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Welcome to Dillon Toyota Lift's blog. Here you will find everything from product features, industry education, operator insights, racking, warehouse design, material handling solutions, safety, trends, best practices and more!
In the material handling industry, high productivity and efficiency are king. Whether you have one forklift or fifty, your equipment must have the power to deliver consistent results in order for you to win in your space, and ultimately, gain a competitive advantage. To do this, you’ll need a powerful tool to help you stand out.
One way to differentiate yourself from the competition is to incorporate advanced energy solutions or, more specifically, lithium-ion batteries (LiBs). Capable of rapid charging speeds and requiring minimal maintenance, lithium-ion batteries can take your operation to new heights.
Still not convinced? Here are five reasons why you should consider adding lithium-ion batteries to your fleet.
In material handling, we understand time is money and with lithium-ion batteries, you won’t have to worry about getting the job done. Lithium-ion batteries require less time to charge than their lead-acid counterparts, which also have to rest before they can be used again. Thus, your fleet will benefit from increased productivity and throughput.
Since lithium-ion batteries maintain a higher, more stable voltage over the course of a shift, you will also experience higher forklift performance which can translate to increased throughput.
Unlike traditional lead acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries can be opportunity-charged, or recharged throughout the shift when necessary, eliminating the headache of battery swapping, thus increasing your fleet’s performance and reducing downtime. On average, a lithium-ion battery will last two to four times longer than a lead acid battery.
Frequently having to maintain your lead acid battery can be time consuming and costly. However, lithium-ion batteries are virtually maintenance free and don’t require constant watering, equalize charging, or cleaning.
Lithium-ion batteries come equipped with cells that are sealed so you don’t have to wash or add water to keep the batteries operational, which reduces maintenance costs. Depending on your operation, it is possible that you don’t have to remove or swap batteries as you proceed through your workday because the battery can remain inside the forklift longer, eliminating the cost of additional storage and labor which is required for lead-acid batteries.
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Do your forklifts ever get a break? And for how long?
This is one of the most important factors in determining the right energy source for your forklifts.
And it makes sense. Just consider those days when you’re constantly running from morning till night time. You need ALL the coffee to stay awake, energized, and ready to go. Whereas, on those more “normal” days, you can probably get by on just one or two cups in the morning.
In the same way, your forklift fleet will have different energy needs depending on the shift cycles you run them on throughout the day. While you’ll always want to consider a wide variety of options and work with an integrated solutions provider like one of Toyota’s authorized dealers, this guide can help you make a preliminary diagnosis of whether to explore electric or internal combustion options.
While internal combustion forklifts can provide the power and efficiency needed to run a successful single shift operation, electric forklifts should be seriously considered. Operating on a single shift, you’ll be able to take full advantage of energy efficiency savings because you can allow the forklift to sit and the battery to charge while your facility is closed.
At the same time, it may take you longer to achieve a full return on your investment in electric forklifts due to your lower utilization — a key factor in determining operation and labor cost.
You will need to consider several variables when weighing lead-acid battery and internal combustion options. The efficiency savings of lead-acid batteries are reduced the most in these operations because they are faced with needing to buy battery exchanging equipment and additional batteries — typically one for each shift. This translates into increased acquisition costs, storage space, maintenance areas, and swap times.
In this case, an internal combustion forklift option deserves serious consideration. While it is a more expensive fuel option, replacing a propane tank is quicker and requires less facility space than swapping and charging a battery.
Lithium-ion batteries offer considerably faster charge speeds, and they can stay in the truck for multiple shifts while being opportunity charged during breaks. This means that they deliver a significant operational advantage over their lead-acid counterparts and can be considered a suitable electric option to replace propane in multi-shift operations.
However, because lithium-ion can cost up to 3x more than lead-acid, they might not be right for every operation. Single-shift operations are just one example in which efficiency returns may not outweigh the upfront costs.
To learn more about your forklift energy options, visit toyotaforklift.com/energy-solutions.
The beauty of nature is everywhere, it’s no wonder we want to be surrounded by it in our everyday lives. This desire is so strong that we find ways to bring nature indoors, from that cactus on your desk, to the roses you bought your significant other, even to that basil plant you have sitting on your kitchen counter. But where did all of these plants come from? Do you know what kind of dirty and laborious work goes into getting them to you?
The answers to both of those questions can be found in greenhouses and nurseries. Each of these businesses caters to different types of flora and therefore have specialized transportation needs. The product they work with is living, so it is essential that they are able to transport items with care, in a timely fashion.
