There is a substantial increase of battery operated trucks

There is a substantial increase of battery operated trucks


Godrej Material Handling is the India’s largest manufacturer of forklift trucks, they offer an extensive range of forklifts, which include electric and diesel counterbalanced forklifts up to 16 tonne capacity, warehouse trucks, and specialised trucks for specific applications. The company also design and manufacture accessories to address a wide range of handling applications besides offering accessories made by specialists. Neville Mevawala, the Head of Sales & Marketing at Godrej Material Handling, discusses with Divya Shetty the significance of material handling in the textile industry and sheds light on recent trends.

How does the material handling equipment industry contribute to the growth and efficiency of the textile industry?

Indian Textile industry is one of the oldest industries in the Indian economy which dates back to several centuries. The textile industry was labour intensive and is still one of the largest user of labour in the country. As the technology and scale increased in the textile industry, it made India competitive in the global scale which led to increase in mechanisation for the efficient handling of material. From handling of cotton to ginning to spinning, dying and weaving, material handling equipment has contributed to the faster movement of material within the factories, warehouses and during shipment. It increased productivity and facilitated handling of material with ease and safety. The material handling equipment like forklift trucks helped to utilise vertical space up to 6 metres, which was not possible manually. The material handling equipment has contributed to increased safety, productivity and efficiency which helped to decrease the logistics cost and will help India double their apparel exports in FY26 compared to FY21.

What specific types of material handling equipment are commonly used in the textile industry, and how do they facilitate various processes?

The textile industry used diesel forklifts and tow trucks for their various operations starting from ginning, spinning, weaving and final dispatch. Over a period, the industry has moved to electric (battery) forklift trucks up to 3 tonne capacity which facilitates movement of pallets and bales with the use of bale clamp attachment. The battery equipment eliminates smoke particles and reduces probability of fire as cotton is inflammable. The other advantage with electric forklifts is its lower cost of operation and maintenance. We have been providing our equipment to all textile companies in the country.

Tow trucks are used to carry material from one location to another within the factory premises by towing multiple trollies.

What are some key challenges faced by the material handling equipment industry when catering to the unique requirements of the textile industry?

The old textile units had floors which were not very suitable for battery forklifts. But new factories are coming up with world class infrastructure, which makes battery trucks a viable solution with all advantages over diesel trucks. The challenges faced are long distance movement, pushing of bales while stuffing, outside roads within the factory, paving a challenge to battery trucks. But with the advancement of battery truck technology in terms of AC motors, larger diameter tires, higher run time batteries and various safety features like Blue and Red light for pedestrian safety, it has helped to overcome these challenges.

How does Godrej MHE differentiate itself from competitors in providing tailored material handling solutions for the textile industry?

Textile industry has been a focused sector for us, having been a key contributor to our sales. The indigenously developed AC motors coupled with gear box in our newly launched UNO series provides higher capacities of load at higher heights, and also facilitates to provide higher capacity to pick bales for loading and unloading. For higher duty cycle, we are the only player who can provide higher capacity batteries, thus eliminating additional battery which is a safety concern during replacement. Our BRAVO series 3-wheel and 4-wheel battery operated trucks operate in tight aisles and provide performance equivalent to that of diesel trucks. The biometric access system ensures there is no unauthorised driving of lift trucks in odd shifts where the probability of accidents is the highest.

Godrej Material Handling recently launched Reach Trucks which can stack material up to 12m by using less than 3.5 m aisle. This becomes very handy for apparels and finished goods.

Our first tow truck is launched specifically to cater to textile industry in the North. Over the years based on the feedback received, it has become the choice for the textile industry in India. Other than products, our after sales support in terms of spare parts, maintenance contracts ensures high uptime to avoid any loss of production due to unplanned breakdowns.

Recent trends in Material Handling Equipment (MHE) in textile industry.

There is a substantial increase of battery operated trucks with standard forks and attachments such as bale-clamp and ram attachment. The ram attachment is used in textile and carpet industry to handle long rolls.

What are the criteria for a perfect MHE?

There is nothing termed as a perfect MHE, rather the equipment needs to be suitable as per the application study. The application study done in terms of usage, floor, size and weight of material, type of material is essential to select the right equipment. Proper operator training is also critical to ensure that the equipment delivers what it is meant for. For instance, we also have side-loaders in our offerings which are used to handle long textile rolls along the length of forklift trucks, thus saving one-third the space while moving and stacking material.

Can you share with us about the i-report app recently launched under Godrej RenTRUST?

To enhance safety in material handling operations in India, we launched the i-Report app. This is India’s first-ever safety application for material handling operations. The app will help reduce the gap in the industry’s safety policies and standards by offering a 360-degree safety solution through remote and real-time incident reporting, audit, training, and consultation to their customers and business partners. The Safety App will be available in over 200 locations across 22 states and will be manned 24 X 7, by 1000+ trained operators.

We have planned to invest Rs 100 crore in capital assets over the next three years as we foresee a significant surge in material handling requirements across the country. In Q4 of FY23, Godrej RenTRUST secured orders deploying equipment to esteemed clients across multiple industries such as shipping, 3PL, ecommerce, FMCG, manufacturing and F&B, demonstrating the company’s commitment to long-term partnerships.