Irvine, Calif. – Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A., Inc. (TMHU) today launched its electric and diesel tow tractor product line in the U.S. market, designed to meet growing demand within the airline, automotive assembly plants and general warehousing industries. The newly designed Toyota electric tow tractors, available in 3,300- and 4,000-pound drawbar pull capacities, are growing in popularity for ground support equipment (GSE) operations where air quality or meeting government fleet average requirements are a factor. The diesel tow tractors, in 4,400- and 5,500-pound drawbar pull capacities, are tailored to meet the needs of baggage handling and material handling requirements that call for long runs and very high cycle operations. Toyota’s electric and diesel tow tractors were previously made available in the United States market via special order.
“Toyota’s line of electric and diesel tow tractors answer the call from those in the ground support equipment industry seeking high quality, durable and reliable products that provide extremely low costs of operation,” said Shankar Basu, president and CEO of TMHU. “The Toyota tow tractors are built with industrial use in mind, using many components that have been proven in our lift trucks during our 40 years of operation in the U.S.”
Toyota’s new electric tow tractors feature an 80-volt AC drive system that provides multiple benefits, including quicker acceleration, higher top speeds and extended peak operating time maintained throughout the entire shift. A streamlined AC drive motor offers a virtually maintenance-free system by eliminating the design’s need for motor brushes, commutator and a directional contractor.
Toyota’s Controller Area Network (CAN-bus) communication technology offers quicker, more reliable control from the operator to the drive motor with fewer components. The electric tow tractor line boasts the industry-proven MOSFET controller technology, which offers excellent acceleration and top travel speed—loaded or unloaded—as well as smooth speed control. A Power Keep function allows the electric models to maintain their battery charge longer than standard DC-powered tow tractors, helping to increase productivity.
Three forms of regeneration have been built into the design of the electric tow tractors to recover energy for extended battery performance: an accelerator release system (coasting); a shift directional lever from the forward to reverse operations (plug braking); and a brake pedal depression system. To also prevent unnecessary battery drain, an automatic shut-off feature turns the vehicle off after 30 minutes of idle time. An emergency battery disconnect lever has been strategically placed to allow the operator to easily disconnect the battery while sitting in the operator’s seat.
Ergonomic Features Offer Operator Comfort
In response to the strenuous work activities involved for ground support equipment operators, Toyota’s electric tow tractor models are designed with the end user’s comfort in mind.
An ergonomic layout of the operator’s compartment offers enhanced visibility of the meters and gauges. A back-lit, liquid crystal multifunction digital display monitor provides the operator with access to a broad range of programmable functions including: password-protected performance parameters; a time and date feature; parking brake and battery capacity indicators; and a brake fluid and overheating warning system. The strategically placed battery compartment in the electric series is situated low inside the chassis to allow increased rearward visibility to the tow hitch. Toyota’s hydraulic power steering system works to increase operator comfort by preventing shocks and vibration from being transmitted from the ground to the steering wheel.
In order to streamline work operations, a single pin drawbar quick-release hitch is standard and enables the operator to release carts without having to leave the seat, further increasing productivity. Other hitch options are available to meet specific application requirements.
Toyota’s electric tow tractors offer a tight turning radius industrial front axle, making them ideal for operation around airplanes, bag rooms and other ground support equipment.
The diesel tow tractor lineup offers a powerful 2.4 liter Toyota 1DZ-II diesel engine to help overcome the challenges of hauling large loads at high speeds over long distances and up steep ramps and grades. The diesel engine is Tier II emissions compliant and has been specially tailored in response to study statistics that indicate increases in both the amount of material being handled by towing tractors and the overall distance traveled.
Additionally, an optional steel cabin offers greater operator comfort and productivity for working in extreme weather conditions. A single pin drawbar quick-release hitch is standard that enables the operator to release carts without having to leave the seat, further increasing productivity. Other hitch options are available to meet specific application requirements. Designed for exceptional maneuverability and performance, Toyota’s diesel tow tractors effectively balance advanced technology with innovative style.
Durability Operators Can Rely On
For the toughest of worksite applications, Toyota tow tractors feature a rugged unibody design with a bolt on counterweight that ensures the unit can withstand years of heavy use. Items such as inset headlights and high mounted tail lamps for better protection and longer life are provided to keep impact damage to a minimum. To guard against common obstacles in harsh work terrains the power steering cylinder and steering mechanism are mounted within the frame of the vehicle. Toyota’s diesel tow tractors offer a tight turning radius industrial front axle, providing long life to steering components. They are ideal for operation around airplanes, baggage rooms and other ground support equipment.
Toyota will display their line of tow tractors at the premier event for line services, the Aviation Industry Expo, held on March 18-20, 2008 at the Dallas Convention Center, in Dallas, Texas. The Expo attracts an audience of over 5,000 aviation professionals and focuses on aviation maintenance, ground support, safety, FBO services and more.
For more information on TMHU, please visit www.toyotaforklift.com or call 1-800-226-0009.