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Vedanta Aluminium commissions India’s largest fleet of electric lithium-ion forklifts



Vedanta Aluminium, India’s largest producer of aluminium, 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 operationalised​ ​at the company’s aluminium smelter at Jharsuguda in Odisha which is the world’s largest single-location aluminium smelter, ex-China.

Further, as 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 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.

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; and no hassles of frequent battery change, a​ ​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, Vedanta Limited CEO – Aluminium Business Rahul Sharma said, “Vedanta, as India’s largest producer of aluminium, is committed to its dual objective of producing the best quality of aluminium for customers while ensuring sustainable development of its business. Excellence in ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) performance forms the bedrock upon which we evolve our business plans. In line with our commitment of 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 strong 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.”

 “Vedanta Aluminium’s pioneering endeavour to commission India’s largest fleet of technologically advanced forklifts undoubtedly serves as an inspiration for 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) organisation, is proud to partner Vedanta Aluminium in their decarbonization journey,” said Varun Chopra, Executive Chairman of GEAR India.

GEAR prides itself on providing efficient and cost effective MHE Rental and Sale solutions for tasks such as stacking, lifting and moving, facilitating its customers to focus singularly on their core business for better productivity.Enabling customers in their​ ​evolving ESG journey is a key focus area for GEAR.

Vedanta Aluminium, a business of Vedanta Limited, is India’s largest producer of aluminium, manufacturing more than half of India’s aluminium i.e., 2.26 million tonnes in FY22. It is a leader in value-added aluminium products that find critical applications in core industries. Vedanta Aluminium ranks 4th in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) 2021 world rankings for aluminium industry, a reflection of its sustainable development practices. With its world-class aluminium smelters, alumina refinery and power plants in India, the company fulfils its mission of spurring emerging applications of aluminium as the ‘Metal of the Future’ for a greener tomorrow.

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