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!  


Sep 25

Doing more with less has become more important than ever in the warehousing industry. While manufacturing and distribution centers are on the rise in the United States, companies are uncovering new challenges when it comes to their warehouse space. There is a need to fit increasing volumes of products into the same warehouse buildings. How are we supposed to do this? Packing all of your product into smaller spaces usually calls for Narrow Aisles (NA) or Very Narrow Aisles (VNA) solutions.

General Aisle Widths

A typical aisle measures 10 ½ feet or more. While narrow aisles range anywhere from 8 ½ to 10 ½ feet, very narrow aisles may be only as wide as 5 to 7 feet. This is why NAs and VNAs can be a challenge when putting product away or stacking orders. Normally, counterbalance forklifts do not fit in these types of spaces, and even if they did, they would not have a tight enough turn radius to avoid hitting the racking. Below are some of the options you can look at to help you solve you narrow aisle problems.

3 Wheel Electric Forklift

The 3 Wheel Electric Forklift is great for narrow aisles. It leads the industry in run time, travel speed, and lift/lowering speeds. Having just one wheel in back allows for a tighter turn radius meaning it doesn’t need as much room as a four-wheel forklift to turn. The 3 Wheel Electric is also available in a “short” model, making it an even better fit for those compact areas. But just because it is smaller doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful. This forklift can lift up to 4,000 lbs.!

6 Series Order Picker

Toyota’s Order Picker is manufactured for specific applications. Order pickers are used to help employees reach goods stored on high racking, but does not necessarily stack products. There is a platform where an operator stands to pick things off of the shelves and place them on the pallet in front of them (that also raises and lowers with the operator). Order pickers allow for very narrow aisles, because they do not need to turn for an operator to put things away. They just reach from side to side, making things accessible for your operator.

Electric Reach Truck

The last piece of equipment we are going to touch on is the Electric Reach Truck. This forklift allows you to put pallets behind each other, by “reaching” out. It comes in a single- or double-reach model, helping you utilize your space more efficiently. The other benefit to using this machine is its ability to lift up to almost 30 feet! And its lift capacity of 4,500 lbs., is ready to take on heavy loads.

These are just a few of the options that Toyota Forklifts offers for those tricky narrow aisles. Take a look at the infographic below to get an idea of the complete range of narrow-aisle equipment available to you. Remember, if you need help deciding on what product is right for you, contact Dillon Toyota Lift, and we will gladly assist you.

Written by:  Lucas Collom, Digital Projects Administrator, Toyota Material Handling, USA

Sep 17

The Tora-Max Electric Pallet Jack Max Savings Event has been EXTENDED!   Now through December 14, 2018 you can purchase a new Tora-Max TWB40 for $2,699 or as low as $63/month.  With a 4,000 lb. load capacity, you can let your new jack do the heavy lifting.  

• Valid July 16 - December 14, 2018
• Tora-Max Walkie Pallet Jack (Model TWB40)
• Includes 24V Battery and 48" Forks
• Shipping Included in Price

Sep 04

Between scratches, dents, and replaced parts, a forklifts can undergo a lot of changes and repairs throughout its lifetime. It’s also common for customers to want to add additional features to a forklift after it arrives. How do you know for sure if the modification is acceptable or how it will ultimately affect your forklift’s safe operation? Here are a few helpful tips based on common misconceptions to help guide you down the right path.

ANSI B56.1 Regulations

One common misconception is that you don’t need permission to make changes to a forklift. While it’s true that not all modifications require approval, per ANSI B56.1 Section 4.2.1, there are some that do:

“Except as provided in para. 4.2.2, no modifications or alterations to a powered industrial truck that may affect the capacity, stability, or safe operation of the truck shall be made without the prior written approval of the original truck manufacturer or its successor thereof. When the truck manufacturer or its successor approves a modification or alteration, appropriate changes shall be made to capacity plates, labels, tags, and operation and maintenance manuals.”

To put this paragraph in simpler terms, it is stating that if the modification could affect the truck’s lifting capacity, stability, or safe operation, then you should seek prior written approval from the truck manufacturer to make the change. If you’re ever unsure if a modification will require approval, make sure to work with your local, authorized Toyota dealer to confirm. They can also assist with ordering and installing new data plates as necessary.

Some of the common modifications that require approval per this regulation include:

  1. Drilling or cutting into the overhead guard or hood
  2. Changing attachments, forks, masts, or tire types
  3. Swapping counterweights
  4. Modifications that affect visibility

UL Rating

Many forklifts conform to or are certified for a certain Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) rating. There are also options available that modify a forklift to meet other UL rating standards so that they can be safely operated in certain types of environments. The UL rating certification verifies that the forklift and its configuration have been approved by UL to comply with these standards.

What many people don’t know is that any change to a forklift’s electrical, exhaust, or fuel system (among others) can void the UL rating of the truck. Changes as simple as swapping a wiring harness or installing a new strobe light can actually cause the forklift to no longer meet UL’s set standards. Fortunately, many items can be installed in the field by a Toyota technician without affecting UL classification.

