Welcome to Dillon Toyota Lift's blog. Here you will find everything from product features, industry education, operator insights, material handling solutions, safety, trends, best practices and more!  


Jul 17

Whether it’s navigating through narrow aisles, moving pallets or picking large paper rolls, various environments present unique challenges for material handlers. IC and electric forklifts are divided into seven different classes that handle a wide range of needs. The types of forklifts in each class include:

Class I: Electric motor rider forklifts are typically suitable for loading and unloading tractor-trailers and handling pallets. They’re ideal for indoor applications because they are quieter than other forklifts and create no emissions.

Class II: Electric motor narrow aisle forklifts (reach trucks, order pickers) have maneuverability features that allow them to operate in tight spaces and narrow aisles. Typical uses for this class of forklifts include picking and storing inventory. These trucks provide users the ability to increase racking space without expanding their current warehouse.

Class III: Electric pallet jacks, stackers and tow tractors comes in both rider and walk-behind models, often used to unload deliveries and move loads to a staging area where they can be handled by other types of forklifts.

Class IV: IC cushion tire forklifts are IC-powered sit-down units designed for a wide range of indoor applications. Their solid, cushioned tires provide a smooth ride on indoor surfaces and they’re puncture-proof since they are not air-filled. Some of the specific applications in this class include forklifts built specifically to lift paper rolls, lifts designed for use in railcars and lifts that can move steel coils.

Class V: IC pneumatic tire forklifts are similar to those in Class IV but were built primarily for outdoor use, including lumberyards, construction sites
and other outdoor applications.

• Class VI: Electric/IC engine tow tractors includes electric and IC engine tow tractors. These machines are most commonly used for towing loads rather than lifting. Trucks in this class are ideal for use at airports but are also commonly used in assembly line areas.

Class VII: Rough terrain forklifts feature large, tractor-style tires and are powered almost exclusively by diesel engines for outdoor use in rugged terrain. Class VII trucks are most commonly used at lumberyards or construction sites to lift building materials to elevated work sites.

Of course, the types of applications will help determine which forklift is ideal for each operation. One of the other important considerations includes the cost of battery charging infrastructure vs. fuel expenses.

Jul 16

For the past 50 years, Toyota Material Handling has been working to bring you everything you need to help with your material handling needs. In an effort to innovate, TMH is proud to collaborate with Bastian Solutions, a Toyota Advanced Logistics (TAL) company. TAL was formed in 2017, when Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO) acquired Bastian Solutions, LLC to better align with market changes and customer needs in the area of logistics. TAL focuses on effectively blending advanced warehouse automation with material handling solutions TAL companies are working towards bringing technological enhancements to our customer’s facilities and provide solutions to clients to excel in their markets. Together with Toyota Material Handling, the North American leaders in forklift manufacturing and automation technology work as one to deliver quality and success in a new era of material handling solutions.

What are Advanced Logistics?

Logistics needs are shifting across industries to respond to a changing, internet sales driven era. When we speak of advanced logistics, we mean providing companies with technologies that respond to increased demands of the market and providing integrated material handling solutions that marry automated processes to manual operation. This could be many different things, from automated guided vehicles, to conveyor systems, and even different types of automated order picking machines. There are plenty of technologies that companies can use, and you can work with TAL professionals to see which types would work best for you.

What else does Toyota Advanced Logistics Offer?

As well as offering products to increase your throughput, TAL also offers several services that can assist you in achieving logistics success. Bastian Solutions, for example, can assist with conveyor design, labor management, distribution facility design, and fleet optimization. TAL and Bastian leadership understand the importance of ensuring that your operations are running at maximum efficiency, even after the implementation of the new technology. Operator and Supervisory training, change management, and workforce planning and forecasting are available. Toyota Material Handling and TAL want to make sure you receive a total logistics solution before, during, and after the automation process is installed.

As you can see, Toyota Material Handling and TAL are partnered to deliver on the promise to be the complete solution to your material handling needs. With so many different solutions, we are bound to help your operations increase efficiency, make use of your space, and continually help you reach your highest potential.

Original Post: Lucas Collom, Digital Projects Administrator, Toyota Material Handling

Jul 15

Did you know: 10,000 baby boomers will retire today – and every day – for the next 10 years?

The management and decision-making roles they leave vacant will be filled with the largest group in the U.S. workforce – millennials. Millennials have spent the better part of their lives online, connecting with friends on social media, conducting research with a simple Google search, and shopping for anything they desire – all from the comfort of their own homes. To stay relevant with this new generation of consumers, companies must be willing to adapt to the rapidly changing customer expectations.

