Vedanta inks deal with GEAR India to deploy battery-powered electric forklifts fleets

Rahul Sharma (Vedanta) and  Varun Chopra (GEAR)

Vedanta Aluminium Business, has signed an agreement with GEAR (Gemini Equipment and Rentals Private Limited) India, to deploy the largest fleets of lithium-ion battery-powered electric forklifts, becoming the first in Indian aluminium industry to undertake such an initiative.

The company shall commission 23 such 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.

Substituting diesel-fuelled forklifts with this green fleet will reduce diesel consumption by more than 2.5 lakh litres annually, thereby ensuring GHG (greenhouse gas) emission savings of nearly 690 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

The company in a statement said that it currently operates a large fleet of forklifts for finished goods handling, material movement, etc.

The new lithium-ion forklifts will help maximise productivity of operations by enabling longer working cycles via rapid charging. What’s unique about the lithium-ion is that they avoid the hassles of frequent battery change and have a substantially longer life than conventional lead-acid batteries, while being virtually maintenance-free, as they are completely sealed.

These forklifts make use of the cutting-edge ‘Smart Fleet Management’ system to help ensure the highest levels of safety at 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 with respect to forklift speed, access to operate, 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 light and blue spotlights that create a safe operating zone around the forklift, as well as automatic deceleration mechanism while turning, for enhanced safety. 

Speaking about the partnership, Rahul Sharma, CEO – Aluminium Business, Vedanta Limited, said, “Vedanta Aluminium is committed to achieving Net Zero Carbon emissions by 2050. Our partnership with GEAR to deploy one of ’s largest and most advanced electric forklift fleets, is in line with our endeavour towards leveraging the 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 of 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 decarbonizing 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.”

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