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!  


May 01

Toyota’s full line of equipment ranges from the small but sturdy hand pallet truck to the colossal beasts that make up our line of container handlers. Oftentimes, load capacity and application needs will determine the best type of material handling equipment you’ll need. But sometimes the decision may be a bit more subtle.

A Toyota Hand Pallet Truck (HPT) may be exactly what you need to get the job done for smaller applications – but a Toyota Electric Walkie Pallet Jack might work just as well. The load capacities between these two products aren’t much different. The HPT’s capacity weighs in at 5,500 pounds while the Electric Walkie maxes out at 4,500. How do you decide between the two?

Electric Pallet Jack vs. Manual Pallet Jack — Using a Toyota Hand Pallet Truck

While the HPT can lift a higher capacity than the Electric Walkie, heavier loads mean more exertion from the operator, making it better suited for shorter run times and quick material handling jobs. It’s an economical option whose size makes it highly versatile and ergonomic without any of the complexities of electrical wiring or battery maintenance. It’s a great fit for retail, cold storage, and general warehousing industries!

Electric Pallet Jack vs. Manual Pallet Jack — Using a Toyota Electric Walkie

The Electric Walkie takes the strain off the operator, making it ideal for mid-distance runs and ease of operation when working on trailers, dock plates, and ramps or slopes. An electric disc brake comes in handy when working on a grade where you may need to stop, and the anti-rollback system conveniently assists in keeping a load stationary during a transition from braking to moving. The HPT doesn’t have a similar system, meaning that the operator must maintain the stability of the load through physical exertion or sitting the load down. On a grade, the momentum can make this difficult.

A bit bigger than an HPT, this walkie is still a great fit for efficiently moving products through a warehouse and is designed with convenience in mind. Its drive motor makes it easier to navigate over dock plates and to both pull and raise loads, ideal for higher cycle applications.

Sometimes it’s the small things that make a big difference. If you’re not sure which product is the best match for your operation, contact Dillon Toyota Lift for more information.

Original Post:  Anastasia Sistevaris, Communications Copywriter, Toyota Material Handling, USA

Apr 26

Purchasing the right forklift for your operation requires that you take into account several factors that are unique to your situation. From determining the right rated capacity you’ll need to understanding the difference between pneumatic and cushion tires, there’s a lot to consider. And the actual physical space of your workplace can’t be forgotten. Calculating forklift minimum aisle width will help you make an informed decision about what warehouse forklifts to acquire. But how do you know how much space you’ll need to effectively navigate? You should always check your calculations with a certified Toyota dealer, but you can use this simple formula to help you get started:

Forklift Aisle Width Formula

Basic Right Angle Stack + 12 In. (Clearance) + Load Length

Basic Right Angle Stack:

This measurement is the smallest amount of space a forklift needs to be able to turn and enter a pallet. It does not include the length of the load that is picked up or any room for clearance. Basic Right Angle Stack measurements are listed in specification manuals. Toyota lists this spec for all of its models on each model’s specific product page.

Load Length:

Load lengths will vary depending on your unique circumstances, and you should always be sure to know your forklift’s rated capacity at certain load centers. But a rule of thumb that might be used as a starting point would be a standard pallet, which is 48 inches in length.


Calculating 12 inches of clearance will help to ensure you have enough space to turn in the aisle and help protect against potentially unsafe situations resulting from operator error.

Forklift Aisle Width Calculation Example:

Let’s say you’re considering purchasing a Toyota Core IC Cushion forklift for your warehouse and want to make sure you would be able to turn in your aisles with a standard pallet. According to the forklift specs, the model you are considering has a Basic Right Angle Stack spec of 86 inches.

86 in. (Basic Right Angle Stack) + 12 in. (Clearance) + 48 in. (Load Length) = 146 in. Minimum Aisle Width

Remember that this is just a start to your assessment practice. Always be sure to have Dillon Toyota Lift verify your results before you make a purchasing decision!

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

Apr 19

When you start looking to buy a forklift, one of the first things you will notice are the different tire types that are available. Pneumatic and cushion tires are the two most common, and those tire types are often used as a dividing line for the forklifts used in certain operations (along with fuel type) If your business operates a lot outdoors, then you may want to take a look at this post explaining pneumatic tires and why they are beneficial. But if you work mostly indoors, then cushion tires are made for you. To put it simply, cushion tires are made of a smooth rubber that is fitted around a metal band, great for indoor applications. The following are some of the major benefits of cushion tires.

