The challenge becomes reality!

The Atex systems for forklifts powered by a lithium iron-phosphate battery represent one of the many challenges undertaken and won by Miretti. This development work is a result of the constant commitment to researching new solutions to protect and secure the innovative solutions introduced onto the market every year; this “mission” is the distinctive element of the Group which, since 1973, has often found, and still today finds itself playing the courageous role of forerunner on projects never attempted before. Thanks to the Company’s internal R&D and Certification Departments, Miretti Group has successfully developed certified explosion-proof solutions for vehicles powered by lithium iron phosphate (LI-ION) batteries.

Since the introduction of lithium cells, the Miretti team has been engaged in an engineering and technical research dedicated to the Atex conversion of lithium run vehicles. The main aim was and still is to develop a certified and ergonomic “explosion-proof” protection package for machines with a lithium iron-phosphate battery that allows safe operation in hazardous areas and which, at the same time, meets the specific characteristics of this particular power source.

The solutions adopted guarantee a safety of the battery thus avoiding any risk of developing a “thermal runaway” thanks to compliance with Safety UL1642 and UL2580 Standards. The test sequence includes strict (electrical-mechanical-environmental) tests with cogent accepting criteria and includes the simulation of battery and control system failures. These results are the basis for ensuring full compliance to Category 2GD.

After the first Atex conversion of a forklift powered by a LI-ION battery (carried out by Miretti in 2018), the commitment of Miretti engineers continues today with the aim of increasing and consolidating their know-how on lithium-powered machines. Forklifts with this type of power supply have already been Atex converted in Miretti’s Italian production plant and are already successfully present on the market. These vehicles, efficient in terms of energy and emissions, could represent the future in the materials handling sector (also and especially considering the environmental issue which is increasingly protagonist in the public debate), and it is Miretti Group’s desire to be an active part of this change.

The explosion proof vehicle with lithium iron-phosphate technology is particularly suitable in all those industrial contexts like the chemical industry (paints, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, additives), food and logistic sectors. Situations in which the highest level of “performance” is required during the entire period of use of the vehicle itself. Forklifts powered by a lithium iron-phosphate battery ensure high performance operation with maximum power and are perfect for multi-shift applications. The LI-ION battery is almost maintenance-free and eliminates the management and charging problems associated with lead-acid batteries. Furthermore, the lithium battery is almost entirely emission-free. This element is decisive because it makes vehicles almost zero-emissions and therefore carbon free. With these characteristics, forklifts with lithium batteries allow customers to have full flexibility of use regardless of operating conditions and they offer an effective and viable alternative to traditional explosion proof diesel and/or electric vehicles.

As a result of these considerations, Miretti Group wants to reassure the material handling market, all manufacturers and end users. In the field of material handling, the use of lithium technology is relatively recent. However, it is not if we consider and analyse the automotive market.

Today, thanks to the development work of Miretti, even forklifts with lithium iron-phosphate batteries can be explosion protected to operate safely in hazardous areas in compliance with the regulations in force. Miretti has succeeded in transferring its consolidated and multi-year experience in Atex conversions, regularly carried out on electric and diesel vehicles, also to forklifts equipped with lithium iron-phosphate batteries. The result is Innovation, Quality and Certified Reliability in explosion-proof conversions for lithium iron-phosphate forklifts. The next step, on which Miretti is already working, is to make the Atex conversions of lithium-powered vehicles quickly available on the market as it is normally the case with traditional electric and diesel forklifts.

Therefore, it is now possible to set aside positions of excessive scepticism which probably still derives from a not yet complete knowledge and preliminary research work done on a relatively new product. The experience gained in this specific field allows Miretti Group to assert that explosion-proof conversion on forklifts with lithium iron-phosphate batteries is feasible and safe. The positivity towards this issue is also based on work experience conducted specifically on the type of cells and BMS used which become a discriminating factor. Also, in this case – as in all explosion-proof conversions – precise and rigorous process procedures must be followed.  Miretti has been able to define these thanks to a constant and meticulous experimentation. The “discussion table” always remains open in Miretti. For those who are interested in the subject or who need Atex conversions on forklifts with lithium iron-phosphate batteries, it will certainly be possible to carry out a first interlocutory analysis and a first approach to the project with the Miretti technicians and engineers who have dedicated themselves to the development of that specific product over recent years.

Source = The article has been published on 6th May 2021 

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