This is where Columbia comes in. Columbia vehicles are tough enough to out-perform the competition yet safe enough to handle the delicate needs of the plants. Additionally, all of Columbia’s transportation solutions are 100% electric. This means there are no tailpipe emissions, which could damage the plants, and there is no noise pollution to potentially interrupt the customer experience.
Nurseries need to be able to haul everything from large trees and saplings to shovels and stakes. Columbia vehicles can be engineered with a variety of beds to accommodate those needs. For instance, the Columbia Payloader, with dump bed, is perfect for hauling soil, fertilizer, and large trees. While our Utilitruck, with drop side rails, is ideal for hauling saplings and equipment. Since nurseries primarily operate outdoors, it is essential that vehicles are able to handle uneven terrain. Traveling from asphalt to dirt or gravel can take its toll on a vehicle’s suspension, however, Columbia uses a more robust suspension system that is built to withstand the rough and tumble ways of everyday nursery work.
Greenhouses have slightly different needs. Typically plants are smaller and stored in tighter quarters, both indoors and out, so a vehicle with more finesse offers a better solution. The Stockchaser is a great example of a vehicle that can do it all! It has a bed to haul or carry, a tight turning radius, and up to 6,000 lbs. towing capacity. It also fits through a standard doorway. For the larger jobs of hauling dirt, hoses, and other equipment, the Journeyman 2X is another great way to get the job done.
Since the labor performed by workers in the greenhouses and nurseries are intense, operator comfort is a must! Columbia ensures that safety and comfort are taken care of. Columbia uses marine grade vinyl seating to withstand even the toughest elements. Practically every seat is adjustable for the shortest to tallest of operators. Adjustability is only the tip of the iceberg for Columbia’s safety features. Our vehicles offer 360 degree visibility, seat belt options, highly visible paint, horns and beepers, and more!
The variety of work that goes into the greenhouses and nurseries to bring nature into your office, home, and local park are vast. From hauling fertilizer and spades to transplanting flowers and loading trees, Columbia has the vehicle for the job! Columbia’s electric utility vehicle line up can get the job done easier and more efficiently with operator safety and comfort in mind. Combine this with the wide range of vehicles Columbia offers and the countless customizable options to cater to your every need, and you can trust that our sustainable transportation solutions will get the job done in your greenhouse or nursery!
Depending on what type of operation you run, as well as how many shifts your forklifts are working, you may utilize different charging methods. Selecting the correct charging method can have a major impact on your ROI, and selecting the wrong charging method is often one of the primary reasons that operations don’t realize the return they want from their electric forklifts.
Use this guide to help you explore common methods of forklift battery charging and work with a material handling solutions provider like your authorized Toyota dealer to make the best decision for your operations.
Conventional forklift battery charging is a battery is put it on its charger at the end of a shift and resumes use in the truck when the batter if fully charged. Conventional charging works best for companies that are running a one-shift operation. The downside to this charging method is that adding shifts requires additional batteries for each forklift. Once the first shift is finished, you will need to have a driver/staff take out the battery and replace it with the new one before the next shift can start. This will decrease the amount of time operators are driving the forklift, and subsequently decrease your productivity.
Conventional Forklift Battery Charging Works Best For One-Shift Operations
Fast forklift battery charging is partially charging your forklift’s battery in a matter of 10-20 minutes, usually during breaks or between shifts. One benefit of this method is that you do not need a great deal of space for extra battery storage – you are using the same battery and charging more frequently. The downside to fast charging is that it is extremely hard on the battery, impacting the battery warranty, and giving the battery a shorter life. The fast charging method is best used by continuous-use operations since they need to keep forklifts moving as frequently as possible. The less time it takes to charge, the more time the forklift can be in operation. Note that fast charge operations need one night per week to fully charge the trucks and equalize the battery. This is typically completed over the weekend.
Fast Forklift Battery Charging Works Best For Continuous-Use Operations
Opportunity charging is similar to fast charging and takes advantage of breaks and shift changes to charge the forklift. The biggest difference between opportunity and fast charging is the start rate of the chargers. The start rate of opportunity charging is between 21-30 amps per 100 AH, while fast charging is 31-60 amps per 100 AH. Opportunity charging will also require different chargers than conventional or fast methods. If you use a conventional or fast charger, attempting to opportunity charge may damage the battery and decrease its life.
