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Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Kalmar installing final diesel engines

Kalmar has said that the latest-generation Stage 5 diesel engines it is installing in container handling products "will be some of the last diesels [it] will install on new equipment, anywhere" following the company's announcement last week that all its products will be electrified by 2021.

The cargo handling company's senior vice president for Mobile Equipment, Dan Pettersson, said that this will change "pretty much everything", that the future for all-sized machines is "electric" and that electrically-powered models will soon overtake diesel-electric hybrid models in both economy and performance.

Expanding demand

Mr Pettersson said that Kalmar will make all its products available as electrically-powered versions by 2021 due to both industry demand and the fact that this is increasing much quicker than could have been anticipated just a few years ago.

The senior vice president explained that currently, the strongest demand for all-electric container and material handling solutions is from "forward-looking customers in several different markets", with these solutions' development being accelerated by multiple regional and state ventures globally, many of which are very ambitious and being implemented very quickly.

Engine and driveline technology suppliers have noticed this and have been eager to partner with Kalmar while investing rapidly in electrification, he noted.

Mr Pettersson also said that moving to electric will have "major implications" for cargo and material handling operations' infrastructure and that the change will cause a big shift in the competences needed for the equipment's maintenance.

"Moving to electrically powered equipment will require careful planning to minimise the impact on operations, and the end result should obviously be the same level of performance — or better — than with diesel-powered solutions," he commented.

Looking ahead

The senior vice president additionally touched on the requirement for a form of "power and charging infrastructure" for the development, claiming that this affects the whole operating model and that due to battery technology developing so quickly, moving towards performance-based solutions — which see a trusted partner manage the infrastructure — may be attractive for some operators.

However, a great thing about moving to electric driveline technology is that it can also allow upgrades to current fleets, and diesel-powered equipment still in the middle of its life can be retrofitted to completely-electric drive, he said.

Concluding his article, the senior vice president said that going electric comprised just "one step in a larger future roadmap" and that although cargo and material handling evolution's ongoing next stage comprises automated and driverless systems, electrification forms the basis for their take-up.

Additionally, although the transformation that digitalisation has caused is now a reality, and Kalmar already has near to 5,000 mobile equipment machines connected worldwide — offering data helping customers better their service offering and terminal performance — it can offer much more value over future years, Mr Pettersson explained.

"The electric future is coming so fast that the discussion of how and when to accomplish this transformation needs to start now," he said.

May 27, 2018 by Port Strategy

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