German logistics provider Kion Group AG is putting its money where its mouth is, backing up forecasts that warehouse automation equipment will increasingly run on electric power with a move to expand its battery manufacturing arm.
Kion began the initiative in 2020 when it opened a joint venture known as Kion Battery Systems (KBS) in cooperation with BMZ Holding GmbH to make lithium-ion batteries for industrial lift trucks.
KBS is now expanding its facility at that site, a plant in Karlstein am Main, Germany, about 25 miles east of Frankfurt. Kion says it has launched a second production line for manufacturing 24-volt batteries, used in mobile warehouse handling equipment.
Kion says it sees rapidly growing demand for lithium-ion battery systems in the intralogistics and warehouse technology industry, claiming its “electric forklift trucks boast a strong performance that enables [them] to effortlessly compete with internal combustion forklift trucks, thus offering a sustainable alternative for tackling challenging areas of application - both indoors and outdoors.”
Until now, the plant has manufactured 48- and 80-volt batteries for counterbalance trucks, but the expansion will add 24-volt batteries for other industrial trucks. By adding a second production line, the KBS plant now has capacity to produce 30,000 batteries every year.
In addition, the site hosts a research and development arm that studies the battery's entire life cycle: from the development of new proprietary battery systems and intelligent load management to reconditioning and ultimately recycling batteries, with the existing possibility to recover up to 95% of the raw materials used, Kion says. For example, by reconditioning lithium-ion batteries, the group hopes to transition each cell into a second or even third life.
KION Battery Systems, a partnership between BMZ Holding GmbH and us, opens its second production line for the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries for industrial trucks in Karlstein, Germany, expanding the product offering and production capacities. More: https://t.co/oSTD25M9n7. pic.twitter.com/MTls5z41NJ— KION Group (@KIONGroup) April 26, 2022