At the Norish Foods cold store at Brierley Hill in the Midlands, a fleet of Flexi Narrow Aisle articulated fork lift trucks has been operating on three shifts in a cold store at temperatures as low as -28°C for nearly seven years – running on the original trak air batteries and chargers supplied by Hoppecke Industrial Batteries.

The timing is important because normal operating life of a lead acid battery in cold store conditions is four or five years and batteries on average lose around 30% of their capacity in cold storage applications. Therefore, vital factors for electric powered trucks operating in a cold store environment are the quality of their batteries and the ability to charge them. As a result Norish Foods opted to use the trak air units as well as a high frequency charger system from Hoppecke.

One of the main benefits of the Hoppecke trak air system is that it protects the batteries from overcharge, which allows them to have a much longer service life. Also, the high frequency chargers cut charging times by around 2.5 hours.

As a result, the Hoppecke trak air system has enabled Norish Foods to make significant savings in truck running costs because, with a six hour charging time, fewer batteries and chargers are required. Typically, on traditional battery types at least two spares were required per truck to allow 24 hour operation, while in extreme cases a spare charger would be needed per truck.

As part of the contract Hoppecke is also responsible for all battery filling which is carried out six times per year and protects Norish Foods’ investment through the ‘Power for Life’ agreement.

Norman Hatcliffe, managing director of Norish Foods, said, “The really great additional benefit of Hoppecke trak air is the 40% energy saving we achieved. It meant we were able to obtain payback on our investment in fewer than 12 months as well as real long term high power performance from our fleet of flexi trucks.” Gus Whyte, sales director, national accounts and systems at Hoppecke Industrial Batteries, added, “For Norish Foods we supplied a solution that matched the needs of their business perfectly and our trak air batteries and high frequency chargers have helped them to cut down dramatically the amount of down-time of their trucks.”