Electrically charged battery could modernize the use of lifting equipment

  • Published
  • By London Prince
  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

Capt. Jonathan Soeun, Rapid Capabilities Development Branch logistics liaison officer for Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Florida, has pioneered a new tool that replaces all-terrain hydraulic systems with an electrically charged battery for powerlifting and lowering forklift systems that are up to 10,000 pounds.

With a goal to modernize outdated Air Force equipment and systems, Soeun constructed ElectroLift to increase efficiency for the operation of lifting equipment. His idea made him one of eight finalist in this year’s AFIMSC’s Innovation Rodeo.

We asked him a few questions about his idea, being a finalist and his thoughts on innovation and empowering Airmen and Guardians.

Q: What is the name of your idea? 

Q: Please briefly describe your idea:
ElectroLift will conduct a formal study and submit a final report quantifying efficiencies gained by replacing hydraulic systems with an electrically-charged battery powered lift and lower system on existing 10,000-pound capacity all-terrain forklifts commonly used across the Department of the Air Force.

Q. How will your idea help the Air Force deliver installation and mission support capabilities, improve installations or support families in a better way? 
Assuming desired levels of capability and cost efficiency are proven through this study, significant monetary and non-monetary benefits could be generated by scaling this technology across the DAF Total Force inventory of 1,127 10,000-pound capacity all-terrain forklifts.

Q. How does it feel to be selected as a finalist for the 2023 Innovation Rodeo?
It’s a great honor to be a finalist. I know that this is not the most attractive innovation, but there’s a lot to be said and done when we look to modernize older Air Force equipment and systems. Making the smallest tweaks with cutting edge technology has the potential to increase efficiency and save money that could be used elsewhere. 

Q. As a finalist, you’ll be learning from leading innovators, collaborating with industry partners and networking with peers, senior leaders, and innovation teams. What are you hoping to gain from that experience?
A lot of innovators will hear the term “valley of death” when their innovation hits a wall. I want to understand how to navigate out of that valley, where to look, which rocks to flip over or if I need to poke a bear.

Q: Why do you think innovation and a culture change that empowers Airmen and Guardians is important in today’s Air and Space Force?
In today’s Air and Space Forces, innovation and culture change are vital to staying ahead of emerging threats, leveraging cutting-edge tech and maintaining a competitive edge. From a quality-of-life perspective, a lot is being asked of Airmen and Guardians these days. By empowering Airmen and Guardians, there is a potential return on investment, giving time, savings and more back to the service member. 

Q: Is there anything you would like to add?
This has been a collaborative effort and I’d like to thank the team, stakeholders and AFIMSC for acknowledging the merit in this project.

The 2023 AFIMSC Innovation Rodeo finals will be held July 21 in San Antonio. For more information, visit https://www.afimsc.af.mil/innovationrodeo/