emission standard is currently being implemented. This standard will apply from 2019 onward and affects all trucks between 19 and 56 kW. Compared to the current Euro III A standard, which is still permitted, the new standard reduces pollutant limits by 98 percent in some cases.

Today, Linde and STILL diesel forklifts are already among the lowest-emission trucks on the market in all load capacity classes. Here is an example: the particle mass (PT) of pollutant emissions of a Linde H25 to H35 EVO diesel forklift are 83 percent lower than the statutory limit. In terms of hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) they are 26 percent lower than the limit, and for carbon monoxide (CO), they are even 99 percent lower. STILL model series RX70 diesel forklifts achieve similar outstanding results. Customers and the environment benefit in equal measure, with achievable fuel savings of up to 17 percent versus the competition according to the work cycle defined in VDI Guideline 2198.

In the area of electric forklifts, Linde products have the industry’s highest handling capacity with the lowest consumption figures – as proven in a certified test conducted by the German technical inspection association TÜV NORD to assess the performance of forklift trucks. The procedure is based on defined workflows which are completed three times under the same conditions by different trucks, whereby the actual consumption and the time required are measured.

To meet the requirements of the special operating workflows of warehouse technology equipment – especially high lift-heights and often very narrow aisles – Linde Material Handling EMEA also developed a performance test specifically for warehouse technology. The feasibility study also includes the costs per work cycle as a benchmark.

In the reporting period the Industrial Trucks & Services segment once again achieved key milestones in improving truck efficiency. Among them, Linde expanded its EVO series with the addition of new forklifts with an internal combustion engine in the load capacity range of five to eight tonnes. Trucks bearing the new EVO suffix promise drivers greater energy efficiency as well as increased ergonomic comfort and safety for the driver in addition to offering the latest engine technology. These new forklifts consume up to 20 percent less fuel compared to their predecessors and feature extensive exhaust aftertreatment.

Ever since 2009, STILL has offered its customers the possibility to achieve energy savings of up to 20 percent despite high output requirements, in the form of its Blue Q energy-saving programme. Similar to car drivers who adapt their driving style to suit the traffic when in urban environments, the system responds to various company-internal application profiles. The CO2 emissions produced while in internal combustion-engine operation or in generating electricity (e.g. at the power station) are reduced significantly as a result. In addition, the system reduces wear, extends battery life and improves the usage time per battery charge. It is clear that protecting the environment has a positive impact on the bottom line. The ‘blue button’ is available as standard across all STILL model series. Existing STILL model series RX20 and TX60 electric forklifts can also be retrofitted with the energy-saving programme, which is available as an upgrade set.

Development work at Baoli focused on upgrading its diesel engine trucks, which also meet the new China 3 emissions standard while remaining very affordable. In parallel, Baoli is working on new electric counterbalance trucks and warehouse trucks to expand these product lines.

The sales and service companies also play an important role in environmental protection. The trucks are transported to customers in an environmentally friendly manner without packaging. They take back the used trucks and either refurbish them for resale as approved used trucks or dispose of them correctly.

In addition to cost efficiency and environmental aspects, Dematic’s intralogistic solutions always focus on exploiting efficiency potentials too. Among its many benefits, the AMCAP system solution developed by Dematic for the automatic palletising of mixed products makes considerable process optimisations achievable, allowing optimised use of space and a noticeable reduction in the environmental footprint. In principle, all Dematic solutions must always meet the highest standards of efficiency, cost-efficient operation, and profitability. The second generation of Dematic multishuttle warehouse system for the storage and retrieval of items allows for much higher storage densities and, thanks to a higher utilisation ratio, a resource reduction of up to 50 percent compared to the preceding generation. The unladen-weight to load-capacity ratio for these multishuttles is around 1:1, offering maximum efficiency. Measurements performed by TÜV SÜD confirm the high energy-saving potential of the Dematic multishuttle solution. The development of the latest generation of Dematic miniload storage and retrieval systems also focused on energy efficiency. Their lightweight construction and energy recovery capability, plus use of state-of-the-art control software, enable operators to achieve savings of around 30 percent compared to systems without these features. Dematic also sets standards in conveying and sorting systems: modular conveyor systems offer maximum flexibility and the opportunity to achieve further energy savings via a run-on-demand system control mechanism and the use of synchronous motors. In the area of sorting technology, further energy savings are tapped through the systematic use of lightweight construction platforms and linear synchronous motors.

As part of its energy policy, Dematic has also committed itself to constantly reducing its CO2 emissions. To achieve this, the management sets annual binding energy targets, which are also monitored constantly. This ensures the energy targets are met, and that energy management action plans are implemented. An Energy Team is responsible for ensuring that the corresponding processes are adopted proactively. In recognition of its achievements, in 2017 Dematic was ISO 50001 certified.

