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!  

Search Results
Entries 1-3 of 3
Thursday, December 29, 2022

Autonomous vehicles like AGVs (automated guided vehicles) and AMRs (autonomous mobile robots) are cost-effective, flexible, and reliable alternatives to conventional material transport methods like forklifts or static conveyors.

Unlike some automation options where automating means completely replacing a process or equipment with an entirely new structure, it’s common that individual AVs (autonomous vehicles) are added and removed as workflow requires, allowing you to see both manual and automated equipment working side by side.

In general, what makes autonomous vehicle integration successful is rooted in thoughtful planning for how it will be incorporated into your operation. How do you prepare to incorporate autonomous vehicles in a way that would improve your operation’s productivity without creating unintentional downtime?

Discover some key factors to consider when balancing both autonomous and manual vehicles in your operations.

Key Autonomous Vehicle Operation Considerations


First and foremost is safety. Make sure that your staff is aware of the different moving vehicles or traffic patterns. This can be accomplished through updated employee training plans which should capture new and updated pathways, new lights, indicators or alert sounds, and vehicle right of way. Additionally, stress the importance of keeping pathways clear and the risks of disregarding the rules.

Through recent advancements in safety controllers, AVs of all types offer a safe and predictable method of delivery. AMRs can leverage dynamic path planning to safely move around obstacles and avoid interferences, requiring no human intervention. AGVs can safely detect obstacles but require external intervention like a human individual to remove the obstacle before they can proceed.

In general, autonomous vehicles can operate almost around the clock, without the need for breaks, which means that human traffic and traditional forklift operators will need to be aware of these continuous pathways.

While all AGVs and AMRs go through thorough testing before being incorporated into live operations, hand paddles can be kept on hand to test vehicle sensors in between maintenance checks. By placing the paddle in front of the vehicle’s pathway, your team members can safely verify that sensors will trigger the appropriate automatic stop.


Unlike most automated material handling systems that are locked into place, AGVs and AMRs provide flexibility by being able to program new routes/missions on demand. However, there are a few key conditions that will help ensure robust navigation from destination to destination.

  1. Flat floors – by contrast steep grades, uneven concrete, and large cracks will reduce the successful mission rate.

  2. Defined travel paths –  pathways should be clear of obstructions and wide enough to provide the right amount of clearance for the vehicle and the loads it’ll carry or pull. Also, ensure that paths don’t interfere with other manual material handling solutions.

  3. Navigation selection –  determine guidance and navigation system to be used. Vehicles that use vision or natural features navigation require little to no infrastructure because they operate by referencing existing features so carefully analyze if your environment is right for this technology. Navigation selection can be compared to “choosing the right tool for the job” so consider which technology fits best in your operations.


Leverage fleet or traffic management software to monitor your operations. Tight integration with the warehouse operation host system and WES (warehouse execution system) will help bring together your material handling solutions and operation needs to better drive productivity, facilitate coordination and promote safer work environments. This will specifically help with task scheduling triggering vehicles to move throughout the warehouse to complete tasks. It can also help with route planning to determine movements, avoid traffic, and better utilize warehouse space.


In addition to considering the facility’s defined pathways and updating safety training, consider traffic pattern changes as a whole. Where will automated, human, and manual vehicle traffic overlap? Is it required to overlap, or can pathways be adjusted? Confirm each vehicle’s speed, automated and manual. Should additional safety sensors be added to avoid collisions? Work through these questions to make necessary adjustments.

Sometimes an AV system is considered after a process is already in place. With this being the case, it’s important to carefully consider when the changeover or addition of an AV could take place at your facility. Carefully plan the timing and season of operations to reduce backlogs during implementation.

Versatile Automation that Scales

The applications of AGVs and AMRs are expanding as customers become more accustomed to the capabilities and benefits that these autonomous vehicles can bring to operations. The flexibility and easy scalability to quickly add in a vehicle with little to no facility modifications and familiarity with a standard forklift style and design make these an attractive solution option. Keeping in mind and balancing for dual equipment types – manual and automated – will only help to ensure that both bring the most benefits to your operation on your timeframe. Avoid disrupting operations and make integration seamless with the above steps.

Ready to explore solutions for improved efficiency? Let us guide you on your automation journey. By combining data-driven designs, scalable material handling systems, and innovative software, our experts are ready to help you plan and execute.