One of my favorite quotes is attributed to Grace Hopper:

“The most dangerous phrase in the language is ‘We’ve always done it this way.’”

That rings true in many scenarios, but especially when it comes to meeting the ever changing needs of customers. The way business is conducted has changed over the years from face-to-face, to paper, to over the phone, and now to online-centric. The demand for convenient online business platforms will continue to rise as Generation Z enters the workforce.

For businesses, this means a higher demand for self-service portals, offering alternative ways to have questions answered without picking up the phone, and making business purchases as quick and easy as buying products at the touch of a button.

To hear more about “The Amazon Effect and the Need for Speed in Forklift Parts and Equipment Delivery”, listen to the webinar featuring Nick Ostergaard, Manager of eCommerce Sales & Operations and Marketing Systems at Toyota Material Handling.

Original Post:  Kayla Lumpford-Mitchell, eCommerce Marketing Specialist, Toyota Material Handling


Jul 08

1.  A History of Excellence and Leadership: Toyota’s forklift division began in 1956 in Japan with the introduction of the first Toyota forklift. Today, Toyota is the world leader in forklift sales.

2.  Safety Innovation: Toyota introduced the world’s first and only System of Active Stability (SAS). The system electronically monitors the forklift’s operations to help reduce the likelihood of both lateral and longitudinal tip-overs.

3.  Technical Innovation: In 2000, Toyota became the first major forklift manufacturer in the United States to offer AC technology to provide high performance and efficiency. The AC motor contains no springs, brushes, commutators or directional contractors, making is virtually maintenance free.

4.  #1 in Quality, Durability, Reliability, Value and Lowest Cost of Ownership: Toyota forklifts are ranked number one in numerous studies conducted by Peerless Research Group.

5.  More Than a Forklift Manufacturer, Toyota is a Full-Line Supplier: In addition to a full line of high-quality forklifts, Toyota offers other industrial equipment products including narrow aisle solutions, walkie stackers, automated guided vehicles (AGV’s) and tow tractors.

Click here to learn more about why you should consider choosing a Toyota forklift from Dillon Toyota Lift.

Jun 17

As you research all of the various leasing programs, you will likely run into two terms that have a big impact on your decision-making: Closed-ended leases versus open-ended leases. One of the main differentiators between leases is whether you enter into a close-ended or open-ended lease. At Toyota Industries Commercial Finance, we only offer close-ended leases because they are the most beneficial to the end customer for both liability and Return on Investment (ROI). Please allow me to assist you in navigating the difference:

Understanding a Close End Lease:

A basic understanding of close end leases means that at the maturity of the lease, it is closed to the lessee. More thoroughly, when engaged in a close-ended lease, the lessee will make their scheduled monthly payments throughout the agreed upon term of the lease and at the end of the lease, the lessee has no contingent liability of the lease end residual. Additionally, the leasing company is under no obligation to sell it to the customer however, the customer may be provided with an option to purchase the equipment. A close end lease provides the lessees with the option to simply return the equipment and move onto their next new lease, which means they will receive the latest equipment technology. On a closed end lease, a customer is required to maintain the equipment in a safe operating condition with no liability for the residuals.

Understanding an Open End Lease:

When a customer enters into an open end lease, they use the forklift for the full length of the lease term, and after the lease expires, the customer is liable for the remaining residual balance of the equipment.   No matter the decision, the customer will still be responsible for paying the remaining residual value of the forklift.

Toyota Industries Commercial Finance is happy to provide you any additional information you need. When financing a forklift or forklift fleet, always remember to ask a lot of questions and obtain as much information as possible.

Jun 12

Forklift accidents can happen anywhere, but because loading docks are typically narrow and elevated, they’re one place where extra caution should be used. Common loading dock incidents include falling off the edge of the dock, and skidding or slipping due to wet or icy conditions. So how can the risk of loading dock accidents be reduced?

First and foremost, make sure the trailer is secured to the dock using a locking device, either on the trailer’s rear impact guard or rear wheel.  One common and dangerous issue that can arise when loading and unloading trailers in a loading dock, is the truck driver not realizing the forklift is still in the truck and pulling away, which causes the forklift to roll out. “Trailer Creep”, which happens when trailers gradually move away from the dock because of constant movement inside them, can also happen. The only way to prevent these two things from happening is to completely secure the trailer with a locking device on the trailer’s rear impact guard or rear wheel.

