KION Group AG has announced it’s acquiring a stake of just under 20 per cent in ifesca GmbH, a specialist in software for the energy industry. The Group’s investment, totalling around €5 million, makes it the second-largest shareholder in ifesca.
Founded in 2016 in Ilmenau, Germany, ifesca specializes in digital energy management solutions. The company employs a team of 35 people and has developed ifesca.AIVA(R), a forecasting software that uses artificial intelligence to help manage energy grids more efficiently in near-real-time. The algorithm-based application learns more quickly the longer it is used, which means that it is continually improving the predictive power and quality of the data.
The end result of the technology is that users are able to make better forecasts. The specialist software has been designed to predict how much energy will be consumed and generated – particularly from renewable sources – and to efficiently manage and optimize production based on the supply and use of energy.
“Thanks to ifesca’s AI-based software, we will be able to offer our customers a complete solution for their energy management needs”, said Stefan Prokosch, Senior Vice President of Brand Management at Linde Material Handling, a subsidiary of the KION Group.
“The platform’s ultra-precise forecasts will allow customers to plan the optimum operating times for their fleets of industrial trucks, to avoid peaks in loading and unloading, and in doing so to significantly reduce their energy costs. The platform also has open interfaces, which means it can be easily and flexibly integrated into existing energy management systems. This adds genuine value for our customers and therefore for us too”.
Under its KION 2027 strategy, the KION Group is placing emphasis on sustainable energy and energy efficiency, as these are topics that it believes will have a significant influence on intralogistics and material handling. The Group’s global research and development activities are focused on the drive technologies “of the future”, with its product portfolio comprising drive technologies, from internal combustion engines to lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries, and even fuel cells.
The company states that electric drive systems are of “particular importance” given that through its brand companies, the KION Group is a provider of electric-powered forklift and warehouse trucks. Electric-powered industrial trucks already account for around 87 per cent of order intake in the Group’s Industrial Trucks & Services segment.
In June of this year, KION subsidiary Linde Material Handling unveiled new state-of-the-art electric forklift truck models (Linde X20 – X35) with a load capacity of 2.5 to 3 tonnes whose power output is comparable with IC trucks driven by internal combustion engines.
“Our goal is to provide optimum support for decision-making processes through our innovative software solutions, particularly in the area of forecasting and optimization as well as related services”, said Sebastian Ritter, CEO of ifesca. “The focus is on ease of use and the intuitive integration of business processes. We are delighted to have found, in KION GROUP AG, a strategic investor for whom our AI-based software will provide huge customer benefit”.
Stay up to date with the most recent automation, computer vision, machine vision and robotics news on MVPro. Read the best stories every Friday with our newsletter.