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Top Performance in Thrift Mode

Peak performance in non-stop operation and a high standard of energy efficiency: This was verified in a field test of the EFG 550 battery-powered, four-wheel forklift, conducted at full-line concrete product supplier Creabeton Matériaux AG. At the base of this performance is Jungheinrich’s Pure Energy technology concept, which also delivers impressive cost savings.


Christopher Reid, Head of Industrial Trucks at Creabeton Matériaux AG, Lyss (Switzerland), climbs aboard the new Series 5 electric counterbalance truck to put it through its paces. “The EFG 550 uses less energy than earlier generation vehicles. One of the main reasons is the compact control system — Jungheinrich has managed to relocate the relevant components from the rear so they are closer to the motors, greatly reducing electric cable lengths.”

This rearrangement is part of the Pure Energy technology concept, which stands for highest throughput efficiency and minimum fuel consumption and consequently for higher cost effectiveness. The concept also includes Jungheinrich’s fourth generation three-phase AC technology, resulting in optimised fine tuning between the AC motor and the control system — lower electric power input is required to control hydraulic consumers, which also feature compact design and are even, in part, connected directly to the hydraulic block.

“S Line” Increases Handling Rates

The EFG 550 splashes through a big puddle of muddy water. “These are tough operating conditions. That is why we greatly appreciate the special dust and splash proofing of the truck for outdoor applications,” emphasises Reid. “In addition, Jungheinrich fitted heavy-duty components that are less susceptible to wear and tear. This is very important to us, because we want to keep these trucks in operation over a ten year period despite subjecting them to heavy workloads. Of course, this might entail operating them in the production area later on, where the pace and operating hours are lower than for our outdoor operations, which are characterised by a single, daily nine-hour shift.”

As a company which takes its environmental responsibility seriously, Creabeton Matériaux had already conducted tests on electric trucks in 2006, with the result that it decided to decommission its diesel trucks. As a manufacturer of concrete goods Creabeton Matériaux is also well versed in operating electric trucks under harsh conditions, making the Swiss-based enterprise well positioned to issue sound development advice. Reid points to a component fitted to a hoist mast on an older model EFG 550. “At our request Jungheinrich retrofitted the shock absorber to the latest generation. Now it is standard. It stops breakage of the goods being transported, which is all the more important given the long distances involved.” The heavy-duty steering axle, which also goes back to a request from Creabeton Matériaux, is better at cushioning the strong impacts on the rough paths and keeps vibrations down.

Reid points out a photo of the S Line of the new generation forklift truck. “The EFG S50 had a photo session here. We are seriously considering this model. Not only is the EFG S50 specially optimised for outdoor work with a heavy duty and wider steering axle, it also features bigger rear wheels that deliver greater drive comfort.” With a centre of gravity of 600 millimetres and lifting capacity of up to 5,000 kilograms, the EFG S Line boasts the capacity and power absolutely essential for mastering the toughest indoor and outdoor tasks with specialised attachments. At Creabeton Matériaux this is precisely the case, because two-metre long forks are fitted to the trucks, the centre of gravity shifts upwards to between 800 and 1,200 millimetres when handling loads of one-and-half to three tonnes. Also Creabeton Matériaux uses traversing forks and tine adjusters as well as rotating or telescopic forks. The tine adjusters have a large opening range to handle materials of varying width. Moreover, the full-line concrete goods supplier benefits from the larger wheel base of the S Line and the associated higher stability.

Standardised Battery Changing System

The SnapFit, an adapter for installing and locking batteries, is another technology concept Jungheinrich developed for its electric forklifts trucks. In combination with an off-the-shelf Jungheinrich low platform truck, SnapFit is a standardised battery changing system for trucks operating with 48 and 80 volt batteries. Service and maintenance work is made much easier thanks to the battery changing system and the easy and safe horizontal changing options. Use in conjunction with the Jungheinrich low platform truck, the SnapFit adapter is also ergonomic, as no physical exertion is required.

Because the battery can be easily pulled out sideways, no crane or second forklift is required to lift it out from above, which was previously the norm. According to Reid, this also means that these battery-powered forklifts can be used for multi-shift operations. What is more, the driver no longer has to open a door in the driver cab or remove articles from the side storage compartments before a battery change.

The forklift driver in his comfort cab slides his window open and reports he has been driving the stacker for eight hours today and had the heating switched on for four. At the end of the working day the remaining charge in the battery would still have lasted for another four hours. Christopher Reid opens the door to the battery compartment. “What the driver says confirms that we can use this truck non-stop, usually for nine hours, without any need to change batteries. So we don’t actually have any experience with the new SnapFit adapter. Of course, the benefits of this solution are still apparent to us, as we know all about the complicated battery changing process from other trucks.”

Maximum Energy Efficiency

Because of their long operating times, Creabeton Matériaux is also interested in the Efficiency and Drive&Lift Plus model variants. These special performance packages mean the EFG 550 can be adapted to each driver and application. In all cases the maximum efficiency is assured. If the client selects the Efficiency package, the focus is on rapid driving and lifting but not on maximum handling rates. On the other hand, with the Drive&Lift Plus package he fully exploits the benefits of the power and performance of the forklift.

With the integrated voltage transformer Jungheinrich opens the door to the easy retrofitting of application options on the basis of an economic plug & play concept, i.e. frequently used electrical power requirements can be easily implemented by retrofitting on site. Jungheinrich After Sales Service supplies these options as pre-configured packages.

Field Test Passed with Flying Colours

The EFG 550 passed the field test at Creabeton Matériaux with flying colours. This is down to the fact that with the Series 5 battery-powered, four-wheel forklifts Jungheinrich systematically improved and developed the technology inherent in the Series 4 trucks, successfully launched in 2012, and which in their own right were well-ahead of the pack, compared with similar trucks.

Christopher Reid steps up to the truck. “We tested the EFG 550 against our 34 older generation Jungheinrich electric forklifts across the entire range of tasks we expect our trucks to deal with. The truck performed all internal material transport jobs, including lorry and train loading as well as picking up pallets loaded with concrete parts from the production area and transporting them to block storage. In the process, on top of the energy efficiency and outstanding performance, we were impressed with its ease of operation among other things. Also with respect to the new S Line, everyone who drove the truck for the photo session was unanimous in their praise.”

Jungheinrich AG, Jan Kaulfuhs-Berger, Corporate Communications

Tel.: +49 40 6948-1503, Fax: +49 40 6948-1599,

Source: Jungheinrich