All Stories
5 min

Leading the way for tomorrow’s intralogistics

Our company name comes from the language of the Masai. For this nomadic East African cultural goup, ‘Kion(gozi)’ means “leader”. In the intralogistics industry, being the leader means you must have the edge. We work tirelessly to keep having the edge; helped by our strength in innovation and our brands’ expertise in developing mold-breaking products.


Linde Material Handling recently provided a shining example of the KION Group’s strength in innovation. Its new generation of counterbalance trucks represents the future of workhorse forklift trucks with a load capacity ranging from 2 to 3.5 metric tons. The Linde H20 to H35 models have been re-engineered from scratch using insights gleaned from extensive data gathered during “truck clinics”, where nearly 1,000 forklift operators and fleet managers from 26 countries spent hours testing the trucks and expressing wishes, covering everything from steps to service access. “We listened carefully to our customers and translated their feedback into specifications for our developers,” says Stefan Prokosch, a senior vice president for industrial counterbalance trucks product management at Linde Material Handling. Though it provided valuable insight, the customer input also presented several challenges to the developers. One of the most important was preparing the new generation of trucks for the demands of Industry 4.0.

Well connected, well prepared

And the developers delivered: Thanks to connectivity as a standard feature, truck data can be sent to a central cloud server which is accessible to both customers and sales partners. The trucks can also receive and process data. Thus, in the future, it will be possible to update software ‘over the air’ or activate functions such as the load weight display. “Throughout their lifecycle, we will be able to adapt the trucks to changing customer requirements, including to ones that we don’t even know about today,” explains Prokosch. This connectivity is already ushering in a new era in servicing, with truck health management, remote diagnostics and predictive maintenance all helping to maximize uptime and minimize costs.

This fresh approach – essential for such a significant innovation – has been taken at the level of customer requirements as well as at internal processes. In terms of design, the model series heralds a new era at Linde Material Handling as well. Never again will there be a separation between trucks with internal combustion engines and those powered by electric drives. All new counterbalance trucks with load capacities ranging from 1.2 to 8 metric tons will now be based on a shared modular design. “For all applications, we want to offer our customers trucks that are equally capable, regardless of their drive type,” says Prokosch. So, not only is Linde Material Handling bringing greater efficiency to its own production processes, but it is also making the transition to sustainable drive systems easier for its customers.

Record speeds and greater range for electric trucks

STILL, KION’s other premium brand in its Industrial Trucks & Services business segment, has opted for an electric drive in its new RX 60-25/35 models. Here, the developers have succeeded in increasing the power of the drive system by 40 percent, while also improving its energy efficiency. It has been achieved by means of a new drive concept featuring two motors and shorter power transmission distances. Thanks to an active cooling function, the developers have also made it possible for the motors to run permanently in sprint mode. Thus, the new models have maximum acceleration and can achieve speeds of up to 21 km/h. The lifting speeds have also been increased. All this means that the RX 60-25/35 has the highest handling capacity in the load category up to 3.5 metric tons, an impressive result.

Clearly, KION Group’s capacity to innovate is spread across the business and is constantly raising the bar for the entire industry, for the good of customers and the environment. “STILL’s new electric forklift truck series is setting new standards in electric-powered industrial trucks,” notes Thomas A. Fischer, Chief Sales Officer for Marketing & Service at STILL. “We are driving the trend toward zero-emissions electric forklift trucks and helping our customers to implement their green logistics strategies and meet their sustainability targets.” And customers do not have to make any compromises in their efforts to minimize their carbon footprint. The RX 60 offers superb overall performance which is on par with trucks powered by diesel and gas. The range is also outstanding; the trucks can easily complete a hard 3-shift operation without needing to have their battery changed. “The new performance specifications of the RX 60 model series are so good that there’s no longer any reason not to use electric forklift trucks,” says a confident Fischer. And the German trade publication, “fördern + heben” has also come to a clear conclusion following a comprehensive testing of the new forklift truck series: "For the first time in our testing history, we have recorded productivity values in an electric counterbalance truck that exceed those of comparable trucks with a combustion engine that we have tested."

“We are driving the trend toward zero-emissions electric forklift trucks and helping our customers to implement their green logistics strategies and meet their sustainability targets.”

Thomas A. Fischer

Maximum customer proximity thanks to micro-fulfillment

KION also leads the way in shaping the future of goods handling in e-commerce. A prime example is automation specialist Dematic’s latest innovation, which is tailored specifically to high-throughput retailers. Its new micro-fulfillment system gives them key benefits in two dimensions: time and space. Firstly, it enables even complex online orders and shopping carts to be processed within a maximum of 60 minutes with no human involvement at all. Secondly, because of its compact design, it takes up just a little over 900 sq. meters (or 9,700 sq. feet) of space and thus can even be used in urban areas, tacked on to the back of a store or supermarket, or as a separate micro-warehouse in the city. Located this close to the end consumer or the places where they collect their packages brings down delivery times thereby increasing both customer satisfaction and the profitability of online orders. “Our flexible Dematic micro-fulfillment system meets the challenges of retailers both now and in the future,” says Hasan Dandashly, President & CEO at Dematic, adding, “By making it possible to process orders in close proximity to the end consumer, we are setting entirely new standards for omnichannel sales.”

Consumer electronics, sports and clothing as well as food and retail industries all stand to gain from this new Dematic innovation. In the food sector, the system can be adapted to work in different temperature ranges, allowing even frozen products to be stored and picked without any issues. Another of the many advantages of this highly adaptable micro-fulfillment solution is its ability to connect to Dematic’s iQ software platform. It gives customers full data control across all stores and fulfillment and distribution centers and means they can seamlessly integrate their new micro-fulfillment facility into their existing supply chain management and enterprise resource planning systems, even if it is in the heart of a city.

All these exciting new products show how KION Group brings together exceptional professionals across the globe with a truly innovative mindset. Their strength lies in listening to their customers, understanding their problems, taking the initiative and finding advanced solutions for complex requirements.

In different ways and in different industries, they are ensuring that customers always have an edge in their respective markets. The Group uses its strength in innovation to continually set new standards in the industry, as an ever-reliable ‘Kiongozi’ in a fast-changing world.

"By making it possible to process orders in close proximity to the end consumer, we are setting entirely new standards for omnichannel sales.”

Hasan Dandashly