Opportunity Forklift Battery Charging Works Best For Multi-Shift Operations
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Hand pallet jacks have been a simple, reliable solution for the transportation of pallets throughout the entire supply chain. Understanding how they operate can help you be more productive, safe, and efficient when using one.
This guide will cover hand pallet jack anatomy to help give you a better understanding of the various components and how they work.
These tips do not take the place of reading the user instructions or proper operator training, but they reinforce some of the basic principles for operating a hand pallet jack. Please reference your Operator’s Manual for more information on required training and knowledge needed prior to operation.
Each part of the pallet jack is essential to its efficient operation.
Starting from the top of the pallet jack, there is the handle and control lever. These are used for manual moving, lifting, and lowering of the pallet jack.
The handle can be rotated left and right to adjust the direction of the steer wheels, changing the direction of travel. It can also be rotated downward, allowing you to pull the pallet jack comfortably.
The control lever is located on the inside of the handle on the right-hand side. It has two different positions, which are used to lift and lower the forks.
The steer wheels and hydraulic pump are at the base of the unit and are operated using the handle and control lever. There are two different types of wheels available for manual hand pallet jacks: nylon and polyurethane. Read more about these two types of wheels here.
Next, the steel frames comprised of two forks that are connected together at the base. Most hand pallet jacks are designed to handle a standard 40” x 48” pallet. This is due to the dimensions of the forks and the load wheel placement.
The load wheels are located at the end of each fork and are necessary for travel and supporting the load. Just like the steer wheels, there are different types of load wheel compounds available. The load wheels are connected to lift linkages that run the length of the forks. When the handle is used to raise the forks, the lift cylinder extends, causing the linkages to articulate and the load wheels to raise. It’s always important to note the load wheel’s placement before lifting a pallet or other type of load.
When contemplating a forklift fleet transition from lead acid batteries to lithium-ion, there are wide variety of factors that need to be considered including fleet size, shift number, and your operational environment. In the right setting, it’s a big investment that comes with a big return when managed properly — including a wide variety of efficiency advantages.
At the same time, as you might expect, a different power source will come with a wide variety of changes to your operational practice. Here are a few of the differences you can expect, as well as some tips to help make the transition as smooth as possible for your fleet.
Whether you have a single-forklift operation or a large fleet working 24-hours a day, one important factor in delivering results is consistent power throughout the charge of the battery. Lithium-ion forklift batteries deliver consistent power and battery voltage throughout the full charge, whereas lead-acid battery charges deliver declining power rates as the shift wears on.
Bottom line: You won’t experience a lag toward the end of the lithium-ion battery’s charge, so plan your tac times and work flows accordingly.
Because lead-acid batteries have been around for so long, there are many recycling programs in place for them when they reach the end of their lives. The recycling rate on lead-acid batteries is high. Recycling programs for lithium-ion batteries are still being developed.
Bottom line: Do your research and plan in advance for the end of your lithium-ion battery’s life so you know how to handle and dispose of the old battery appropriately.
In the context of day-to-day operations, lithium-ion forklift batteries offer significantly faster charging speeds and don’t require charging cool down. This can help optimize daily productivity or even reduce the number of forklifts needed to complete objectives.
Bottom line: Be prepared with additional work to keep operators and their equipment busy — you may start moving faster than anticipated.
Lithium-ion forklift batteries can be opportunity charged in any setting, eliminating the need for time-consuming battery swaps.
Bottom line: Make your charging stations convenient to your operators so that they can take advantage of this option during breaks, lunch, and other windows of free time.
Lithium-ion forklift batteries can remain in equipment longer — to the point where one lithium-ion battery can take the place of three lead-acid batteries in a multi-shift use setting. This helps reduce the cost of storage space required for additional lead-acid batteries.
Bottom line: Figure out how much storage space you’ll actually need with the new set up, consolidate your storage space accordingly, and make use of the “leftover” space with value-adding tasks.
The reality is, lithium-ion batteries do cost more than lead-acid batteries. As a result, despite the operational efficiencies they provide, they are not necessarily the right solution for every operation.
Bottom line: Before transitioning, be sure that the efficiency returns you expect will outweigh the upfront cost.
Lithium-ion batteries require none of the watering, equalizing, and cleaning needed to maintain lead-acid batteries. This is a money savings in terms of both maintenance costs and downtime.
Bottom line: Make a plan to use the time you get back from this necessary maintenance for other productive tasks.
