Seven factors to find the right power source Abstract Today’s lift truck power market is more robust than ever, with mature alternative power options joining the ranks of tried-and-true traditional sources. With this variety at their disposal, businesses can build a fleet solely around their unique operational and sustainability requirements, rather than manufacturer limitations. But with this opportunity comes potential risk – no power source is one-size-fits-all. Will you unlock higher levels of efficiency or remain stagnant and lose profitability? Operations must evaluate more than just the initial price tag of power sources. To make the right power decision that best fits your operation, take a broader, long-term view. Judge power sources based on a variety of factors to understand how well they fit your operation. Download the PDF Version 1 Run time Operations must answer two key questions when evaluating usage patterns: How often—and for how long—do lift trucks run? How long must lift trucks run before refueling or recharging? 2 Maintenance While some maintenance is a universal aspect of all lift trucks, not all power sources are created equal when it comes to upkeep. In fact, the amount of required maintenance—and the type of resources required—varies widely by power source. 3 Operating temperature Do trucks operate at mild or somewhat cool temperatures? What about something more extreme, like a refrigerated or hot environment? Or, maybe your operation encompasses both ends of the hot and cold spectrum? 4 Space constraints SKU proliferation pushes warehouse capacity to the max, and rising land costs drive facility managers to reexamine how current space is used before entertaining costly new construction. Limiting the footprint of a lift truck fleet—including charging and fueling infrastructure, battery storage and idle trucks can take back valuable square footage for revenue-generating activities. Space requirements vary across power sources, either boosting or reducing operational capacity. Seek a one-to-one power source to truck ratio to avoid the added cost and space of carrying extra power units. 5 Labor availability Record low unemployment means operations must make the most of scarce labor resources, but complex battery maintenance, charging and replacement processes can take a bite out of worker productivity. 3.5M manufacturing jobs will need to be filled by 2025. As many as 2M may go unfilled. 6 Electrical grid dependence Many markets have a dependable electric grid, but some rural areas can suffer from insufficient capacity that could require costly upgrades, while urban centers can fall victim to ‘brown-outs.’ Another factor is the risk of increased utility rates during peak hours. Operations can avoid this by staggering charging schedules to avoid overtaxing electrical grids during peak times. But both internal combustion engines and hydrogen fuel cells offer opportunities to store fuel on-site, minimizing dependency on public utilities to a greater extent than any other option. Space requirements vary across power sources, either boosting or reducing operational capacity. 7 Emissions Whether due to government regulations, strict standards for general hygiene and airborne pollutants, or corporate sustainability initiatives, operations face myriad pressures to reduce emissions and use the cleanest power sources possible. To understand your tolerance for emissions, consider the following questions: Is your application outdoors or indoors? Does your facility have strong ventilation with large, open spaces? Do lift trucks work in clean environments subject to hygiene standards? Are you subject to emissions reduction mandates by sustainability initiatives? 48% of Fortune 500 companies have a greenhouse gas target, a renewable energy target, an energy efficiency target, or some combination thereof. Power up with the right option To make the right lift truck power choice, understand your operation’s requirements for the factors above and bring in the experts. The Yale Power Suite team offers the industry’s broadest range of power options and the expertise to match operations with the best-fit power solution based on their specific application.