Page 19 - Power & Data Connectivity Expand Electronic Capabilities eBook
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2. Adopt enhanced battery technologies
New battery charging strategies increase power efficiency and reduce equipment charging time (and therefore downtime).
Traditionally, lead-acid batteries have been used in forklift and AGV applications for power storage. While these batteries offer a good solution for traditional forklift designs, usage, and charging strategies, new lithium-ion technology provides significant advantages for the warehouse automation space.
Adoption of lithium-ion batteries for the rugged warehouse market is widespread. These batteries enable opportunistic charging — when equipment is repowered rapidly and for short periods of time when convenient for the operator throughout the day. With enhanced battery systems, equipment no longer needs to rest for hours at a time to charge.
» Enhanced lithium-ion battery technology decreases charging downtime, which improves overall efficiency.
Instead, operators can charge technology while stepping away for a few minutes.
Lithium-ion batteries are smaller, and a more compact solution reduces weight and energy consumption. These effects reduce downtime and enhance overall productivity.
3. Prioritize ergonomic solutions
The need for frequent charging has led to significant changes in the design and specification of the electric powertrain. These effects include the need for sophisticated battery management systems, demand for increased charging power, and a higher number of charging cycles for the charging infrastructure (for example, charging connector mating). At the same time, operators want to limit the manual labor involved in charging operations, which leads to the requirement for AGVs and AMRs to be charged autonomously at docking stations.
With opportunistic charging, chargers are plugged into the equipment three to four times more than with traditional charging strategies. Not only does this create heavy wear and tear on the connector, it also places strain on the operator. The connectors are large and push high amounts of electrical current, which makes connecting and disconnecting the charging cables difficult. Suppliers are increasingly searching for solutions with less mating force, more flexible cables, and easier to handle connectors.

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