Clean off the surface of the loading dock. One common cause of accidents involving forklifts and loading docks is ice or water covering the dock. Clean the dock off before operating the forklift on it to help prevent sliding issues.

Also, remember to always maintain a safe distance from the edge of the loading dock. OSHA doesn’t recommend a specific measurement between a forklift and the edge of a loading dock, but you should implement good judgment to avoid falling off the side of the loading dock. Painting the edges of the loading dock a bright color is one thing you can do to help forklift operators stay aware of dock edges.

By doing the three things above, you’re well on your way to reducing accidents on loading docks, but keep these things in mind too:

  • Anyone operating a forklift should be trained. Proper operating training is the number-one way to prevent accidents.
  • Implementing a daily loading dock inspection is important to the safety of operators and truck drivers alike.
  • Keep the product secure on your pallets by covering them in plastic or metal.
  • Double check floors of trailers before driving on them to ensure they’re sturdy enough to handle the weight of the forklift.
  • Consider creating a dock shelter to keep rain and snow off loading docks, which can cause them to be slippery.

Original Post:  Jake Stewart, Digital Copywriter, Toyota Material Handling USA

Jun 07

There are a lot of moving parts on a forklift that are critical to its operation and the mast chains are no exception. As you may already know, a forklift uses hydraulic pressure to raise the mast up by raising the lift cylinders. This, in turn, raises the inner mast channels, but without the lift chains, your forks and carriage aren’t going anywhere. And if your forks aren’t being lifted, you aren’t going to be getting much work done.

So how does it all work? As I explained, the lift cylinders will lift the inner mast rails, but the mast chains are actually responsible for lifting the carriage and forks. Each mast chain is attached to the carriage and then routed up and over a chain wheel that acts as a pulley. The chain is then bolted into a boss that is welded onto the inner mast rail. So when the mast rails raise, the chains also raise and thus the carriage goes up with it.

Mast Chain Wear and Inspection 

As you can imagine, having to carry the bulk of your load weight during thousands of lift and lower cycles can take its toll. This wear will eventually cause the mast chains to elongate or even show other signs of disrepair depending on their age, use, and operating conditions. Since the chains are responsible for holding up the forklift’s carriage and ultimately a potentially large and heavy load, ignoring these warning signs could lead to product damage, injuries, or worse.

Your mast chains should be inspected at the start of every shift as part of your inspection of the forklift’s lift/lower systems. When inspecting the chains, be sure to look out for the following warning signs:
1.Broken Links: Broken links can be caused by abnormal force on the chains whether from dropping a load or working on an uneven surface.
2.Turned Pins: Lack of lubrication will cause pins to turn. If you see one turned pin, it’s likely there will be more. Always make sure the chains are properly lubricated prior to use.
3.Wear or Elongation Over Three Percent**: Over time, forklift chains wear out. You’ll need a chain gauge to measure wear and elongation. If your chain has elongated over three percent, it’s time to replace it.

Be mindful that chain pitch can vary with different chain designs and different pitches have different limits for stretch or elongation. Most chain gages will have wear guides for multiple types and pitches, so be sure you are following the instructions based on your specific type.

If you’re ever in doubt, be sure to reach out to Dillon Toyota Lift for assistance with inspecting your forklifts. They can even schedule planned maintenance with you so that a technician can inspect your forklifts at pre-determined intervals for all of these issues and more.

** Any elongation of your forklift chain should be properly inspected by a qualified technician.

Original Post:  Trinton Castetter, Product Marketing Specialist, Toyota Material Handling, USA

Jun 02

Peak seasons are an exciting time for any business. These busy seasons can mean increased orders, fulfillment requests, and, best of all, revenue. But peak seasons can also be stressful times that lead to warehouse inefficiencies and cause lost opportunities. Lead time can get extended and damage your reputation if you haven’t planned effectively for a higher than normal volume. Here are three useful questions to ask as you prepare for your upcoming peak season:

Do I have the right equipment for increased velocity?

Sometimes the right warehouse equipment is a full sit-down forklift (like a 3-wheel electric) that can move large pallets of numerous individual products to high velocity picking areas. For other warehouses in peak seasons, versatile hand pallet or electric walkie pallet jacks that can quickly cover short distances with limited touches are the answer. But as you come into your peak season, take an inventory and make sure you have the right material handling equipment to get the job done.

Do I need to reorganize my warehouse during peak seasons?

