Electric Knikmops exceeds expectations

Engineering and assembly in Haarlem

When the Geens Brothers decided it was time for an electric Knikmops, one thing was clear: it had to be a real Knikmops, strong and versatile in the familiar format. The Geens Brothers’ company was founded in 1987 and since 1998 they have been producing the popular Knikmops with a strong reputation as an excavator but also as a multifunctional articulated loader with many uses: garden work, earthwork, paving work and use in garden, park and building projects. The company has a clear vision of the future: to produce machines that are zero- or low-emission, which is why the focus is now on the transition from diesel to electric.

Electrification presents challenges

The challenge was to develop an electric version of the successful Knikmops on the basis of the existing chassis, in the standard format, so that the electric Knikmops, like its diesel counterpart, remained easy to transport on a trailer. In addition, it was desired that the Knikmops could be used throughout the working day on a single load. It is precisely these requirements that mean that the standard batteries available on the market are inadequate. Not powerful enough to last the whole day, or too big to fit in the Knikmops. Practical tests and projects with various battery suppliers did not produce the desired results.

Intercel makes tailor-made solutions

It was precisely here that Intercel’s expertise in the field of electrification and the manufacture of tailor-made batteries provided the solution. Contact was made via LinkedIn and it became clear that Intercel could offer many options. Both single-phase and three-phase charging is possible (230 Volt or 400 Volt). Intercel is an expert in building tailor-made batteries that fit perfectly within the client’s desired dimensions. In addition, they are more efficient and more powerful than standard batteries of a similar size. Frans Geens, Managing Director of the Gebroeders Geens, says: “Intercel makes a custom-made battery for us, just as we want it. That was not possible with our previous suppliers.”

Perfect customisation

Intercel is also flexible in placing the ports for the charger and can supply matching charging systems and software. This also proved to be very important when designing the electric Knikmops, where space had to be used optimally and efficiency and ease of loading for the user are essential. Frans Geens: “The positioning of the plugs, the software, it was all carried out perfectly.

Intercel makes a custom-made battery for us, just as we want it. That was not possible with our previous suppliers.”

Frans Geens, Knikmops

Joint engineering

Robin Been, sales engineer at Intercel, comments: “We can jointly engineer the final product with the customer. Because we design and make the batteries ourselves, we have the expertise down to the smallest component of the battery.” But it is not only with tailor-made batteries that Intercel distinguishes itself, but also through service, knowledge and commitment. Matthieu Wuyts, technical product developer for the Knikmops, says: “When we have a question, we get a very quick answer. Intercel thinks along with us and quickly comes up with a suitable solution.”

Focus on sustainability and energy transition

When we visited Mr Geens at his beautiful home in Heenegouwen, Belgium, it became clear that he is also personally committed to sustainability. Solar panels, a heat pump, insulating glass and a fast charger are some of the future-proof applications that he has managed to realise in his house. The Geens brothers are also focusing on sustainability and electrification in their own business operations. For example, they have a (partially) electric vehicle fleet, including a Tesla Model 3, an electric Kangoo and a hybrid car, and solar panels on the roof provide a large part of the production hall’s energy needs. The focus is on sustainability and the transition from diesel to electric. Managing director Frans Geens says: “Our vision is to start making low- and zero-emission machines in the future.” The Knikmops is now electric and the next will be the Rolmops.

Performance exceeds expectations

After the construction of the first ‘high performance’ electric Knikmops, it was time for a practical test: earthwork in an abbey, where an electric Knikmops ran for a month on trial. Silence and no emissions were the fathers’ requirements, not only because they appreciate peace and quiet, but also because some of the work had to be done inside. Frans Geens says: “It did that perfectly. Everyone was very enthusiastic about the work.” One anecdote even says that the driver forgot to charge the Knikmops in the evening. He only found this out the next morning. He expected to grind to a halt fairly quickly, but nothing could be further from the truth: he was able to work the whole day to the full. Working two full days, whereas one full day was the minimum intended, means that you can justifiably say: the electric Knikmops exceeds expectations!

Typical Intercel: thinking along, service and customised electrification

Do you also want to electrify a diesel-driven garden, park or construction machine, or do you have another challenge that requires a battery? Intercel is the partner for developing a tailor-made battery and matching it with the right battery to realize the electrification together.

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