Electric machines drive new opportunities
27 July 2021
It’s clear that many equipment manufacturers are working hard to develop green machines to meet the growing demand for sustainable solutions.
Indeed, an earlier post on the blog reported on forthcoming regulations making major contractors ensure that eco-friendly measures are adopted throughout their supply chains.
What’s also becoming apparent is that, in many cases eco-friendly products can help hirers and contractors to target additional markets because of their green characteristics.
I recently visited the Snorkel’s manufacturing facility in Washington, Tyne & Wear, to see some of the technology that is being used in its latest battery powered access machines.
Amongst these is a range of compact rough-terrain scissor lifts including the very narrow S2255RTE, S2755RTE, S2770RTE, S3370RTE and S3970RTE. Other machines are in the pipeline, including a newcomer to be shown at the Vertikal Days event in September.
Andrew Fishburn, VP Strategic Accounts EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Asia) with Snorkel, says these machines incorporate automotive-style lithium batteries with a superior energy density than some other types. This enables fewer to be used for the same power output, which also reduces weight.
“These machines give greater energy efficiency and even with estimated heavy usage they give more than a full working day’s performance. They are quieter when being driven or operated and obviously never need to be left running on idle, eliminating CO2 emissions, NOx particles and other contaminants.
John Gill, Snorkel’s chief manufacturing officer, adds that the tractive power is also better, even on rough ground, and that the greater torque allows the battery management system (BMS) to deliver smoother power throughout the working envelope.
Each battery cell can be fully depleted without damage and each has its own BMS to regulate power more efficiently.
Taken together, these qualities also extend the potential applications for this type of machine, creating opportunities for use inside tunnels, within buildings, food processing plants, cold stores and similar environments, giving more hire opportunities.
A further plus is that the batteries are sourced close to the Snorkel Europe facility, reducing the manufacturer’s carbon footprint – something that is being asked for increasingly on tender forms.
It’s often pointed out that machines powered by new energy sources carry a higher price tag owing to the cost of developing the technology. We’re seeing this, for example with electric cars.
However, it can be argued that electric car owners can save in the long term owing to the lower running costs compared with burning fossil fuels, reduced servicing and maintenance and, in some cases, tax benefits.
Interestingly, Snorkel believes that similar arguments can apply to battery powered plant and machinery, enabling hirers to present a strong case why customers should adopt them in terms of overall costs. This will be the subject of a future blog post.
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