Glencore improves forklift safety with proximity detection system

ELOshield installed on a forklift.
ELOKON’s ELOshield kit installed on a forklift. | Source: ELOKON

Glencore, a global leader in commodity trading and mining, says it has reduced safety incidents in a Rhode Island recycling facility with technology from ELOKON, Inc. Glencore deployed the company’s ELOshield proximity detection system for forklifts. 

In Glencore’s Rhode Island facility, 35 employees work on shredding electronic materials, reducing particle size, and preparing samples for selling and refining at the Flencore recycling facility. The complexity of this process, combined with the high volume of forklift traffic and the close proximity of pedestrians in a small environment, presented safety challenges that required a proactive, technical solution. 

The company said it chose ELOshield to retrofit its forklifts due to the system’s advanced warning capabilities, especially in areas with limited visibility. 

“Since we installed ELOshield, we haven’t had any significant incidents involving forklifts,” said Juan Carlos Molines, plant manager, Glencore. “The system has increased everyone’s awareness and hazard perception, making our facility much safer.”

ELOKON is a developer of automated forklift and fleet management systems. The Tornesch, Germany-based company serves over 4,250 customers around the world. The company says its ELOshield proximity detection system reduces risk of lift truck-pedestrian accidents. 

The product uses ultra-wideband proximity detection to warn forklift drivers when pedestrians, objects, or other vehicles are too close. The system also warns pedestrians with audible, visual, and vibration alerts. It has two safety zones, “warning” and “protection,” that are customizable in size and shape. 

Glencore says ELOshield ensures employee safety

Glencore equipped all of its forklifts and personnel, including visitors, with ELOshield. The company says ELOKON’s technology has helped it to keep up with the quickly changing electronics recycling process. 

Forklift-related accidents were a notable concern for Glencore. In 2021, an unfortunate incident occurred between an employee and a forklift. There were no injuries, but the incident made it clear to Glencore that it needed better safety measures and technology to prevent incidents like this in the future. 

“From the start, it was clear that Glencore was fully committed to the safety of its workers,” said Mark Stanton, ELOKON Inc. president and general manager. “With so many forklifts and employees working in close proximity, being able to keep all parties alert and aware at all times is of utmost importance. That’s what Glencore gets with ELOshield.”

Glencore started with initial trials of ELOshield, which proved successful and led to a full-scale implementation. The company said the system increases safety awareness and hazard recognition among employees, quickly becoming an integral part of daily operations.  

The company plans to install more ELOshield systems, focusing on high-risk areas, moving forward. Glencore was also considering integrating speed regulation features to further enhance safety. Other Glencore facilities are also exploring implementing similar safety measures. 

According to ABI Research shipments of autonomous lift trucks will double from 2024 to 2025. One reason for this is a declining workforce in industrial settings, which is forcing companies to consider adopting automated industrial trucks to conduct repetitive put-away and shunting activities.

Written by

Automated Warehouse Staff