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KION Group invests in AI-based energy management platform for greater sustainability

ION Group invests in AI-based energy management platforms for greater sustainability
  • Intralogistics Group KION acquires a stake of just under 20 percent in ifesca GmbH, a specialist in software for the energy industry.
  • The KION Group’s investment in the company comes to around €5 million
  • ifesca’s forecasting software offers customers a one-stop energy management solution

KION GROUP AG, whose intralogistics solutions come with strong green credentials, is acquiring a stake of just under 20 percent in ifesca GmbH, a specialist in software for the energy industry. The Group’s investment, totaling around €5 million, makes it the second-largest shareholder in ifesca.

Founded in 2016 in Ilmenau, Germany, ifesca specializes in digital energy management solutions. This still relatively young company employs a team of 35 people and has developed ifesca.AIVA(R), an innovative 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 is that users are able to make better forecasts. This 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,” explains 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,” says Prokosch in its praise.

“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,” says 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.”

Strategic focus on sustainable energy systems

Under its KION 2027 strategy, the KION Group is placing particular 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. KION’s product portfolio already comprises all manner of drive technologies, from internal combustion engines to lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries, and even fuel cells. Electric drive systems are of particular importance given that the KION Group, through its brand companies, is a leading provider of electric-powered forklift and warehouse trucks. Electric-powered industrial trucks already account for around 87 percent of order intake in the Group’s Industrial Trucks & Services segment. And 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.