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How one Canadian company is making forklifts greener


August 12, 2019  


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Consumers are increasingly hitting the “purchase” button on virtual shopping carts, creating a higher demand for massive warehouses and distribution centres that are buzzing with conveyor belts, pallet jacks and forklifts.

Most of those forklifts run on either combustion engines or lead-acid batteries, both of which can produce byproducts potentially harmful to the environment.

That is why Export Development Canada (EDC) and RBC have announced their support for Stromcore Energy Inc., a Canadian company producing emissions-free clean technology in the form of lithium-ion battery systems adaptable to any forklift brand or class.

“Most of our competition is from the United States, and there’s no way we’d have been able to grow to meet customer demand and remain competitive without EDC’s support,” Stromcore’s chief business officer Max Vidricaire says, adding that most of Stromcore’s sales are exports since the company launched four years ago.

Already, about 60 per cent of the forklift fleet in North America is electric, but almost all of those – approximately 99 per cent – are using lead-acid batteries, so there’s a lot of room for growth.

“Our mission is to make 100 per cent of the forklift fleet electric and help transition the industry from lead-acid batteries traditionally used in forklifts,” says Vidricaire. “Those batteries aren’t as efficient as lithium-ion – they don’t allow the vehicle to drive as long, taking time from the workers’ day to replace batteries – and often use metals that can be harmful to the environment.”

The hesitancy he and his colleagues have noticed from those organizations still relying on combustion engines stems primarily from the fear of lost productivity and the inability of a battery-operated forklift to keep up with demand – a real problem Vidricaire says Stromcore’s 24/7 runtime lithium-ion batteries mitigate.

The (US)$600,000 bonding facility announced today, to support Stromcore’s working capital needs, isn’t the first time EDC and RBC have partnered in support of the company.

At the early 11-month mark of the company’s life, the two came together to provide Stromcore an operating line of credit based on strong management information systems, the relevant previous experience of management and strong orders in hand from well-established customers. Since then, EDC and RBC have together provided solutions to help free up capital.

Since then, the company’s sales have more than tripled in as many years.

“Stromcore is a fantastic example of an innovative Canadian cleantech company that has the keys to exporting success but requires some support that EDC is uniquely positioned to provide,” said Dan Mancuso, EDC’s senior vice-president of financing and investments. “EDC is pleased to be a part of supporting Stromcore’s international growth by providing them with financial solutions they need to grow and compete globally.”