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Vedanta Aluminium commissions India’s largest fleet of e-forklifts powered by LiB

Electric forklift (Source: Vedanta Aluminium)

Vedanta Aluminium has announced that it has commissioned India's largest electric fleet of 27 forklifts, powered by lithium-ion batteries. Done in partnership with GEAR (Gemini Equipment and Rentals Private Limited) India, this sets the ball rolling on Vedanta Aluminium's plans to decarbonize its industrial vehicle fleet. All 27 forklifts arrived last month and are being operationalized at the company's aluminium smelter at Jharsuguda, in Odisha, which is the world's largest single-location aluminium smelter, ex-China.

Further, as a testimony to its endeavours towards increasing gender diversity in core manufacturing operations, Vedanta Aluminium is recruiting and training women to operate these top-of-the-line forklifts. The company has previously hired transgender employees as forklift operators in its aluminium operations at BALCO in Chhattisgarh.

These electric forklifts make use of the cutting-edge 'Smart Fleet Management' system to help ensure the highest levels of safety at the site. The Smart Fleet Management system uses IoT (Internet of Things) technology to integrate the data collected by intelligent terminals and provide Vedanta Aluminium insights on a real-time basis concerning forklift speed, access to the operation, and collision avoidance, optimization analysis for operational efficiency, and equipment maintenance, among others. Further, these electric forklifts are equipped with forward and reverse cameras, ensuring complete visibility to the operators, red-zone lights, and blue spotlights that create a safe operating zone around the forklift, as well as an automatic deceleration mechanism while turning, for enhanced safety.

Many other advantages of this 'green fleet' include:

  • Reduction in diesel consumption by more than 2.5 lakh litres annually
  • GHG (greenhouse gas) emission savings of nearly 690 tonnes of CO2 equivalent
  • Increase in productivity of operations through longer working cycles via rapid charging
    No hassles of frequent battery change, substantially longer life than conventional lead-acid batteries, virtually maintenance-free, as they are completely sealed

Speaking about the deployment of India's largest lithium-ion forklift fleet, Mr. Rahul Sharma, CEO – Aluminium Business, Vedanta Limited, said, "Vedanta, as India's largest producer of aluminium, is committed to our dual objective of producing the best quality of aluminium for our customers while ensuring sustainable development of our business. Excellence in ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) performance forms the bedrock upon which we evolve our business plans. In line with our commitment to achieving Net Zero Carbon by 2050, our partnership with GEAR to deploy one of India's largest and most technologically advanced electric forklift fleets is a vital step in our journey of decarbonizing our industrial vehicle fleet. We are also leveraging this avenue to increase women's participation in core operations by training women drivers to operate these smart forklifts."

Mr. Varun Chopra, Executive Chairman of GEAR India, added, "Vedanta Aluminium's pioneering endeavor to commission India's largest fleet of technologically advanced forklifts undoubtedly inspires the Indian manufacturing industry to explore emerging technology solutions for achieving their sustainable development and Net Zero goals. GEAR, India's leading Material Handling Equipment (MHE) organization, is proud to partner with Vedanta Aluminium in their decarbonization journey."

Author : Debi Dash
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