Advantages of Cushion Tire Forklifts: Great for Smooth Surface Applications

Cushion tires are designed specifically to work great on smooth surfaces, and the hard outer surface is designed to reduce chipping on the wheels. Cushion tires also contain more rubber, allowing for a safer, more comfortable ride for the operator. This extra rubber will also allow for a longer service life. But, using these types of tires outside on uneven terrain could cause early chipping, and could be a safety hazard due to the reduced traction of the cushion tires. While it is alright for you to use it on smooth asphalt outdoors, we recommend you limit the time you use them outside.

Advantages of Cushion Tire Forklifts: More Maneuverability

Another reason cushion tires are great for indoor applications is that they allow for a more maneuverable forklift. They are able to fit a smaller forklift frame, and have a lower ground clearance. When you operate in a warehouse, having a smaller forklift is important when it comes to making the most of your space. This allows you to navigate narrower aisles, and keep your racking closer together. The more space you have for racking, the more product you can hold in your warehouse.

Advantages of Cushion Tire Forklifts: Cost-Effective

Because cushion tires require less materials to produce, it is less expensive for companies to manufacture them. This is good for you, because they are usually cheaper than pneumatic tires. Another way cushion tires help you save money is by being easier to maintain. By making sure your warehouse floors are clear of debris, and not driving your forklift over tough terrain, you can help your cushion tires last.

Make sure you do some research, and really look into all of the different uses the forklift could get in order to make an informed decision. Once you choose a specific forklift and its tire type, I highly recommended against changing tire type on your forklift (and it’s often impossible to do so).

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

Apr 16

Warehouse receiving areas are some of the busiest places in a supply chain. Because of the variables involved with receiving such as unknown personnel (truck drivers) in your warehouse, the irregularity of goods received, and changing storage needs after product is received, this area in any operation can be very difficult to standardize. Amidst the controlled chaos of a receiving area, open dock doors that are not actively being used to unload a truck pose particular hazards for forklift operators and pedestrians. A lack of awareness of open dock doors can lead to dangerous situations that were more than likely preventable. Remembering a few important points about dock door safety might help increase safety while also maintaining as much efficiency as possible.

Reminders for Dock Door Safety

As an Operator, You Might Easily Back Off of One if You’re Not Paying Attention.

Even if you don’t see them in front of you, open dock doors are still there. It’s a major disaster if, in the middle of operating a forklift to handle material in the receiving area, an operator backs out an open door. Remember that awareness of what is behind you is key in maintaining dock door safety. Some dock levelers can be upgraded to automatically fold up into a protective barrier to help prevent the possibility of back off.

As a Pedestrian, You Might Easily Fall Off of One if Proper Precautions Are Not Taken. 

OSHA standards require that wall opening with a drop of more than 4 feet must be chained off, roped off, or otherwise blocked off. If this precaution is not taken, distracted pedestrians might walk off open docks, potentially being harmed in the fall and being left vulnerable in a busy receiving area where trucks are moving in and out. While ropes or chains meet the OSHA requirement for block off, heavy duty safety barriers can also be purchased (many times from certified Toyota dealers).

As a Pedestrian and Operator, You Might Easily Forget that Trucks Will Eventually Fill the Door. 

Dock doors are places where product is moved in quickly. Not every worker in an environment will know exactly when a truck will arrive. When working around a dock door, you must remember that semis are going to be pulling into those spaces, and drivers won’t always have the best visibility when backing in. Therefore, it is the responsibility of forklift operators and pedestrians to stand clear when a semi is arriving.

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

Apr 12

Hydraulic technology is so common we often forget we use it every day. It’s found right in our own homes in our dishwashers. It’s in the cars we drive to work. It’s in elevators, amusement park rides, and airplanes. And in forklifts. But without liquid to fuel the hydraulic systems, none of these things would work.

