Kion adds second production line to forklift battery plant


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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