Innovative drive technologies

The development of new drive technologies in KION’s Industrial Trucks & Services segment centres around Li-ion batteries. The STILL and Linde brands are utilising technologies developed by the CTO organisation to set the standard for various electric forklifts and warehouse technology products, thereby creating an important competitive advantage in this market of the future.

Li-ion batteries offer a host of benefits over conventional lead-acid batteries. In addition to significantly faster charging times, as well as a three- to four-times longer service life, the energy density of Li-ion batteries is considerably higher, with an efficiency of over 90 percent. This allows customers to achieve savings of around 30 percent both in terms of their energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions compared to a conventional battery-charger combination. Set-up and maintenance costs are also reduced, and the faster charging times open up completely new and more flexible operating models. And because there is no outgassing during charging, special charging areas are no longer required.

The KION Group is adopting a systematic approach to developing Li-ion technology. The customer benefit is clear: as batteries are designed specifically for the trucks and the battery and truck communicate with each other via a smart energy-management system, virtually 100 percent of the available energy can be utilised. At the same time, the truck’s battery status indicator always displays an estimate of how many operating hours remain.

The KION Group launched the first Li-ion battery in the warehouse technology market back in 2015. In 2016 Linde Material Handling EMEA and STILL EMEA presented the first counterbalance trucks with Li-ion batteries – a milestone in implementing the new technology to customers’ specific advantage. Both operating units now have numerous Li-ion warehouse-technology models and tow tractors in their portfolio. The first Linde forklifts with Li-ion technology in the load capacity range of 1.4 to 1.8 tonnes are already on sale. As at 2017 Linde offers Li-ion versions of all forklift model series with a load capacity of up to five tonnes, and is expanding its portfolio to include high-lift, low-lift and double-deck loader models. By the end of 2019, 90 percent of all of STILL’s trucks are to be equipped with this new, environmentally friendly technology.

At the customer’s request, fuel cells are integrated into Linde Material Handling EMEA and STILL EMEA’s industrial trucks. The fuel-cell technology generates directly on board the truck – virtually emissions-free – the electrical energy required by the electric drives for propulsion, hydraulics and auxiliary units. Fuel-cell stacks lie at the heart of this system, in which electrical energy is generated through the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen. This is implemented directly in the drives, with any remaining surplus stored temporarily in a battery. The hydrogen required for this reaction is kept under high pressure in gas tanks, with the oxygen simply drawn from the air. The only ‘waste gas’ produced is pure water. All the components of this mobile power plant, including the tanks containing the hydrogen required for the reaction, fit into the smallest of spaces, taking up hardly any more room than a conventional battery box. As the fuel cell supplies the electrical energy directly, the tried-and-tested electric drive systems can be used.

Dematic is also one of the true pioneers of innovative drive technology. Since as long ago as 1995 Dematic storage and retrieval systems have been equipped with energy-recovery systems as standard. At the same time, Dematic always uses state-of-the-art technology. In the latest generation of systems, a technology is used which supplies the drive’s braking energy directly to the lifting motor in the system. Excess energy can be fed back to the power grid and used for other purposes. Thanks to the lightweight construction and energy recovery system, energy savings of up to 30 percent are achievable.

Turnkey solution with CE marking using the example of Linde Material Handling EMEA

A small, yet subtle difference: Linde Material Handling does not just replace the battery in its Li-ion systems; it has developed a dedicated turnkey solution for each model together with a renowned partner. Christophe Lautray, Chief Sales Officer: “The battery and truck are matched perfectly to one another, and have undergone extensive testing and checking before their market launch. This establishes trust and sets our solution apart from other suppliers.” This is why the entire truck, including the battery, is CE marked – unlike other manufacturers’ trucks.

The Linde systems are highly efficient and offer maximum safety: if there are ever any battery problems, the truck switches off automatically, minimising the risk of accidents. In the case of Linde Li-ion battery systems, the batteries cannot be overcharged either by the returned energy. Tobias Zierhut, Head of Product Management Warehouse Trucks at Linde Material Handling EMEA: “Our trucks represent a turnkey package which offer customers complete peace of mind.”

In practical terms, this means Linde Material Handling not only offers a guarantee and warranty on the truck, it also covers the battery and battery management system. “Our service network with 8,500 service engineers and contract partners in all regions of the world is unique in the industry”, says Andreas Schneider, Head of Central Service. He adds: “As soon as a battery question arises, all it takes is one call and a specially trained engineer is on hand.”

Long-term test passed – Linde fuel cell technology at BMW’s plant in Leipzig

For two years, Linde hydrogen-powered fuel-cell industrial trucks were tested under normal conditions at the BMW plant in Leipzig. The 11 trucks, comprising five Linde E25/35 HL 2.5 to 3.5-tonne forklifts and six Linde P30 C electric stand-on tow tractors, were used in the H2IntraDrive research project to supply parts in body construction at BMW. The joint project between BMW, Linde and the Technical University of Munich aimed to test the hydrogen drive for industrial trucks under actual production conditions and develop it ready for mass-manufacture. To achieve this aim, Germany’s first indoor hydrogen filling station was constructed at BMW’s Leipzig plant, where BMW’s i-model vehicles are built.