If you need to replace an existing part, replacing it with the same manufacturer’s part as instructed by the manufacturer will typically not void the UL rating. For parts being added that aren’t replacing existing ones, it is important that the parts be approved by UL as a field installable option.  Manufacturers of approved field installable options for forklifts can be found on UL’s website. These pre-approved parts are specific when it comes to the brand/model of the part and the forklift, so it’s important to pay attention to this prior to making any changes. Just because a part is “UL approved” or “UL listed” does not mean that installing it will not void the UL rating of your forklift.

Finally, if a part is being installed or a modification is being made that isn’t pre-approved, UL can send out a field representative to observe the modification being performed. They may also need to test the truck afterwards to determine if it meets their requirements and, if it passes, they can grant their approval for it to maintain the UL rating. For general UL related questions or to schedule a UL visit, you can contact them on their support line at 877-UL HELPS.

When in doubt, it’s best to verify with a professional who is knowledgeable on the subject prior to making any changes to your forklifts. Regardless of the change you are wanting to make, be sure to contact Dillon Toyota Lift for professional advice and support throughout the entire process.

- Trinton Castetter, Product Marketing Specialist, Toyota Material Handling, USA

Aug 21

Thinking of purchasing a Toyota forklift? In 2018, congress expanded the Section 179 tax deduction limit to $1 million on qualifying material handling equipment – including forklifts. So now may be the time to buy!

How Does Section 179 Work?

In previous years, businesses typically wrote off their equipment a little at a time through depreciation.  The Section 179 Deduction allows your business to write off the entire purchase price of qualifying equipment for the current tax year, up to $1 million.  Use this calculator to help estimate your tax savings and see how the Section 179 Tax Deduction can make a difference to your bottom line at the end of the year.  Consult your tax advisor to determine if you qualify and if this deduction is right for you.


How Much Money Can I Save?

The amount of money you save depends on the amount of qualifying equipment purchased and put into use in the qualifying year.

Is There a Deadline?

Yes! Qualifying equipment must be purchased or financed AND put into service before midnight on December 31, 2018.

Does all Toyota Forklift Equipment Qualify?

The IRS allows for Section 179 depreciation on qualifying equipment, including forklifts, used in a business or income-producing activity. Consult your tax advisor for more information.

Contact Us for questions and to take advantage of the year-end tax savings.  

Aug 20

Forklifts are used every day all over the world to move material and keep supply chains up and running. Nearly everything you see has come into contact with a forklift at some point along the way.  Any individual who operates a forklift is required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to undergo forklift operator safety training and to be certified on every different type of forklift an operator drives. When you take an operator safety training course with Dillon Toyota Lift, here are some of the things you’ll learn:

1.Who can operate a forklift?  Only trained, qualified operators should ever operate a forklift.

2. The difference between forklifts and automobiles.  Forklifts are different from automobiles. While at first glance it may not seem to be the case, a forklift weighs much more than a car or truck. The steer wheels are in the back meaning they steer differently.

3. How to enter and exit a forklift.  A three point stance should be used when both entering and exiting a forklift. Two hands and one foot should be in contact with the forklift at all times.

4. How to read a forklift data plate.  All forklifts should have a legible, accurate data plate. For each special attachment, a data plate reflecting changes in load capacity should also be secured to the forklift.

5. The operation of a loaded versus an unloaded forklift.  A loaded forklift is more stable than an unloaded forklift because of the change of location of the combined center of gravity.

6. The role of pedestrians in safe forklift operation.  Pedestrians play a role in forklift safety, just as operators do. Pedestrians should understand and be aware of the operating characteristics of forklifts as well as the environment they share with the forklifts.  It should never be assumed that the pedestrian is seen by the operator.

7. The necessity of pre-operation forklift inspections.  It is required that all operators perform pre-operation inspections to identify that all forklift systems work properly before being placed into service. Engines, transmissions, brakes, mast and hydraulics, electrical systems, accessories, etc. should all be in working order. If not, the forklift should be tagged out/removed from service, and appropriate repairs should be made prior to operating the forklift.

8. How to operate a forklift on ramps.  Some forklifts should not be operated on ramps. Always refer to the appropriate forklift operator manual for instructions on correct ramp operation.

9. How forklift safety is reinforced.  Each employer must reinforce safety rules and practices as well as correct unsafe operator behavior.

There is much more to forklift operator safety training than just taking a test.  While a test is involved in operator safety training, trainees will also watch formal training videos and participate in hands-on forklift demonstrations and supervised equipment operation.  Contact Dillon Toyota Lift to schedule your training class. 

Aug 17

Electricity and water don’t mix, until it’s time for forklift battery maintenance and is crucial for proper battery function in electric forklifts.

Improper water levels can lower battery life and reduce cycle time between charges, decreasing your forklift’s effectiveness while increasing energy and maintenance costs.

