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Fuel Cells: Coca-Cola bottler installs Crown fuel cell-powered forklifts

Crown Equipment announced that a fleet of 35 Crown FC 4500 Series counterbalanced, fuel cell-powered forklifts were delivered to Coca-Cola Bottling Co.
By Modern Materials Handling Staff
July 12, 2011

Crown Equipment Corporation, one of the world’s leading forklift manufacturers, today announced that a fleet of 35 Crown FC 4500 Series counterbalanced, fuel cell-powered forklifts were delivered to Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, the nation’s largest independent bottler for Coca-Cola. The trucks were installed at the company’s Charlotte, N.C. production center.

The Crown FC 4500 Series is designed to meet the demands of heavy-duty applications, such as high-volume warehouse environments. The fuel cell model of the FC 4500 maintains the same features and benefits presented by the standard model. It is one of more than 20 models Crown has qualified to operate with various fuel cells as part of its fuel cell qualification program.

Crown’s fuel cell initiative is a critical component of its commitment to environmental sustainability throughout its business. This commitment played an important role in the Coca-Cola bottler’s decision to deploy Crown lift trucks with fuel cells.

“As one of the first Coca-Cola bottlers to make the move to use fuel cell lift trucks, it was important that we set the standard by partnering with a provider that has conducted significant research on the technology and had a strong commitment to its customers’ sustainability initiatives, as well as its own,” said Dave Brown, vice president of manufacturing, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated. “After visiting Crown’s fuel cell research center and touring its manufacturing areas, we were confident Crown was the right choice.”

Eric Jensen, Crown’s director of new technology research and development, said, “As fuel cells continue to show promise as a viable alternative power source within clearly defined applications, more companies are realizing that the technology used with forklifts can derive additional benefits to their operations. For example, in many cases the biggest fuel cell benefit can come from labor savings by eliminating battery charging cycles. Hydrogen refueling takes approximately two to five minutes while replacing a depleted battery can take as long as 40 minutes — and batteries may need to be changed in as little as six hours of run time in demanding facilities.”

Crown conducts its fuel cell testing at a 25,000-square-foot research facility near Dayton, Ohio, that is dedicated solely to this purpose.

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