Perhaps it makes sense to keep pallets of high velocity, peak season products on pallets near the shipping area. Or maybe high velocity products need to be placed on lower racking levels for easier access by forklift operators and order picking personnel. Your distribution and supply chain needs will dictate what you need, but it’s worth asking if you can reorganize to be more efficient during peak seasons.

Can I increase efficiency by cross docking?

The goal of any productive warehouse is to eliminate touches on each product. If you can decrease the number of times a product needs to be moved, then you can shorten your lead time for customer delivery. During high-demand periods, you might consider whether you have an opportunity for cross docking, or the process of receiving a product and then shipping it to its next location without ever moving it to short or long term storage in a warehouse. If peak seasons demand quick delivery of products, it might be best to grab a hand pallet or electric walkie pallet jack and immediately put that received product on the next truck for shipping.

Original Post:  Jake Stewart, Digital Copywriter, Toyota Material Handling, USA

May 21

Toyota Forklifts are built to be reliable, but the life of all material handling equipment will eventually come to an end. As an operations manager, you’re in control of when to get new machines into your operation. And as an operator, you know when your forklift is breaking down way too often. When bigger issues arise or when several small issues are keeping your forklift out of use, you may be asking yourself “Is it worth the time and money to put into this old machine?” This question means you’re considering the economic life of your forklift. Every forklift has two lives, its useful life, and its economic life. Useful life is pretty simple. If your forklift cannot be repaired, and is no longer used productively, then it has seen the end of its useful life. Economic life is more complicated, and requires more planning for both use and material procurement. This information can help you decide if your forklift’s economic life is coming to an end.

Economic life is the time span it makes financial sense to maintain your forklift, rather than replacing it. You know your forklift has reached the end of its economic life when the cost of the repairs are more expensive than the cost of purchasing a new one. The stress of having a forklift out of service on both an operation and the people who run it should lead you to have a good understanding of a forklift’s economic life. First, make sure you are planning for the replacement of your older forklifts. On average, most forklifts will need to be replaced around 10,000 hours, but can even be around 8,000 hours or less for those in unique applications. With the help of our economic life of a forklift calculator, you can get insight into when your forklift will need to be replaced. This allows you to easily determine a budget, and make it a more positive experience for you and your company. It can also influence your decision on whether you want to lease or buy your next forklift or forklift fleet. Leasing is sometimes an option that can help you reduce diminishing returns from a forklift with an expired economic life.

If you are putting off getting a new forklift and constantly maintaining your old one, you could be losing a lot of profits while the forklift is experiencing downtime. It’s never too late to start planning to improve the efficiency of your operation, whether you’re looking to acquire a forklift soon, have just done so, or are using an old forklift that might be past its prime. 

Original post:  Lucas Collom, Digital Projects Administrator, Toyota Material Handling, USA

May 19

The great debate regarding forklift fuel options – electric forklifts versus IC (internal combustion) forklifts. This decision is not only for new companies. Established companies may also weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each fuel, especially if there is a shift of priorities to “go green.”

Electric Forklifts

The forklift industry has experienced a shift in sales, with electric forklifts now accounting for nearly 60% of the forklift market. Electric forklifts are rising in popularity due to advances in technology that are allowing them to operate more comparably to internal combustion engine forklifts in regards to performance and run time. The emergence of fast-charging capabilities, higher-voltage outputs, and new and improved battery, pump, and motor technologies are some of the reasons for these breakthroughs.

Electric forklift advantages include:
•No exhaust emissions: Electric forklifts are powered by electrical energy sources such as batteries or fuel cells, which eliminates an employee’s exposure to potentially harmful exhaust emissions.
•Reduced maintenance costs: Electric forklifts use no disposal waste (i.e. engine and transmission fluid) and a high percentage of battery lead can be recycled.
•Operator ergonomics: Less noise and vibration is generated by the electric forklift, reducing operator fatigue.
•Decreased repair costs: Electric forklifts have less moving parts to maintain and repair. AC motor technology further eliminates brushes to create no spark hazard and better speed control.
•Lower long-term fuel costs: Batteries for the electric forklift can be recharged. Although the upfront costs for batteries and chargers can be expensive, the return on investment over time is typically higher than when using fuel.

With these advantages come other factors to consider. Although electric forklifts have lower lifetime fuel costs, the initial cost is higher. In addition to the cost of the battery, an area for charging, watering and cleaning must be arranged. Certain electric forklifts can be at a disadvantage when using the forklift in an outdoor application, depending on the design of the forklift. Many forklifts today, including Toyota’s 3-Wheel Electric and 80V Pneumatic models are designed to protect critical forklift components from potential damage due to water intrusion. Downtime can also be experienced if the battery is not charged or equalized properly.

