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Ultracapacitor Solutions for Forklifts and Cranes

Many forklift manufacturers are employing ultracapacitors to provide lift to electric forklifts, which in turn eases the stress on the battery pack which runs the forklift. In many large warehouse operations, forklift batteries have some severe limitations. It is not uncommon for a forklift operator to deplete a battery to a level that is inadequate to power the forklift, requiring a battery swap mid-shift. This situation is exacerbated in refrigerated warehouse environments – most commonly found in food distribution centers – because the performance of a lead-acid storage battery degrades with decreasing temperature.

By substituting the conventional lead-acid battery power train with fuel cell or hybrid electric power packs, a clean power solution can be found that offers increased productivity with fast refueling, extended run time, reduced maintenance and reduced infrastructure costs. A forklift with a fuel cell power train needs ultracapacitors to meet the power requirements. One of the most important benefits of ultracapacitors is their ability to increase the power density of an energy source.

In the harbor crane and construction/mining markets, typical characteristics of the energy storage demands include deep discharge cycling coupled with high duty cycle requirements. By using ultracapacitors in their equipment, harbor crane manufacturers are providing innovative solutions to port authorities, delivering savings of up to 20 percent on diesel consumption realized through both braking/drop energy recovery. Further fuel savings can be realized by downsizing of diesel engines as the peak power is no longer required from the engine. These systems have demonstrated 35 percent reduction of CO2 emissions for the harbor authorities in today’s climate where global warming and levels of gas emissions are becoming an increasingly greater concern.

Maxwell’s ultracapacitor solutions for power cranes, straddle-carriers, RTG, stackers, forklifts and other earth-moving and mining equipment are the most flexible energy storage solution where the cost of the module is outweighed by the durability, reliability and productivity factors. In lifting and hoisting applications, studies have shown that new generation of forklifts, harbor cranes and mining equipment with Maxwell’s ultracapacitor products can increase the autonomy and life of the equipment by more than 25 percent, thereby reducing the cost of downtime and maintenance.



Ultracapacitor Forklifts and Cranes Quick Facts:

  • Reduce fuel consumption
  • Zero emissions
  • High power charge/discharge, up to one million cycles, high duty cycle and long life
  • Lower operational costs – eliminating battery change out
  • Additional commercial space – battery rooms eliminated
  • All weather conditions

Ultracapacitor Forklift and Crane Applications:

Maxwell ultracapacitors can be used to complement batteries or replace batteries altogether in the following applications:

  • Regenerative Power (energy recuperation)
    Maxwell ultacapacitors can absorb and store virtually all regenerative energy and then be applied when a sudden burst of power is required for lifting. The stored electrical energy in ultracapacitors is then available to assist in lifting or hoisting to reduce fuel consumption and accompanying emissions, and perform other electrical functions as necessary. As an added bonus, regenerative energy takes most of the load off traditional batteries, reducing maintenance and replacement expenses.
  • Peak Assist
    Ultracapacitors can relieve all of the peak power requirements from a primary energy source. In the case of a fuel cell, ultracapacitors are an enabling technology to allow a fuel cell-driven forklift to have enough power for lifting operations. In the case of diesel-driven forklifts or cranes, ultracapacitors reduce fuel consumption and/or reduce diesel engine size.

Ultracapacitor Forklift and Crane Customer Applications:

  • Hydrogenics for Forklifts
  • Gottwald

Ultracapacitors Products for Forklift and Crane Applications:

Maxwell Technologies offers the most comprehensive ultracapacitor product line for the heavy lifting industry, such as forklifts and cranes.

  • HTM125 Module
    Operating at 125V, this module can store more energy per unit volume, deliver more power per unit volume and weight and perform longer. Typical installations include seaport cranes, mining cranes, straddle carriers and RTGs.
  • 48V/165F Module
    Ideal for forklift material handling with series capability up to 750V.

Our commitment is to help our worldwide customers design and implement ultracapacitor solutions for existing and unique heavy lifting needs.


Ultracapacitors for Forklifts and Cranes

Maxwell’s ultracapacitor solutions for heavy equipment are the most flexible energy storage solution where the cost of the module is outweighed by the durability, reliability and productivity factors.