New battery plant will produce 30,000 a year for material handling equipment

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Kion Battery Systems GmbH (KBS) is expanding its production facility in Karlstein, Germany, with a second production line for 24-volt batteries for mobile warehouse handling equipment.

Kion Group AG and BMZ Holding GmbH, a manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries, set up Kion Battery Systems in the summer of 2019 to produce lithium-ion batteries for industrial trucks. They were responding to strong demand for lithium-ion battery systems.

Approximately 87 percent of all new industrial trucks manufactured by Kion are electrically powered.

“With the addition of a second production line, we are now taking the next vital step towards a sustainable future,” said Rob Smith, CEO of Kion Group AG, at the opening of the second production line on April 26, 2021.

The production line started out manufacturing 48- and 80-volt batteries for counterbalance trucks at the Karlstein plant. Now, production is being extended to other industrial trucks. The KBS plant now has capacity to produce 30,000 batteries every year.

“The experts at KBS are currently designing a completely new forklift battery that uses cells developed specifically for Kion. This is cutting-edge technology made in Germany,” Smith said.

Extending the lifecycle

In addition to battery production, the R&D department at KBS is developing concepts for reconditioning lithium-ion batteries and transitioning the system into a second or even third life. The team is looking at the battery’s entire life cycle: from the development of new proprietary battery systems and intelligent load management to reconditioning and ultimately recycling batteries, with the possibility of recovering up to 95 percent of the raw materials used.

KBS currently employs around 80 in research, development, and production. Up to 150 jobs will be created at Karlstein in the medium term.