“The machine has lived up to expectations.” Henrik Brodin Business Development Director, Södra
Södra is Sweden’s largest forest owner association and an international forest industry group with operations based on processing its members’ forest products.The company has three business areas: Södra Skog, which purchases forest products from members and delivers them to Södra’s mills as well as providing forestry services; Södra Wood, which produces sawn timber and timber building systems in addition to offering pellets, wood shavings and other by-products of wood raw material; and Södra Cell, one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of pulp from its mills at Värö, Mörrum and Mönsterås.Sodra has implemented the first electric forklift in its fleet at Värö. The Kalmar ECG150 is the first forklift of its kind to be used in the Swedish forest industry.
Perhaps more than any other industry, forestry has an incentive to care for the environment. Södra, for example, has distributed almost 6,000 bee hotels to its members to ensure the survival of bees and the continued pollination of fruit and berry trees and bushes.But the company’s future goals are even more ambitious. By 2020, Södra’s production facilities should be fossil-free and by 2030, its transports should no longer use fossil fuels.Södra has previously explored the use of biodiesel. HVO100 (hydrogenated vegetable oil) is a synthetic version of regular diesel and since it can be used in diesel-powered vehicles, the switch can be made easily and quickly. HVO100 releases 90% less greenhouse gas emissions compared to regular diesel. However, it is not an ideal solution for powering forklift trucks. Firstly, the company has to buy it, so it is a cost and a dependency. Secondly, it emits particles negative to the local work environment.
In February 2019, Södra began testing the Kalmar ECG150-1200 at its mill in Väröbacka. Electric machines with lower lifting capacity have been used in the past, but this is the first time a fully-electric forklift with a lifting capacity of 15 ton has been used by a forestry company in Sweden.“The transport industry is transitioning from using diesel as a universal solution to using many different fossil fuel-free alternatives,” says Henrik Brodin, Business Development Director Södra. “Thanks to our previous investments in electricity generation, we are in a very favourable position to switch to electrical operation at our facilities. The same energy used to run our facilities is also running our machines, which means we can become self-sufficient in energy to our forklifts.”As long as the facility is operational it will produce the electricity to power the forklifts.
The ECG150 is used to lift board packages from the dryer to middle storage, which then go into post-treatment to finalise the product.“The machine runs on a two shift basis with permanent nights, so it operates around the clock,” explains Christer Dahlberg, Södra Vehicle Workshop Co-ordinator. “My first question was whether we would be able to manage and maintain production, but the machine has lived up to expectations.”The Kalmar ECG150 also has a lower total cost of ownership than similar machines powered by diesel or HVO100