Refrigerated Warehouse: The Backbone of the Supply Chain
Warehouse management stretches across industries and verticals; almost any product you buy in a store has spent time in a warehouse at some point in its lifecycle.
Cold storage warehousing is a highly specialized subset of the warehouse management world with its own unique challenges.
Every warehouse manager is concerned about optimizing space, using automation to increase productivity, improving safety and ergonomics for workers, etc., but cold storage warehouses must do all that and more - while dealing with extremely cold temperatures.
Many refrigerated warehouse managers are discovering that using material handling equipment powered by industrial lithium-ion batteries has helped solve some of the unique challenges posed by operations in cold temperatures.
We recently visited RSG, sales manager of a battery distributor in Monterrey, Mexico. We sat down with him to learn about their business and how BSLBATT lithium-ion batteries can help them improve operational efficiency. We invite you to read the full interview below.
BSLBATT Battery: Tell us about the cold storage client
RSG: We are located in Monterrey, Mexico, with more than fifty years in the lead-transformation industry and with a high level of integration. Our client is an independent refrigerated/frozen logistics and storage company, founded in 1978, dedicated to providing competitive supply chain solutions for the food industry to meet the specific market needs of our customers.
What are you responsible for?
RSG: As the sales manager for the cold storage customer, I am responsible for finding more efficient and environmentally friendly industrial lithium battery products for him, and providing my customers with the best quality products and the most considerate service.
What is the most important problem your customers need to solve now?
The Problem faced by the refrigerated/frozen logistics and warehousing companies was the pallet jacks used by the delivery workers; specifically, the battery power strategy being used. The extremely cold temperature was causing the actual battery electrolyte to freeze which in turn prevented the battery from operating. Even worse, it was causing permanent damage to the battery and greatly shortening the battery’s life.
Instead of taking the preferred direction of keeping the pallet jacks in the trucks, the delivery employees had to pull the pallet jacks into the warehouse at night. After charging overnight at a normal temperature the pallets jacks were loaded back into the trucks in the morning before the deliveries began. So not only did they take up space in the warehouse, but they also required additional steps and time out of the busy schedules of the delivery employees.
The BSLBATT Industrial Lithium Battery Solution
The BSLBATT Industrial Lithium Battery solution was to pair a Lithium battery, which has superior cold-temperature performance, with an internal heating system. The two unique features together provided an overall battery system that would operate flawlessly in an extremely cold environment.
For the battery chemistry, BSLBATT Industrial Lithium Battery (LiFePO4) was selected due to its excellent cold temperature performance, along with its high cycle and safe operation. The zero-maintenance LFP makes it possible to keep the pallet jacks in the trucks without any need of watering or cleaning the acid residue typical of flooded lead-acid batteries.
The internal heater system was designed to operate during the overnight charging inside the trucks. When the battery temperature was lowered, the intelligent BSL control system would enable the heaters to prevent the battery temperature from reaching a temperature too low to charge and prevent cell damage.
The heated lithium battery system is another example that demonstrates how BSLBATT Industrial Lithium Battery’s engineering team’s experience and ingenuity help provide world-class power products to support our customers.
Thinking back to before you used lithium-ion in your lift equipment, what were some of the biggest challenges your client faced?
One of our biggest challenges, we always had batteries going out. And we always had to deal with downtime on our equipment. Also, because we’re constantly going in and out of hot and cold environments, some traditional batteries just wouldn’t work well in those conditions.
Now that you’ve switched to BSLBATT industrial Lithium Battery what has been your client experience?
Since we client switched to BSLBATT (lithium-ion forklift batteries) . The Warehouse Manager reports a slight increase in their lifts runtime and a massive decrease in charging and overall maintenance time. The safety improvements are also important – there are no more risks of acid spills and fumes or battery swapping-related risks. Other company facilities are looking closely at this case and some are already on the way to make the switch to Li-ion. If there is downtime, it’s definitely not with the batteries; it’s something else on the forklift.
"It's a simple product to use and it works great."
How did you get started with BSLBATT industrial lithium batteries?
We got started after being approached by a RSG Sales Rep. We tried one out – and then just started adding more, then added them to our bigger equipment – and it’s been working out great.
That’s great, why has your team transitioned to BSLBATT industrial lithium batteries?
We like the minimal downtime. We like the extended life. We have drivers doing up to 3 truckloads, and previously, we’d have to send them a separate jack for the driver to be able to finish his day. Currently, with the BSLBATT industrial lithium batteries on board – the charge just goes forever and he can finish his shift on just one charge. That’s one of the main reasons we like BSLBATT.
Can you point to any ROI on your switch to lithium-ion?
The return on investment is pretty easy to explain.