Batteries and battery management systems from Hoppecke Industrial Batteries have helped Travis Perkins to save around £250,000 a year on the costs of running a fleet of counterbalance and reach trucks.

In its distribution centres, the Travis Perkins Group wanted to move away from using internal combustion (IC) engine trucks to electric machines and, as part of a £5m contract with Briggs Equipment, was supplied with 57 counterbalance Yale trucks on a three-year contract.

Hoppecke supplied trak air batteries, 52 high frequency chargers, five battery changing systems and five trak monitor call forward and management systems. This was all backed up by the company’s Power for Life contract, designed to remove any risks associated with managing batteries and to improve their operation.

Cost savings

Travis Perkins worked out that with the cost of the new trucks and their maintenance and fuel costs, it would save around £750,000 over the length of the contract. This includes the cost for Hoppecke to provide all battery filling and maintenance as well as the battery changing equipment.

Hoppecke’s equipment has led to minimum downtime of trucks and improved the efficiency, safety and aesthetics of the battery changing areas while ensuring the correct rotation of reach truck batteries is always achieved.

Travis Perkins selected equipment from Hoppecke for use in one of its distribution centres. Previously, the company was connecting truck batteries for recharge to 50Hz chargers when the truck was not in use, but this was reducing battery life, increasing the need to top up and incurring needless electrical charging costs.

With the Hoppecke high frequency chargers, charging is restricted to when it is needed, which has cut the charging requirement to twice a week, and reduced topping intervals. The Hoppecke Power for Life service means that all the counterbalance trucks have battery filling carried out under an annual service contract.

Safe environment

“This project not only involved saving money but also making the working environment both cleaner and safer for our colleagues,” said Liam Holland, Travis Perkins’ group transport manager. “We could not have done this without the support from both Briggs and Hoppecke.”

“A lot of companies with trucks only insist on IC engines because they feel they need access to that machine 24 hours a day during their weekly shift requirements,” added Gus Whyte, sales director – national accounts and systems at Hoppecke. “However, if they don’t use the truck over the full 24 hours there can be unnecessary costs.

“Not only has Travis Perkins saved a huge amount of money but they now have a tidy and safe charging area with easy, effortless battery changing, reduced damage battery organisation and reduced changing times.”

And, he added, with Power for Life all responsibility for battery filling and maintenance has been removed from the operators.

“This has eliminated all health and safety issues, taken away problems with battery corrosion on the floor and allowed the company to concentrate on its core business and not on batteries and chargers,” said Mr Whyte.