Flux gains safety certification for Li-ion forklift battery packs

  • 09-Feb-2016 03:12 EST
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According to Flux Power, its LiFT Pack delivers up to 25% longer run time than lead-acid batteries with identical amp-hour ratings.

Flux Power recently announced that its Light EV battery packs became the first for forklift use to be listed to UL 2271. The Flux Power UL Listed line of 24-V LiFT Pack lithium-ion battery pack models for Class III pallet jack forklifts or “walkies” include: LiFT Pack S5 135 Ahe, LiFT Pack S5 250 Ahe, and LiFT Pack S7 135 Ahe.

These are the first UL 2271 Listed Light EV battery packs for use in electric battery-powered industrial trucks, according to Flux Power and UL, a global safety science organization. The Li-ion battery packs are an alternative to the more commonly used lead-acid batteries in the forklift market. The UL Listing can be found at http://bit.ly/1PuXmZI.

Flux’s Vista, CA, assembly facility has also passed its Initial Production Inspection by UL to allow LiFT Packs with UL Listing to be shipped. The company plans to begin shipping the first UL 2271-listed lithium solution for electric trucks in Q2 2016.

The Flux LiFT pack is comprised of eight large pouch and prismatic Li cells connected in series, each with a nominal voltage of 3.2 V, for a pack nominal voltage of 25.6 V. Maximum continuous current is 90 A, with max peak current of 180 A. Flux uses LiFePO4 (lithium-iron-phosphate) chemistry due to its long cycle life (about 2000 cycles before battery capacity is 80%), low cost of ownership (fewer replacements), thermal stability, and high power output.

LiFePO4 has a specific energy of about 110 W·h/kg, compared to lead-acid’s approximately 40 W·h/kg. As a result, Flux claims its batteries can be about one-third the weight for similar amp-hour ratings. Thermal runaway is listed at 270°C (518°F).

The system uses a proprietary Battery Management System Module (BMSM) to monitor up to four individual LiFePO4 cells. The BMSMs report to the Battery Control Module, which can manage up to 28 BMSMs. “This means Flux Lithium is a scalable solution for almost any application,” the company states.

According to Flux, its LiFT Pack delivers up to 25% longer run time than lead-acid batteries with identical amp-hour ratings.

“Securing this UL Listing...underscores the quality, safety, and reliability of our LiFT Pack line for customers, distributors, dealers, and OEM partners,” said Flux Power CEO, Ron Dutt, in a statement. “Flux has emerged from this effort with a substantially enhanced product line, particularly in the areas of overall design and durability as well as additional feature sets that improve our LiFT Packs' value and performance for customers.”

UL 2271 certification is offered for battery products (cell, module, and pack) for use in a variety of light motive or transportation-related applications. UL assesses the ability of the battery packs to meet the standard requirements—which include the ability to withstand simulated abuse conditions based upon the manufacturer's specified charge and discharge parameters—through construction requirements, as well as electrical, mechanical, and environmental testing evaluated per the standard's compliance criteria.

“We are pleased to see this trend towards addressing safety considerations for the light EV battery market,” said Ibrahim Jilani, business development manager for UL's energy and power technologies division, in the statement. “UL's trusted independent third party evaluation gives manufacturers like Flux Power a way to demonstrate compliance of their lithium-ion battery packs to stringent safety standards.”

The LiFT Pack is approved for use in the Toyota electric pallet jack 7HBW23. A testimonial from Toyota Material Handling on the Flux website reads, “Toyota sees lithium-ion batteries as viable and in demand now. We’re pleased the Flux LiFT-24V-TRW battery pack testing went well.”

Flux Power products include battery packs for motive power in the lift equipment, tug and tow, and robotics markets; portable power for military applications; and stationary power for grid storage.

LiFT Pack technology for stand-on forklifts will be “coming soon,” according to Flux.

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