Kion adds second production line to forklift battery plant

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German logistics provider Kion Group AG is putting its money where it belongs, confirming predictions that warehouse automation equipment will increasingly run on electricity with a move to expand its battery manufacturing arm .

Kion kicked off the initiative in 2020 when it opened a joint venture known as Kion Battery Systems (KBS) in cooperation with BMZ Holding GmbH to manufacture lithium-ion batteries for industrial forklifts.

KBS is currently expanding its facilities at this site, a factory in Karlstein am Main, Germany, approximately 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 growing demand for lithium-ion battery systems in the intralogistics and warehouse technology industry, saying its “electric forklifts deliver strong performance that enables [them] to effortlessly compete with internal combustion forklifts, providing a durable alternative to tackle tough application areas – indoors and out.

Until now, the plant manufactured 48 and 80 volt batteries for counterbalanced trucks, but the expansion will add 24 volt batteries for other industrial trucks. By adding a second production line, the KBS factory now has the capacity to produce 30,000 batteries per year.

In addition, the site hosts a research and development branch that studies the entire life cycle of the battery: from the development of new proprietary battery systems and the intelligent management of the load to the reconditioning and ultimately to the recycling of the batteries. , with the existing possibility of recovering up to 95% of the raw materials used, says Kion. For example, by reconditioning lithium-ion batteries, the group hopes to switch each cell to a second or even a third life.

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