Leading materials handling equipment manufacturer Jungheinrich expects sales of its range of tow tractors to double in 2010.
The increase in demand is a result of changing trends in manufacturing industry.
"Many manufacturing companies are reconfiguring their internal logistics systems to maximise efficiency of lineside parts delivery processes," says Oilver Rosenthal, Group Product Manager, Tow Tractors.
Oliver Rosenthal continues: "In a lot of cases, manufacturers are adopting the ‘milk run’ principle as the most efficient way of getting parts to the production line. This involves delivery of parts on a defined route around the factory, often to a set timetable."
"In simple terms, tow tractors leave the warehouse with a full load of parts. They drop off a full SKU of parts at the production line and take-away an empty SKU for replenishment. This system was first used in the automotive sector but is being adopted by smaller companies across a range of industries as the ‘scheduled’ parts delivery service approach gives greater structure to the production process."
He adds: "Manufacturers have realised that tow tractors can work in narrow aisles and allow several loads to be transported by one vehicle. This means a saving in personnel. Also, when it comes to changing the layout of a factory, stationary conveyors – which have traditionally been used to deliver parts to the production line – are very inflexible."
Jungheinrich builds a range of electric-powered tow tractors in capacities from one to 25 tonnes at its factory in Lueneburg, Germany. No other manufacturer is believed to offer such a wide range of tow tractors. Models in the range feature fourth generation AC motors for high productivity and low running costs, and are built with the same quality components that are used in forklift truck manufacture.