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A four-high lift truck battery-charge and change facility has been installed by Enersys as part of a refurbishment project at the St Helens regional distribution centre operated by The Co-operative.

The system makes the best possible use of available space on the minimum footprint and eliminates manual handling.

Batteries are stored above each other to make better use of floor space and handled in and out of racks using specially adapted handling carts.

These were generally restricted to two or three levels in the past because of limitations with the hydraulic performance of the handling equipment.

Enersys eliminated these issues at the Co-operative’s Chester-le-Street warehouse by creating a battery-handling system with a fully electric battery-changing cart, without any need for hydraulics.

A version of this machine, which was based on the Pro Series BBH, was built for handling batteries on four levels at St Helens.

When a lift-truck battery change is required, the truck approaches the changing area and the driver disconnects its battery.

A trained member of staff dedicated to the battery area takes over and completes the change using the Pro-Series BBE, which runs on concealed rails alongside the charger banks.

The battery is removed by the powerful extending electromagnet on the BBE, placed on its onboard roller bed and pushed into place for charging.

A charged battery is then loaded by the BBE onto the truck.

Batteries on all four levels can be handled in this way.

Truck uptime is sustained and potentially injurious manual handling is eliminated in what is a simple one-man job.

By adopting a future-proof strategy with two identical banks of batteries arranged back-to-back, each with its own BBE, flexibility of operation is assured both at peak periods and during maintenance.

One of the banks can be taken offline for short periods and the central aisle, which runs between the banks, enables engineers who are monitoring and maintaining batteries and chargers to do so safely without entering truck operating areas.

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