Vedanta Aluminium inks pact with GEAR India for electric forklifts

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 05 Jan 2022


Vedanta’s Rahul Sharma and GEAR India’s Varun Chopra with the electric forklift.

Vedanta Aluminium Business (Vedanta), one of India’s largest producer of aluminium and value-added products, has signed an agreement with GEAR (Gemini Equipment and Rentals) India, to deploy one of the largest fleets of lithium-ion battery-powered electric forklifts, which it claims make it the first company in the Indian aluminium industry to undertake such an initiative.

Vedanta will commission 23 e-forklifts in a phased manner over the next few months at its aluminium smelter in Jharsuguda, Odisha, which is one of the world’s largest single-location aluminium smelters. The company says substituting diesel-fuelled forklifts with its EV counterpartner will help reduce diesel consumption by more than 250,000 litres annually, thereby ensuring GHG (greenhouse gas) emission savings of nearly 690 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

At present, Vedanta Aluminium operates a large fleet of forklifts for finished goods handling and material movement among others. The new e-forklifts will help maximise productivity of operations by enabling longer working cycles via rapid charging. The partners say the lithium-ion batteries being used by the e-forklift don’t need to be frequently changed and have a substantially longer life than conventional lead-acid batteries, while being virtually maintenance-free, as they are completely sealed.

The forklifts make use of the cutting-edge ‘Smart Fleet Management’ uses IoT (Internet of Things) technology to integrate the data collected by intelligent terminals and provide Vedanta Aluminium insights on a real-time basis with respect to forklift speed, access to operate, collision avoidance, optimisation analysis for operational efficiency and equipment maintenance, among others. Further, these e-forklifts are equipped with forward and reverse cameras, ensuring complete visibility to the operators, red-zone light and blue spotlights that create a safe operating zone around the forklift, as well as automatic deceleration mechanism while turning, for enhanced safety. 

Rahul Sharma, CEO – Aluminium Business, Vedanta said, “Vedanta Aluminium is committed to achieving Net Zero Carbon emissions by 2050. Our partnership with GEAR to deploy one of India’s largest and most advanced electric forklift fleets, is in line with our endeavour towards leveraging the power of innovation and technology to make our operations future-ready. In addition to reducing carbon footprint, this initiative uses cloud computing to provide real-time analytics to enhance productivity and further bolster our people’s safety.”

Varun Chopra, executive chairman, GEAR India, added, “Vedanta Aluminium’s endeavour to replace fossil-fuelled heavy vehicles with technologically-advanced lithium-ion forklifts at such a mammoth scale is a praiseworthy move. It is our privilege to be Vedanta’s partner in this pioneering venture, which will go a long way towards decarbonising their industrial vehicle fleet. This will serve as an inspiration for the Indian manufacturing industry to explore emerging technology solutions for achieving their Net Zero vision.”

Founded in 2007, GEAR is a leading warehousing/intralogistics material handling equipment (MHE) rental service providers.

Vedanta Aluminium Business says it is India’s largest manufacturer of aluminium, which produces half of India’s aluminium i.e., 1.97 million tonnes in FY21. It is a leader in value-added aluminium products that find critical applications in core industries.