The result of the project shows that under specific conditions, fuel-cell powered industrial trucks can also be operated cost-effectively in Germany today. Such conditions include very intense operating conditions with 2-shift or 3-shift patterns as well as ones where high demands are placed on truck availability – typical strengths of the fuel-cell trucks.

Fuel-cell trucks in constant use – Danish builders’ merchant Stark tests STILL hydrogen-powered industrial trucks

In a pilot project, four STILL fuel-cell forklifts are currently in operation at the central delivery warehouse of the Danish builders’ merchant Stark in Copenhagen’s south harbour area. The model series RX 60 forklift trucks are equipped with powerful H2 Logic fuel cells, and are hard at work around the clock. The Danish manufacturer H2 Logic produces fuel cells for tow trucks and electric forklifts. The industrial trucks are available around the clock, as they can be refuelled with hydrogen within a few minutes at the company’s own fuelling station.

The industrial trucks are used as part of the Hylift demo project, which promotes the use and testing of fuel-cell forklifts across Europe at well-known retail and industrial companies. The aim is to prepare for the commercial launch of fuel-cell technology.

Life Cycle Assessments – an overview of the entire product lifecycle

Linde Material Handling EMEA customers who want to assess and improve their environmental performance have received robust data ever since 2014, which was updated in 2016. Together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (IBP) and certified by TÜV Rheinland (> Figure 12), Linde has developed its own methodology to assess the environmental impact of its trucks over their entire lifecycle – from the extraction of raw materials, production of each individual component, use by the customer, through to utilisation at the end of the product lifecycle. 

The LCA methodology is based on the requirements of ISO 14040 and 14044, which ensure a uniform approach is taken and provide the corresponding transparency in terms of environmental impact.

The corresponding Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) – which are also certified by TÜV Rheinland (> Figure 13) – are produced based on the methodology developed for seven product groups covering the main truck range:

  • Forklifts with an internal combustion engine
  • Electric forklifts
  • Reach trucks
  • Low lift pallet trucks
  • Pallet stackers
  • Order pickers
  • Tow tractors

Figure 12 Approval seals for Life Cycle Assessment methodology certification

TÜV Rheinland zertifiziert – LCA Methode (ID 0000040899) (Logo)

Figure 13 Approval seals for product Life Cycle Assessment certification

TÜV Rheinland zertifiziert – Ökobilanz (ID 0000040909) (Logo)

A reference model was selected and assessed in detail in each product group. Typically, the model chosen was the best-selling in Europe.

LCAs for product subgroups as well as for new models are already being prepared.

It is clear across all product groups that most of environmental impacts are caused while the trucks are being used. In the case of electric trucks, the battery system also plays a key role. The production and maintenance of industrial trucks is almost equally as important.

The findings of the investigations are incorporated into the development process of future products, helping to further lessen the trucks’ environmental impact. Through the newly devised platform strategies, the KION Group’s other operating units will also benefit from the methodology.

Truck rental and used truck schemes: reducing costs, conserving resources

Any equipment that can be bought from STILL and Linde can also be hired, from hand pallet trucks to massive container handlers – for days, weeks or even months. This enables customers to respond quickly and flexibly at times when workloads are particularly high or if an item of equipment fails. There has been an increase in demand for environmentally friendly trucks, particularly in recent years. Both new and used trucks are used in rental fleets.

For a number of years, KION’s operating units have offered cost-effective equipment suitable for any application – from diesel, LPG or electric forklifts to warehouse technology, tow tractors, system trucks and heavy trucks – to customers who want to purchase a used industrial truck. In 2016 one in five forklifts sold in the Company’s Industrial Trucks & Services segment was an item of used equipment. Typically, these are former fleet trucks which were maintained under a maintenance agreement right from the outset according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. These trucks go through a standardised process to check them thoroughly when they are returned and, depending on their condition, made ready for reuse.

In the case of forklifts with an internal combustion engine, the engine is tested to ensure applicable emissions standards are met. In the case of forklift trucks with an electric drive, battery performance is tested, and the battery cells are either replaced or new batteries installed as required. Damaged truck components are repaired or exchanged, and only original spare parts are fitted – ensuring that even used trucks meet KION’s high standards at all times.

After all the work is completed, a warranty is issued for each refurbished truck, which guarantees the high quality and safety standard. Linde’s ‘Approved Trucks’ seal and STILL’s used equipment classification in gold, silver or bronze make it clear that trucks meet this standard.

As a result, the buyer purchases a reliable, high-performance truck – and makes a significant contribution to conserving resources by extending the truck’s service life.