Customized battery charger keeps it simple for mobile lifting aid
Every day, objects must be moved, shifted, and lifted, from automotive parts and tax office files to health clinics. And while some of them can be carefully relocated and positioned without recourse to help, plenty of others need a little support. Goods handling is the domain of Expresso, the Kassel-based supplier of ergonomic working aids in Germany. Their innovative range of products takes the strain out of lifting and moving and reduces the risks to every employer’s most valuable asset – their employees.
Delivering solutions to assist handling since the 1950s, Expresso is recognized as a premium supplier of aluminium transport equipment with a range of easy-to-use, battery-powered products. Thanks to their innovations, customers are afforded more flexibility, enabling a wider range of employees to undertake handling tasks that they would otherwise be unable to manage. This boosts their productivity and ensures employees manage handling ergonomically while fulfilling legal regulations for safety at work.
With the development of the latest addition to their product range, the lift2move (Figure 1), it was essential that the core tenets of the Expresso design ethos were retained. The modular design would need to support a range of loading adaptors to accommodate everything from boxes to drums and enable lifting, gripping, turning, and tipping. Furthermore, a range of frame shapes would be required for balance under different loads while accommodating narrow spaces or straddling objects. This motorized solution would be powered by a rechargeable battery, enabling the lift2move to operate all day, anywhere in the factory.
Figure 1: The lift2move from Expresso is a highly modular, battery-powered mobile lifting aid.
An essential requirement for Expresso products is ease of use without training or a driver’s license, even for employees that may have an existing physical impairment due to a previous workplace injury. This simplicity also extends to the electrical system and lead-acid battery charging. To support them with this challenge, Expresso turned to their long-term partner, Mascot, the Norwegian electronics pioneer.
Mascot recommended the Model 2440 LA battery charger from their wide range of power solutions. Targeting lead-acid applications, the unit offered a wide input range (90 – 264 VAC) suited to all target markets. Furthermore, its 12 V, 4 A output was an ideal match for the lift2move lifting aid’s battery.
The Model 2440 LA is one of a family of battery chargers supporting a refined three-step charging approach (Figure 2). Initially, a constant current mode is used. This starts at a low current level for deeply discharged batteries until battery voltage attains a normal level. From here, a boost charge at the maximum specified current occurs. During this phase, the LED indicator is orange.
In the second step, the battery is top-up charged in constant voltage mode until the charge current drops below the termination level. Alternatively, during top-up charging, this step may be ended by the integrated timer. The LED indicator remains orange during this step. Once charging is complete, the charger enters the third float charge stage. The LED changes to green, and the charger provides a pulsing charge at a safe float voltage level. Should the battery be used during this phase, the charger automatically reverts to step one.
Figure 2: The Mascot Model 2440 LA’s three-step charging approach provides an optimal charge for lead-acid batteries that helps extend their life.
This choice of charger already met most of the requirements for the lift2move application, providing an easy-to-use charging solution. The unit could also be attached to the lifting aid, ensuring that the charger is not inadvertently left plugged into an electrical outlet and forgotten. Available in an IP67 housing, it provides reliability over the wide-ranging environmental conditions in which Expresso lifting aids are deployed. The two-pin IEC 320 input connector ensures that different power cords can be attached according to the electrical sockets used in different markets.
One change required was on the output. The standard 2440 LA is provided with battery clips, push-on terminals, or a DC plug (Figure 3). However, Mascot is always ready to offer customizations to meet individual customer needs. In this case, the output connector was modified to meet the precise needs of the lift2move.
The charger is also protected against common incorrect usage situations, such as reverse polarity and short circuits. Unaffected by fluctuations in mains voltage, the unit conforms to EN 60601-1-2 (EMC) and is medically certified (EN 60601-1-11).
Figure 3: The Mascot standard Model 2440 LA battery charger required minimal customization to meet the requirements of the Expresso lift2move application.
“The real benefit of the Mascot battery charger is its superior charging method that ensures an exemplary battery life, coupled with our support for customization to meet the customer’s needs,” said Ralf Flickinger, Sales Manager at Mascot.
“The selection of Mascot’s battery charging solution ensures we deliver easy-to-use, innovative and reliable products that fulfil our and our customer’s quality expectations,” said Maximilian Kuehn, Field Sales Team Leader at Expresso. “Furthermore, during these times of uncertainty in the supply chain, our long relationship and direct interaction with the Mascot team contributes to keeping production going and delivering on time.”
While the battery charger is only part of a larger application, its quality and simplicity of use are core to the lift2move solution. Thanks to a close working relationship, a range of technically advanced power solutions, and the flexibility to customize to meet unique customer needs, Mascot remains a key partner in supporting Expresso’s philosophy of supporting the well-being of personnel in their goods handling needs.
For more than 60 years Expresso has supported customers worldwide with solutions for handling valuable and heavy goods. Working in close cooperation with our customers, we develop high-quality manual and powered transport equipment and goods handling solutions focused on supporting the health of our customer's personnel. Visit https://www.expresso-group.com/en/company/expresso-deutschland-gmbh/ for more information.