IC Forklifts

The market is still strong for IC forklifts. They account for about 40% of the forklift market and are viable solutions for both indoor and outdoor applications.  IC forklifts tend to be more popular for outdoor, high-capacity applications and for specialty applications such as paper roll handling and container handling.

IC forklift advantages include:
•Flexible application: IC forklifts are good indoors and outdoors. They operate well in rain and other inclement weather.
•Multi-shift use: The fuel savings associated with electric forklifts is greatly diminished or negated when multiple batteries are required to keep an operation running. These batteries also take up additional space in a facility, reducing efficiencies and increasing operating costs.
•Lower initial cost: On propane powered forklifts, only the investment of propane tanks and their storage area is needed to operate the forklift. Gasoline, diesel, and CNG powered forklifts are usually purchased when refilling stations are conveniently available. The infrastructure for these stations, however, can be very expensive if they don’t already exist at your facility.
•Easy to refuel: IC forklifts running out of fuel do not require a lengthy charging period. An operator can easily replace the propane tank in 5 minutes and then continue production. Gasoline, diesel, and CNG powered forklifts can also be refueled in a matter of minutes depending on their location. This is especially important with a multi-shift operation.

Other factors to consider when purchasing an IC forklift include providing ventilation in the warehouse due to emissions, operator fatigue due to noise and vibration and the physical requirements of changing propane tanks. Finally, if the operation does not require an IC forklift you should consider the lifetime costs of maintenance, repairs and fuel cost when compared to an electric forklift.

LP vs. Gasoline vs. Diesel vs. CNG Powered Forklifts

Once you’ve made the choice to go with internal combustion engine powered forklifts for your operation, you now need to decide which fuel type is best for you.  The following tips should help to point you in the right direction.

Liquid Petroleum Gas (LP) – LP is ideal for customer locations that do not have gasoline, diesel, or CNG refilling stations readily available.  If you’re purchasing forklifts for a new facility, LP has the lowest initial cost since all you essentially need to purchase are LP tanks and a place to store them.  LP tanks can also be swapped in a matter of minutes, which can reduce your amount of downtime when refueling.  LP forklifts are available with both cushion and pneumatic tires and are ideal for both indoor and outdoor operations.

Diesel – Diesel fuel is highly efficient and can provide longer run times in general compared to other fuel types. One by-product of the combustion process with diesel is soot, which can accumulate in the exhaust system of a forklift and needs to be removed. Most Toyota forklifts are built with diesel oxidation catalysts so that this is slowly burned off over time, but there are some forklifts out there that use diesel particular filters that need to go through a manual regen process to burn away these deposits.  This can lead to more downtime since the forklift must be parked and not in use for the manual regen process to complete.  In general, diesel engines also have higher torque than their LP or gas counterparts, which can provide increased gradeability and acceleration. While fuel pricing is subject to change, diesel currently costs more per gallon than gasoline, providing a better return on investment over years of use. Diesel forklifts are generally only available with pneumatic type tires and are designed for outdoor use. This is mostly due to the fact that they are louder machines and produce more emissions than LP or gas powered forklifts.

Gasoline – Gasoline only powered forklifts are pretty rare in the material handling industry due to the popularity of dual fuel forklifts and the general lack of gasoline fueling stations, but they do serve a purpose. For customers that have refueling stations readily available, conveniently placed, and able to accommodate the size of their fleet, there is little reason to use LP or dual fuel configurations. Gasoline powered forklifts also do not have an LP tank and bracket on the back of the forklift, which can increase rearward visibility. They are also typically more powerful than their diesel alternatives and can provide increased travel and lift/lower speeds.

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) – Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) powered forklifts also require the appropriate refilling equipment in order to operate, but this type of fuel provides some distinct advantages. CNG is better for the environment and for overall air quality due to the fact that it produces less emissions and the natural gas dissipates into the air as water vapor and carbon dioxide in the event of a leak. Unlike LP forklifts, the CNG tank is never removed, but is actually refilled which can reduce downtime and operator strain. Infrastructure for CNG refueling stations, however, can be expensive due to the large amount of land required and general cost of equipment and installation. This, along with other barriers to entry such as obtaining the proper permits and having an adequate natural gas supply make CNG an unpopular choice in the current material handling market.

Still unsure?  Contact Us or simply answer a few questions on our Find A Forklift tool! 

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