Valassis Case Study – Opportunity Charging

Valassis

Austell, GA

  1. What was the situation?
    Valassis was looking for a solution to free up valuable space in their facility by eliminating their battery changing area. They were also concerned with the safety of their employees changing batteries and the time required to do so.
  2. What were the challenges / alternatives?
    The company uses sit down forklifts on two extended shifts and would swap batteries before/after each shift. They were charging their batteries with conventional Ferroressonant chargers and conventional batter changing equipment in order to keep their trucks running at their current schedule. We performed and reviewed the results of the power study and determined they were a candidate for opportunity charging and could eliminate the need for more than one battery per forklift. However, because of their extended shifts and increased demand during peak periods of the year, a standard opportunity charger would not return enough power to their fleet.
    Other challenges included location of the opportunity chargers. With eliminating the charging area, Valassis needed the chargers to be located in areas convenient to each department. The ultimate goal was to reduce equipment costs, improve efficiency, increase safety, and free up real estate inside the facility.
  3. What was the solution?
    Based on the increased demand during peak periods, the Infinity High Frequency R30 Zip Chargers were installed to provide charges of 30 amps per 100. This Infinity Opportunity Charger allowed Valassis to meet their goals of one battery per forklift and had adequate power to keep their batteries charged to run through their most demanding shifts. Flow-Rite single point watering kits were added to each battery to increase productivity. Because of the lightweight engineering of the chargers, the Infinity chargers were mounted to the end of racks and were strategically placed in each department for convenient opportunity charging when the forklifts were not being used.
  4. How is the solution working?
    Valassis is more than pleased with the outcome. The net effect has been to reduce the amount of batteries by half, improved forklift operator productivity, a drastically reduced repair expense (compared to their previous chargers), and they were able to utilize the newly freed up battery changing/charging area.

Stemco Case Study – Internal Combustion to Battery Conversion

Stemco

Rome, GA

  1. What was the situation?
    Stemco was seeking to switch from running propane (LPG)/internal combustion (IC) forklifts to electric forklifts to substantially reduce their operating costs and eliminate their carbon footprint. Stemco reached out to MCP for a consultative analysis.
  2. What were the challenges / alternatives?
    Stemco’s operation runs two, ten hour shifts, five days a week. They had an aging fleet of ten IC sit down forklifts with steadily increasing annual repair costs and a large LPG budget. Stemco reviewed a possible electric forklift conversion in the past, but baulked at the idea due to the multiple batteries that required changing, concern for safety related issues, and the addition of costly and cumbersome battery changing equipment.
  3. What was the solution?
    Using proven Infinity High Frequency Charging technology, operators were able to opportunity charge their forklift batteries during breaks, lunches, and shift changes. Opportunity charging also eliminated the need for multiple batteries and the associated costly battery changing equipment. The conversion process began with a facility survey and power study. An electric forklift, comparable to their IC forklifts, was brought in for demo to determine the correct specifications needed for their application. An Infinity High Frequency R25 Zip Charger was coupled with the forklift demo and was monitored and analyzed for power return to the battery. After determining the correct requirements for their production needs, Stemco was presented with an ROI comparison of the IC to Electric forklift conversion. Georgia Power lowered the overall cost per kWH, paid for building wiring upgrade of various 480V, three phase drops, and discounted the cost on a required transformer as an incentive for the conversion process. The ROI reflected significant annual savings that allowed them to convert their ten IC forklifts to 12 electric forklifts.
  4. How is the solution working?
    Stemco is elated at the outcome! They eliminated their IC forklift carbon footprint at a significant cost savings that allowed for an increase of production that will sustain a 15% growth factor in the next two years. This conversion process will be a showcase model for the rest of the facilities nationally.

Kimberly Clark Case Study – Battery Room Fleet Management

Kimberly Clark

Beach Island, SC

  1. What was the situation?
    Kimberly-Clark (KCBI) owns and leases a fleet of 250+ batteries and 130+ chargers. KCBI maintained their battery room with a standard charge and cool rotation. This process was first managed by their forklift operators and then a national battery service and equipment vendor. The former saw employees reactive to battery failures and lack a controlled battery watering process or maintenance program. The latter was hired as a full-time, on-site battery room maintenance crew. MCP was called in to perform a warranty repair and was asked by KCBI to perform a complete fleet evaluation. Under the national battery vendor’s watch, KCBI’s entire battery fleet was at near critical failure with many batteries providing 1 – 2 hours of run time at best. MCP was subsequently awarded the battery room management contract.
  2. What were the challenges / alternatives?
    The largest challenge was to rehabilitate as much of the existing equipment as possible to keep the fleet running. Some batteries were over 10 years old and were cycled at least twice per day. MCP established a watering program and developed performance and maintenance histories on all equipment. Understanding of usage and utilization by department was another challenge as some were light duty and others ran over 10 hours a day. Communication and training with the KCBI operators and staff were integral for immediate improvements.
  3. What was the solution?
    To properly analyze and track results, MCP devised a system of reporting which included time-studies for each department, truck-hours, battery usage, and battery change times. Direct lines of communication were established with the forklift operators for battery complaints and said battery was logged and evaluations were completed. Battery run-times and overall repairs were decreased significantly through a/an equalization program, watering program, and PM schedules. The battery changing process was also addressed and decreased the time spent by 50% which also decreased internal safety ratings by 85% and change out equipment repair costs.
  4. How is the solution working?
    MCP has been awarded a new contract and over $1 million in new and improved equipment is to be delivered to KCBI. This contract will see MCP on site for over seven years. We continually strive to identify new opportunities for cost savings and process improvements by implementing new programs and procedures like opportunity charging.