The main function of hydraulic fluid is to provide energy transmission, so it makes sense that if you don’t have the proper level of liquid, you can’t create the most power. Inadequate levels of hydraulic fluid in a forklift cause decreased lifting and steering capabilities, which is the last thing you want when you have a job to finish.

So, what do you need to know to ensure your hydraulic system is running smooth and fast? Let’s explore some of the common questions you might have about hydraulic fluids and forklifts.

How often should I change the hydraulic fluid for forklifts?

Most forklift manufacturers suggest replacing hydraulic fluid after every 1,000 hours of operation. To monitor levels properly, operators should go through a checklist, which includes checking the hydraulic fluid tank prior to every shift.

Why should I change hydraulic fluid every 1,000 hours of operation?

There are a variety of environments and variables that can affect the rate oil degrades. In lieu of performing an oil analysis every time you think you need to change your hydraulic fluid, most users stick to the manufacturer’s recommendation, which is based on years of service data. Keep in mind that if you decide not to change the hydraulic fluid for an extended amount of time, you risk the service life of every other component on the hydraulic system.

What hydraulic fluid for forklifts should I use?

It depends on your equipment and manufacturer. Consult your forklift operating manual for the specific fluid grade recommended for your particular forklift.

We also recommend paying close attention to the prescribed level to fill the tank. Thermal expansion can occur, which can in turn cause an oil spill and a safety hazard.

Can I change my hydraulic fluid or does my dealer need to?

Changing hydraulic fluid is a fairly simple task. However, we recommend a professional certified forklift technician perform the task. Toyota certified technicians are trained on all make and models of forklifts.

Original Post:  Samantha Horton, Content and Communications Consultant, Toyota Material Handling USA

Apr 08

If you’ve been at your business for a while, you can usually predict when busy seasons are going to strike. Advancements in supply chain forecasting measures have made it easier than ever to plan ahead for seasonality.

And while you may feel prepared to meet demands, all businesses are subject to conditions and circumstances beyond their control. Say you didn’t anticipate the popularity of a new product that was released. You may not have ever needed to handle this new volume of orders for this particular product. On the other hand, say you released a product during a holiday that turned out to have an incredibly high return rate. You’re now unprepared for the stress on the reverse supply chain when orders are returned in larger volumes than predicted. And while both of these situations can happen and can mess with your inventory projections and needs, you also have to consider the possibility of equipment breakdown. On deadline in the peak seasons, having an important piece of pallet moving equipment go down can be devastating to delivering products to customers in line with your promises.

I actually recommend you keep some backup equipment on hand to combat these possibilities. But whatever the circumstances, these unexpected turns can leave you in a position where you simply don’t have enough equipment available in your warehouse or distribution center to keep the products moving. You need additional material handling equipment that you can get quickly and without hassle.

As you begin to explore your options, you might find that the benefits of a Hand Pallet Truck (HPT) are precisely what you need. It is a small but reliable piece of equipment that can take on heavy loads – perfect for short-term influxes of product. Ordering a Toyota HPT directly from the Store makes the process even smoother.  Buy Now

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

Apr 04

Keeping a large inventory of spare parts on hand encroaches on both the budget and physical storage space of your business. What happens if your forklift goes down and you don’t have that critical spare part on hand? Your business suffers unnecessary downtime and you may be forced to pay outrageous freight costs to have the parts shipped to you overnight.

How do you determine which forklift parts are critical and which are not?

If you are looking to define a critical spare part, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What parts do you purchase most often? This should be your first consideration, especially if you have a fleet of several forklifts. Look back and determine which parts have been consistently replaced in the last few years and keep them in your on-site inventory.
  • If your forklift goes down, how quickly will you need the part? If you will need it immediately, then it is a critical part. If you have a backup forklift that can be used or another means of covering the downtime, then it would not be a critical part.
  • Will your business be halted or delayed if you don’t have the part? If the answer is yes to this question, then it is a critical part and must be kept in inventory.
  • How long will it take you to receive a part if ordered? Find out which parts your local Toyota Forklifts dealer keeps on hand and which ones have to be ordered. Doing so will help you determine how long it will take you to retrieve the new part.
  • If you need to have a part repaired, what is the average time it will take for your dealership to make the repair and have it returned? Contact your dealer and determine average repair times for those parts that you define as critical.

Have a backup plan. 