Forklift operators who are used to using lead-acid batteries will have to change the way they do their jobs when transitioning to lithium-ion because of the need to plug the forklift in to charge every time it is not in use. This transition requires a culture change that usually includes time for a learning curve.
Bottom line: Communicate clearly and intentionally before, during, and after the transition with your operators — and give them the time they need to adjust to a new way of powering their equipment.
Original Post: Justin Albers, Corporate Communications Specialist, Toyota Material Handling
Its no secret that warehouses have strict safety regulations to follow. Between facility and OSHA regulations, there are so many things to take into consideration to keep staff safe, and thats why Columbia works diligently to adhere to the highest safety standards and regulations.
Let's look at Columbia's line up to see how each vehicle is specifically engineered with warehouse safety in mind.
Columbia Chariot is built to transport key personnel quickly and safely throughout your facility. It is 3 times faster than walking and has 360 visability. The Chariot also keeps your personnel safe by removing the chances of people walking slowly through drive lanes and it makes them easier to see by bystanders and other equipment operators. It's narrow design allows for easy transportation through standard doorways as well.
Columbia Expediter is uniquely suited to convert from carrying one to two passengers. The rear seat area can be used to transport a small load or it can be converted to a second seat. It is designed to travel through narrow passageways and can be upfit from a 3 wheel to 4 wheel operation.
Columbia Payloader is ideal for your heavy loads. Its bed can be upfit for ladder racks, specialty equipment (tanks, welders, etc.), rails, passengers and more! With three different model tow capacities the possiblities are endless!
Columiba Stockchaser is the perfect vehicle to traverse narrow aisles to pick orders, restock, or carry maintenance equipment. The Stockchaser can be upfit for a wider deck area, double decking, or even an extended ladder!
Forklift spare parts might seem like dime-a-dozen commodities that can be purchased without paying much attention. But smart operations understand that the parts make up the whole, and the best way to maximize the value of your Toyota Forklift is to replace its parts with the originals – Toyota Genuine Parts. And the only place to get your Toyota Genuine Parts is from your local dealer, or the Toyota Forklift Store. You might pay more up front, but the long-term value of Toyota Genuine Parts comes from their quality, durability, and reliability.
What do we mean by quality? You bought your Toyota forklift for a reason. You know the brand and you know Toyota’s reputation for performance. Toyota Genuine Parts are made with the exact same care, quality materials and attention to detail as the forklifts are. Our forklifts are made with Toyota Genuine Parts.
What do we mean by durability and reliability? With Toyota Genuine Parts, you won’t have to worry about whether or not your forklift is going to work as hard as you do. Toyota Genuine Parts help increase your overall uptime and help keep you running longer; they’re manufactured to work and last.
But there are other good reasons to invest in Toyota Genuine Parts as well. We’re just getting started…
Toyota Genuine Parts are covered for two years or 4,000 hours from the date of purchase or installation. In those two years or 4,000 hours, Toyota will provide a replacement part or repair any Toyota replacement part that is defective under normal use and maintenance. Most importantly, Toyota will not charge for any warranty repair or warranty replacement work done at an authorized Toyota dealer in the U.S. during that time. In addition, labor will not be charged on a warranty repair/replacement if the work is performed by a Toyota Certified Technician!
At Toyota, we know our parts are quality, so we will always back them up in writing. Do the others do that?
Toyota Certified Technicians go through a rigorous training process that includes hours of both classroom and field-supervised training. Our trainers are top-notch, and they won’t let a tech come work on your Toyota forklift until they can assure the highest quality work. And what do Toyota Certified Technicians use during this intensive training process? Toyota Genuine Parts. These are the foundation of the Toyota Certified Technicians’ education. They know them inside and out, just like they know every inch of your forklift model. When Toyota Technicians use the best forklift spare parts, you’ll get the best possible work. And that leads to more uptime. That leads to more success, and reinvestment in your business.
Uptime is what we, in the material handling industry, all strive for. When we’re in uptime, we’re firing on all cylinders and getting more work done. We’re sure you can appreciate the same.
So, what’s the best way to keep your fleet running? That’s easy. Dependable, long-lasting parts. Toyota Genuine Parts. Toyota Genuine Parts are manufactured and engineered to work seamlessly with other parts in your Toyota forklift. When a Toyota Genuine Part is your replacement part, you are upgrading your equipment and increasing your uptime.
