Sainsbury’s trials lithium ion with Toyota

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Sainsbury’s is working with Toyota to trial lithium ion battery technology at one of its largest distribution centres.

The trial, which starts at the end of the month, is part of an initiative by Toyota Material Handling Europe and will include a range of warehouse equipment integral to distribution centre operations including heavy-duty powered pallet trucks and horizontal order pickers.

Gary King, logistics operations support manager for Sainsbury’s, said: “Sainsbury’s is dedicated to finding new ways to work efficiently and reduce environmental impact. We have been working closely with Toyota for a number of years and by sharing our ideas and opportunities we are actively looking for a practical solution to meet this target”.

In addition to Toyota’s experience working with Sainsbury’s within its distribution centres, an in-depth study of the practical day–to-day usage of the equipment has been taking place over several months.

A wireless information system, part of Toyota I_Site fleet management technology, was fitted to a sample of trucks to examine truck utilisation, battery charging and battery changing behaviour in a practical environment.

Toyota commercial director Sam Coles said: “Understanding the practical application of a distribution centre of this size is extremely important to the project. What we have found has aided the development of an efficient battery management system by Toyota Material Handling Europe which will work with lithium ion batteries to ensure higher levels of productivity.”

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