In modern lead acid batteries that run most electric forklifts, water fills the individual cells to ensure a functional mix of the chemicals and electrolytes that power the equipment. Should water levels dip too low in your forklift battery, it can cause preventable damage to your equipment. Improper water levels can lower battery life and reduce cycle time between charges, decreasing your forklift’s effectiveness while increasing energy and maintenance costs. To prevent this damage, you should do the following:

Water the battery after charging. Unless the metal plates of the individual cells are exposed, watering before charging can cause overflows and electrolyte imbalance. If the plates are exposed, top the battery enough to cover them, recharge, and then complete regular watering after charging.

Use pure or distilled water. Water that is dirty or filled with particulates can cause electrolyte imbalances and damage the battery. Distilled water isn’t usually needed so long as pure, clean water is used.

If available, use a single-point watering system. They save you time and make sure water levels are appropriate in all battery cells.

Avoid lengthy exposure to cold temperatures. If water freezes in your batteries, it can damage them.

New forklift batteries can be expensive. The proper maintenance and handling of a forklift battery is imperative to their longevity and will ensure your investment is maximized.

Aug 16

Forklifts don’t have a traditional suspension system so the entire weight of the forklift and its load rests on the tires. Your average 5,000 lb. capacity forklift actually has to support up over 11,000 lbs. of weight on the front tires when fully loaded which is no small feat. Using a forklift with tires that need to be replaced can damage your forklift and create a dangerous environment for your operator as well as others nearby. Tires that need to be replaced can cause your forklift to be unstable. Riding in a forklift that needs to have its tires changed is uncomfortable for the operator and can lead to fatigue and mistakes.

Because tires that need to be replaced can become a hazard, it’s important to know how to tell when it’s time to change yours. During your pre-shift inspection, make sure to look for these warning signs that your tires may need to be replaced and contact Dillon Toyota Lift for assistance if any of them are detected.

Tires worn over the wear line. Many forklift tires have a wear line, often called the 50% wear line. When the wear of your tires reaches that line, it’s time to replace.

Chunking. If pieces, or chunks, of your forklift tires are falling off, that’s a good sign you need to replace them.

Tearing on the tires. Similar to chunking, if your tires are tearing off in spots, they need to be replaced.

Flat Spots. Your tires should be round, if they’re flat in any place, it’s time to replace them.

When inspecting your tires also make sure to check if there are any uneven signs of wear on each individual tire and between tires on the front and rear and on the left and right side. There could be an underlying issue that is causing premature wear due to the forklift’s condition or the application. Be sure to check your rims for any bending as they may need to be replaced as well. Tire pressure on air-filled, pneumatic tires should also be maintained at the manufacturer’s recommended level.

State and Federal law requires that you be fully trained and qualified to before performing maintenance on wheels and tires. Dillon Toyota Lift’s certified technicians are available to assist you with recognizing potential issues and with maintenance and repair. 
- Trinton Castetter, Product Marketing Specialist, Toyota Material Handling, USA

Sep 29

When inventor Sakichi Toyoda successfully pioneered the automatic loom, he laid the foundation for Toyota Industries and our commitment to kaizen, continuous improvement. For nearly a century, the Toyota name has been synonymous with excellence in quality and innovation with the inventor’s spirit at the heart of our business.

It took only eight years after establishing Toyoda Automatic Loom Works Co., Ltd. – known today as Toyota Industries Corporation – before Toyota produced its first engine in 1934: the A-type engine for automobiles.

But I’m sure if you’re reading this blog you know that Toyota makes much more than cars. In 1956, Toyota began producing forklift engines, a new chapter in the story of Toyota Industries. As material handling needs evolved, so did Toyota’s role in the game. Heavy duty applications called for equipment tough and robust enough to take on high capacity needs. And at the core of these powerful workhorses needed to be an engine with the durability and grit to deliver reliable life and power.

In 1986, Toyota introduced a forklift engine that could take on these heavy duty challenges: The 4Y industrial engine. Carefully designed and engineered through the core practices of the Toyota Production System, this engine set a new standard of excellence within the material handling industry. Today, millions of these engines have been produced and can be found in forklifts, compressors, gas heat pumps, and more.

But most important, these engines are at the heart of Toyota’s internal combustion forklifts, making them some of the most dependable pieces of equipment on the market. Don’t believe me? The 4Y Engine has helped Toyota forklifts achieve more than 35,000 life cycle operator hours with ease. Some have even reached over 80,000 hours.

It’s an engine that is built to perform, but also engineered with sustainability in mind. The 4Y engine’s emissions system filters carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, and nitrogen oxide gases, allowing it to surpass federal EPA emission standards.

The 4Y engine is a testament to Toyota’s commitment to the pursuit of improvement and of its dedication to creating a more sustainable future.

Want to learn more about the 4Y engine? Check out this video on 4Y’s perks and history or this video about how the 4Y improves Toyota forklift operation.

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