With the recent tests of the BT LWE 130 and the Jungheinrich EJE M15, we already indicated that there is a clear trend for compact electrically powered pallet trucks as a serious alternative to the hand pallet truck. The Chinese manufacturer EP Equipment goes one step further and brings the even more compact and lighter truck to the EPT 12-EZ. Can it handle our test?
We were a little bit sceptical when we first saw the EP Equipment EPT (Electric Pallet Truck) 12-EZ (Easy). A hand pallet truck with something extra, that was clear, but is it strong enough for smooth performance during our pallet truck test with weights increasing to over 1,000 kg? Do we have to set ourselves on a longer test day, as he will lift slower, accelerate slower and drive slower? At least we do not have to pull and lift the pallets manually, that’s already something.
How much we were wrong. Even though with its 130kg he weighs less than half of his opponents, and he is simpler constructed, the performance of the EPT 12-EZ is of a size. The acceleration, driving, lifting … you do not believe it if you do not try it yourself. With or without strain, the small muscleman is just as smooth, and sometimes even faster than its competition. The speeds decrease only marginally if there is a heavy load and the energy consumption is extra favourable due to the lower self-weight. The handling on our standard test course convinces, but we want to see more.
At the test location at a logistics service provider and transport company we can join a distribution trip in the city centre of Groningen. How does the truck stand on the tailgate? Can he also take a sidewalk? What if the ride is over streets and cobblestone? Also these tasks, the 12-EZ passes with shine. We drive across the Grote Markt over a variety of pavements, and even inside a tight shopping store environment he is feeling comfortable. The strength is in the combination of the very compact size, the open character around the drive wheel and the low self-weight.
The short tail lift of the small truck usually does not accommodate a conventional electric truck, but for the 12-EZ there is enough space. He takes as less space as the hand pallet truck with which the distribution driver previously did his job. Our assistant tester indicates that he does not want to work without his new help anymore.
The EPT 12-EZ is also simple to use. He has a magnetic contact key that must be present to be able start the pallet truck. The magnet power is a little on the tight side, so you can tap the key of his place. This issue is also recognized by EP because there is a new plug-in variant, with USB function. This key contains the manual and other information of the truck.
On the tiller head we find the usual butterfly switches for the direction of travel and driving speed. As long as you give it full speed, the truck follows you strikingly quiet, smooth and quick. At half power, the driving character is a bit “wavy” and that’s promised to be solved by EP.Also on the tiller head, there are two push buttons: one for lifting and one for the claxon, which makes a clear beep. Lowering is done with a hand operated lever, just like a hand pallet truck. Both lifting and descending, everything is perfectly manageable and predictable. The truck comes standard with tandem fork rolls and forks of 1150 x 150 mm. A nose wheel in the fork tip is missing, as well as an indication bar for the safe insertion depth to assure safe entry of euro pallets crosswise. These remarks are listed on the manufacturer’s promise list. The safety switch on the tiller head works fine as well as the electromagnetic brake. On the display we read the amount of battery discharge, as well as the hours and possible fault codes.
The power of the 12-EZ is according to the manufacturer in some novelties upon which patent are claimed. For example, the hydraulic unit consists of one closed integrated component, and the tiller safety switch is completely contactless and insensitive to dust and other contamination. Another special feature is the construction of the drive wheel. If the tread is worn, you do not have to change a complete wheel. With six bolts, the rim with vulcollan cover is easy to disassemble and replace. The hub and drive unit stay in place.
The pump and drive engine get their power from a li-ion battery that is clicked as a handy package with a handle in the truck. The battery weighs 3.7 kg, can be charged in 2.5 hours and can be recharged any time. Our consumption measurement indicates that a full battery will provide a practical service life of 3.5 hours if you use it like an industrial electric pallet truck. This also includes time to read the order, scan or put a sticker on and remove or apply foil. In that case, he moves about 234 pallets and that’s not small and probably not even the purpose of this truck. In fact, with our calculation we are not even giving the 12-EZ all the credit it deserves. We are assuming 80% discharge of the battery, and that is actually too little for a li-ion unit that can and may be discharged deeper.
Our conclusion is clear. The EP Equipment 12-EZ has more in store than you see and think at first sight. All in all, the small, compact and light pallet truck has left a very convincing impression in this test. He is stable and powerful enough for loads up to 1200kg, works smoothly and quietly and is extra friendly due to the handy and completely maintenance-free Li-ion battery. The newcomer offers a lot of potential in both warehouses, distribution and retail. The cost, according to EP Equipment, will vary by dealer, but remains below € 2,000 including battery and charger.
Text and pictures: Andersom Testing, Theo Egberts
Tags:Andersom test, Andersom testing, Electric pallet truck, EP, EP EPT 12EZ, EP Equipment, EPT, EPT 12EZ, Test