Aside from the obvious, why is uptime so important?
Even when you have a mixed fleet, Toyota is your one-stop-shop with our STARLIFT program. Complementing Toyota Genuine Parts, STARLIFT is a parts program that makes forks, tires, oils/chemicals, batteries and other replacement parts available for Toyota forklift mixed-fleet customers.
The forks that come standard on your Toyota forklift are the same forks the STARLIFT program offers. Toyota works with two fork manufacturers, Arrow and Cascade. Both are long-standing companies that focus solely on material handling products.
The next time you need forks, make it easy on yourself and go to your one-stop-shop Toyota forklift dealer and ask about the STARLIFT Parts program.
The proper maintenance and handling of forklift batteries is imperative to their longevity. There’s a right way and a wrong way to maintain and handle forklift batteries and doing it properly will ensure your investment is maximized.
Forklift batteries can be heavy and dangerous if not handled properly, so it’s important to be educated on the correct way to handle them. Use these tips for some ideas about handling batteries properly:
Properly charging a battery is all about doing it at the right time, for the right amount of time. Use these tips when charging your forklift battery:
Part of Toyota’s electric product line includes order pickers, which are commonly used in narrow aisle warehouses, distribution centers, and fulfillment centers. If you think your operations could benefit from a Toyota Order Picker, take a look at some of the more common questions below and see!
An order picker forklift is a piece of equipment used to help operators pick and deliver materials needed for filling out orders. They are designed take the forklift operator up to the rack with or without a load. Commonly, the forks hold a load that is being added to, not being put away. Designed for applications that require an operator to be at the same level as the inventory to pick a specific order, order pickers can help increase efficiency of the users when used in the correct setting. Need some more explanation? Check out the Toyota Order Picker official video below.
Order pickers are commonly used by warehouses and distribution centers in an order fulfillment application. They are a great option for those needing to remove individual items from shelving. Order pickers can also effectively navigate in narrow aisle environments, which makes them ideal for warehouses that are looking to maximize space and capacity by moving racking closer together.
It’s inefficient to pull an entire pallet down to remove just one or two items. If you’re continuously needing to take just one item off a rack, an order picker is a better option for you than a traditional forklift. Order pickers also provide more flexibility in narrow aisle applications. You could always contact your local Toyota Forklift dealer and discuss the possibility of a warehouse consultation. They will be able to offer suggestions on racking, pieces of equipment, and plenty more to help maximize efficiency in your operations.
Order pickers are electric and run through the use of rechargeable batteries, very similar to traditional electric forklifts. Order pickers can be manually steered, but in narrow aisle applications, order pickers are commonly guided electronically with wires (usually under the warehouse floor) or mechanically with special profiles fitted on both sides of the aisle and attached to the warehouse floor. Wire guidance systems can be extremely effective when used in the correct setting, and could help reduce the risk of operators hitting the racking, and damaging the forklift, the product, or the racking itself.
Toyota’s Order Picker is a great option for those challenging high-reaching warehouse needs. It has a maximum reach height of 390 inches on select models, and can come with a 24-volt or 36-volt electrical system. Toyota offers three models to help fit your needs.
8BPUE15 – (24 Volt) For Value Driven Applications
8BPU15 – (24 Volt) For higher lifting and efficiency
8BPUH – (36 Volt) Best for High-throughput applications
Each model also comes with an optional rail and wire guidance system to help reduce the risk of operator driving errors. Like mentioned before, this can help protect your drivers, the forklift, as well as your product.
Toyota’s Order Picker also comes with optional Lift Logic, which continuously monitors speed and lift height, allowing for optimized travel speed. This helps operators increase productivity. Lift logic boosts efficiency well beyond conventional lift/lowering speed monitoring systems.
If your order picking need is primarily ground level, check out the End-Controlled Rider Pallet Jack or a few other Toyota products that can help. To learn more about the Toyota Order Picker, or any other Toyota Forklift products, request a brochure, or you can contact your local Toyota Forklift dealer and see how we can help keep your operations moving.
Dillon Toyota Lift is the authorized Toyota Forklift dealer in Idaho and Utah, providing solutions to all material handling needs since 1981. We are your full service provider for new and used forklifts, rentals, parts, service, warehousing, racking, and lift truck operator training.
Nampa : (208) 466-8994
Twin Falls : (208) 466-8994
Idaho Falls : (208) 466-8994
Salt Lake : (801) 972-1930
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