  • If you don’t have space for a large inventory of spare parts, work with Dillon Toyota Lift to make sure they have the parts on hand that are critical to your organization.
  • Keep a list of those critical parts posted so your technicians know what steps to take to procure that part.
  • If you are going to experience a lengthy downtime, will your dealer be able to provide a loaner?

By being prepared and determining which parts are critical, your business could save money and most importantly, time.

Original Post By:  Debi Stanton, Customer Satisfaction Administrator

Apr 01

Using forklifts effectively in any application requires assessing how they will work in concert with the other elements of your facility. From understanding your dock capabilities to making sure pallet racks and forklifts match up appropriately, a successful facility takes into account every touchpoint of forklifts in use.

An easy to overlook touchpoint that requires attention is facility flooring. Too often, operations that use forklifts experience unexpected damage to both product and equipment because floors become damaged. In this post, I’ll discuss some of the impacts of damaged floors on equipment and personnel, help identify some trouble areas on concrete floors, and discuss possible solutions to damaged flooring.

Concrete Floors and Forklift Ergonomics

The thing about forklifts? They’re aren’t equipped with the suspension system of a luxury SUV. When you roll over a bump while driving a forklift, you’re going to feel it. And while Toyota forklifts are ergonomically designed for operators’ optimal comfort, a floor that’s fallen into disrepair will place stress and strain on an operators’ body. Maintaining a floor inspection schedule is key to preventing damage. But if you’re an operator and you see or feel floor damage, make sure your report it.

Concrete Floors and Forklift or Product Damage

Most forklifts that operate indoors will have cushion tires, and cushion tires are not manufactured to withstand uneven terrain. Uneven terrain includes flooring surfaces where chunks of floor are missing or general rough patches are present. When you continually drive cushion tires on a damaged floor, you’re likely to shorten the intervals between necessary tire replacement, placing strain on the forklift and on your budget.

Damaged floors might also be hazardous for the products you’re moving. Not only will driving over damaged floors cause less than optimal work conditions for your operators, it increases the risk of product spills if items fall from pallets due to traveling over the uneven terrain. Even something as seemingly negligible as increased vibration of products on a pallet can damage certain types of materials. Making sure your floors receive optimal care helps protect your investment in the product.

An even bigger investment might be your forklifts; those capital investments need protection, too. Forklifts are designed to have a low center of gravity, so there are many points on a forklift such as under the mast and chassis where under clearance is minimal. If a clearance assessment was made prior to acquiring the forklift, this may have been done prior to any flooring damage. Should floors later become damaged, you might not have the necessary clearance, potentially increasing impacts on the forklift. Such sudden impacts caused by poor flooring conditions can also damage internal forklift components over time, potentially causing a forklift to become unstable.

One helpful preventive measure? Toyota’s T-matics solution can be installed on most Toyota equipment to monitor for impacts and assess where they occur. If there is damaged floor where impacts are occurring often, T-matics might be able to help you identify the problem.

Concrete Floors Inspection Tip: Check the Joints

Performing a regular visual inspection of your floors is highly recommended. One main problem area that requires frequent inspection are the joints between concrete slabs. Because these are inherent weak points in the floor and receive pull away pressure from the weight of forklifts, they are likely to be the first places that fall into disrepair from natural wear and tear. Replacing concrete joints when they become damaged might seem like a costly investment. However, the long-term ROI of less forklift repair and more efficient operations makes the investment worthwhile.

Concrete Floors and Friction

The condition of your concrete floors goes even beyond the damage that they undergo due to wear and tear. You must also consider how friction plays a role in several critical forklift functions. When floors are wet or slick due to spills or chemicals that are used, it reduces the friction of the tire surface with the ground. This can have a significant impact on a forklift’s ability to stop or accelerate effectively, which can be an eminent safety hazard. It is imperative that floor surfaces are cleaned properly and allowed to dry before attempting to drive over them. Ensuring that the floor is also free of debris and any obstructions will help to avoid potentially unsafe driving situations. Be sure to thoroughly read and understand your forklift’s operator manual for more information regarding proper floor conditions for your particular piece of equipment.

Whatever you plan strategically to make sure your floors stay in top condition, having an inspection plan in place is key to success. Material handling investments work hand in hand with facility investments, right from the ground up.

