Saving energy and protecting the environment

G4-26, G4-27

Linde Material Handling is working continuously on improving the environmental performance of its industrial trucks. The main focus is on reducing emissions for diesel trucks and developing efficient vehicles and alternative drives. The emissions standard Euro V of the European Union is currently being prepared in the diesel sector. It is projected to apply from 2019 and will affect vehicles between 19 kW and 56 kW. Compared with the Standard III B currently still in force, it entails a reduction of 98% of the current emission thresholds for harmful substances.

In all load capacity categories, Linde diesel trucks are already among the vehicles with the lowest emissions in each category on the market. The harmful substances emitted by a diesel truck H25 to H35 EVO is 83% below the statutory threshold for particle mass (PT), 26% for hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), and an impressive 99% for the hazardous respiratory poison carbon monoxide (CO).

Joint development work

Linde Material Handling is carrying out work on technical innovations at several levels. Research and development have been centrally organised in the KION Group since mid-2014. Linde itself employs several hundred employees in the area, including around 270 in Aschaffenburg, 80 in Châtellerault (France) and 300 in Xiamen (China).

For some years now, Linde has been developing the TruckClinic as a format for integrating customers more strategically into the product development process. The TruckClinic is part of a research-based stakeholder dialogue which channels customer needs directly into product innovations or implements them in innovations.

The process lasts several months and starts with market analyses and discussions with inhouse forklift-truck drivers, sales agents and suppliers. Customers then test vehicles from various competing manufacturers in a neutral environment for several hours before completing questionnaires. The feedback is exceptionally positive; customers are particularly keen on options for making direct comparisons and show a great deal of commitment when they take part. Efficiency benefits and safety features are in particular demand.

Customer feedback is also obtained through regular visits, the service helpdesk and in the course of complaints management. The “World of Material Handling” customer event lasts several weeks and is a very popular forum with customers. Linde Material Handling held this event for the first time in 2014.

Linde also works together with external partners in this area. An IT system was developed in partnership with software company Reknow to carry out visual field analysis of a forklift driver in conformity with ISO 13564. This generates a 3D view of the vehicle and the development engineer is able to use data goggles to assess the visual conditions from the driver’s position in a 360 degree allround view. Software-based test procedures were also used to develop the Linde Safety Pilot.

Energy savings

Linde is well ahead of the competition for trucks powered by internal combustion engines (IC). However, demand is shifting in the direction of electric vehicles and this area is increasingly weighted towards alternative drive technologies like lithium-ion batteries and fuel cells.

Today, Linde electric forklift trucks already have the highest turnover of goods in the sector for the lowest consumption (based on a performance test by TÜV-Nord technical inspectorate). The latest models have a new energy management system which provides optimum control for consumption, which is 16% below that of previous models. Furthermore, Linde has launched bigger electric trucks in the market. Their load capacity is up to eight tons. In 2014, Linde also included two series in its range of electric tugger trains for moving materials around premises, the Logistic Train (LT) and the Factory Train (FT). The tow tractors for these trains also use less electricity. Linde even uses its own electric drive technology from the truck to convert service vehicles for electric mobility. The Linde E-Service Van is ideal for service journeys in built-up urban areas and is also permitted to drive in innercity areas where there are emission-based restrictions on entry – the vehicles are now being tested in the field.

In 2014, the first phase of field testing for ten pallet trucks powered by fuel cells came to an end. This was the “E-LOG-BioFleet” project. Since December 2013, BMW has been testing a fleet of four tugger train tow tractors and five forklift trucks with fuel-cell hybrid drives powered by hydrogen at its Leipzig plant in the “H2IntraDrive” project. The two research-led projects have taken Linde and its partners an important step towards production readiness for industrial trucks with hydrogen drive.

The environmental commitment of Linde Material Handling is not restricted to the Linde brand or to Germany. The Company promotes the environmental attributes of its products in France under the designation Fenwick Green Performances. A similar programme under the name Green Energy Carriers also exists for the British market. We additionally offer “Eco Lease” here. This is a programme for CO2 emission mitigation in leasing contracts implemented in cooperation with the Gold Standard Foundation.


E-LOG-BioFleet (photo)

“E-LOG-BioFleet” is a joint project between Linde Material Handling, Fronius International, DB Schenker, OMV, HyCentA Research and Joanneum Research. Ten pallet trucks powered by a hybrid system fitted with a fuel cell as a range extender are being put through practical tests at a logistics centre operated by DB Schenker in Austria with Europe’s first indoor hydrogen refuelling station. An interim review of the government subsidised project was carried out in 2014. After a short introductory phase, the vehicles were fully integrated in shift operation. A high-power lithium-ion battery covers peak performance requirements in operation, while the fuel cell generates power for base-load requirements. An optimised operation strategy and the recovery of braking energy enables the system to achieve a high level of efficiency of up to 53%. At the same time, a vehicle generated one third less greenhouse gases over its entire lifecycle than a comparable vehicle powered by lead-acid battery.

Pre-owned trucks on offer

Linde offers a product range of “Approved Trucks” providing an attractive, cost-effective alternative and a solution that is tailored to any application – from diesel and LPG-powered trucks, through electric trucks, warehouse trucks, tow trucks and system vehicles, to heavy trucks. These are generally former fleet vehicles which have been maintained under a contract right from the start in conformity with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Stringent tests are applied to the engine to ensure that diesel trucks are also fully compliant with the applicable exhaust-emission standards. The batteries in electric trucks are also tested for performance and battery cells are replaced as appropriate. Damaged vehicle components are repaired or replaced, and Linde original spare parts are used exclusively. This means that the purchaser acquires a reliable, efficient vehicle. This package makes a significant contribution to the conservation of resources by extension of the service life.