Posted by tfinco at 12/29/2022 1:21:00 PM
Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Automating your material handling processes presents many challenges. How will it impact material flow? Will you need to shutdown part of your operation for the installation and for how long? What type of infrastructure will you need to install and how scalable are the solutions?

Deciding that there are processes that can be improved in your operation through automation should be completed with care and guidance, if needed. But once you’ve made that exciting decision, getting started with automation is essentially as complicated as you need it to be to improve your process goals. There are many ways you can help alleviate the burden of implementation and automate tasks with ease while also allowing for scalable solutions that are easy to manage.

Here are a few helpful tips to get you moving on your path to increased efficiency and productivity with automation:

Optimize Before Automating

Automating a bad process can further amplify inefficiencies and require adjustments down the road that are rather costly to fix. While you don’t need to eliminate 100% of your inefficiencies prior to automating, it’s a good rule of thumb to analyze your operation to help make sure the solution is scalable and sustainable long-term. Toyota dealers can help you with this process by utilizing Toyota Lean Management and expert knowledge to pinpoint and eliminate inefficiencies prior to implementing automation.

Utilize Appropriate Technologies

Some automated products require additional time for implementation as well as additional infrastructure that can be costlier and cause disruption. Products like Toyota’s Center-Controlled Rider and Core Tow Tractor Automated Forklifts utilize LIDAR-based natural features navigation that requires little to no additional infrastructure. The mapping technology used by these models also makes adding units and modifying routes simple and efficient to minimize your downtime.

Choose the Right Automation Partner

When deciding on an automation partner, consider the value and expertise that they can bring to your business. What automation technologies and services do they have to offer? Can they support my business effectively at all locations? What type of support do they provide for implementation and maintenance?

Toyota’s partnership with Bastian Solutions, a Toyota Advanced Logistics company, allows us to provide unprecedented support for your business both nationally and globally. As the leading full-line material handling solutions providers, we are your one-stop-shop for your automation needs, including sales, implementation, and service.

Comprehensive training is also provided to operators and managers to ensure a smooth transition into automation. We can even train you to make route and unit adjustments on your own to minimize your downtime as your business evolves. View original post HERE

Posted by tfinco at 5/11/2021 5:32:00 AM
Friday, August 9, 2019

Marked advancements in technology have made it possible for autonomous vehicles to become a distinct reality.  Today, many different types of equipment such as AGVs and industrial robotics are used to handle monotonous tasks such as building and horizontally transporting pallets. The next logical step in this transition is to automate stacking and storage of products, something that current AGV models are incapable of performing.

Toyota’s new automated 3-wheel electric, on display at ProMat 2019, was built to do just that. Natural features navigation allows the truck to learn the layout of your facility and continually update mapping of the facility over time – no costly reflectors or wearable magnetic tape required. And the ability to operate the truck manually when needed adds a valuable level of versatility that is ideal for developing facilities and those that are just beginning their journey into automation.

Although this forklift is still in the design phase, it is an initial step in a series of technological advancements planned by Toyota to bring fully integrated automation solutions to the forefront of the material handling industry.

Also on display at ProMat 2019 were Toyota’s center-controlled rider AGV, automated moving mast reach truck, and mouse tug-cart AGV. Seeing these machines in action demonstrates how a real-life application can benefit from multiple different types of automated equipment handling horizontal and vertical placement of pallets in a facility.

Toyota’s strategic partnership with Toyota Advanced Logistics allows for a comprehensive solution that marries advanced systems and robotics with forklifts to maximize efficiency at the parcel level. Also on display at ProMat 2019, a palletizing robot that can build pallets for forklifts to pick up and move to their next destination. This is just one example of how an integration between traditional and automated material handling solutions can benefit your business.

Though you likely won’t see any super heroes using forklifts as a means to thwart crime anytime soon, automated forklifts meeting all or most of your material handling challenges may not be as far away as you think.

Whether you are just beginning to automate some of your material handling processes or you are looking for advanced solutions to complete tasks, our Warehouse Solutions team is here to help you carry the load.
Original Post: Trinton Castetter, Product Marketing Specialist, Toyota Material Handling

Posted by tfinco at 8/9/2019 10:19:00 PM
Entries 1-3 of 3