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

Mar 20

Toyota at ProMat: Experience the Material Handling Revolution

ProMat is the premiere event for material handling leaders, where the best operations are seeking innovative solutions from fellow experts in the field. It’s the forefront of the industry’s future. Toyota Material Handling has evolved from its roots to meet diverse challenges and adapt to the market. At ProMat 2019, we’re introducing more than the next evolution of forklifts. We’re starting a revolution of the way you think about material handling solutions. When you visit TMHU at ProMat, you’ll see what next level innovation is all about. 

Chicago is the exciting location of ProMat 2019! Toyota Material Handling wants to help as you make plans and book travel accommodations in the Windy City. Follow the link below to locate the ProMat Expo’s official travel recommendations and information. And while you’re at the show, come see Toyota Material Handling at booths S1003 or S603 and receive a free gift!


Mar 18

Your business is growing and you either need to expand your current warehouse or build a new warehouse to support your growth. Sounds like a good problem to have! At least, until you have to decide what type of pallet racking system you need to install. In its simplest form, a pallet racking system is a material storage system. Pallet racking helps you stay organized within your warehouse and better manage you inventory. Choosing pallet racking, however, is not as simple as selecting a pallet rack brand and installing it. There several racking types that help you meet your needs. The type of racking you choose depends on a few criteria:

  • How tall the racking needs to be
  • What goods will be stored
  • What the floor plan will be
  • What type of inventory management system makes sense for your product and operation
  • What types of forklifts you currently use or forklifts you intend to switch to

Types of Pallet Racking: Selective Racking

Selective racking systems are some of the most common and widely used racking systems, mainly because they are less expensive and easier to install than other, more specialized racking systems. Selective racking is great for warehouses that store a large amount of stock keeping units (SKUs). Selective pallet racking is usually a single-deep pallet rack. This type of racking makes any given pallet in the rack system accessible without having to move another pallet.

Types of Pallet Racking: Cantilever Racking

Cantilever Racking systems are used to store items that cannot be easily stored on pallets. Warehouses that use cantilever rack, usually store longer and heavier items to be stored horizontally across multiple arms (like lumber or steel pipes). Pallet racks, on the other hand, have vertical uprights that limit the length of stored items. This is the primary difference between cantilever racking and pallet racking.

Types of Pallet Racking: Pallet Flow Racking

Pallet flow racking systems are also referred to as “gravity flow” racking systems. Pallet flow racking systems are best suited for the first-in, first-out (FIFO) inventory management methodology. When you load a pallet from the loading aisle and onto the lane rollers, gravity allows the pallet to roll to the front of the system. When the pallet is removed from the front of the racking system, the pallets behind roll to the front of the lane. Pallet flow racking allows for high-density storage while maintaining FIFO. Some pallet flow racking systems may hold up to 20 pallets deep in one lane, minimizing the number of aisles needed to store items while maintaining efficient inventory turnover.

Types of Pallet Racking: Push Back Racking

Push back racking systems is another high density storage option, with the ability to store up to six pallets deep on either side of an aisle. There are usually three carts stacked on top of each other.  The first pallet is loaded from the front in a push back racking system and sits on the top cart. When the second pallet is loaded, it pushes the top cart with the first pallet back. Push back racking gives you higher density storage than selective racking systems, while allowing you more selectivity with storing items than other types of racking, meaning you can store more SKUs.

Types of Pallet Racking: Drive-In Racking

Drive-In racking systems are great for storing large volumes of just a few SKUs and can also be configured to manage inventory with FIFO or last-in, first-out (LIFO). With drive-in racking, the forklift literally drives into the racking system to move a pallet. This type of pallet racking system is cost effective by maximizing the amount of storage space in your warehouse.

Choosing between these types of racking systems will depend on the various goals of your operation and the relevant inventory data like volume and throughput. No matter your decision, always be sure that this racking is installed safely and effectively to increase productivity.  Dillon Toyota Lift's Warehouse Solutions team is here to help from start to finish.  


Warehouse Racking Solutions

Original post by:  Kenny Trusnik, Marketing Systems & eCommerce Specialist, Toyota Material Handling, USA


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