Technical Article: Trailer and Tugger Benefits

Utilization of a tugger with a train of trailers is the most popular and affordable trend today in managing your material handling logistics. With a single operator on the tugger, one is able to tow a train of trailers carrying a large capacity of parts, goods, products, packages, or components fore and aft in plants, centers, factories, and terminals.

As the best logistical solution, a tugger with a train of trailers holds the key to greater savings, higher output, less traffic, more flexibility, and better safety than the traditional alternative of using forklifts or lift trucks. The benefits of a tugger with a train of trailers is likewise superior to the capital intense fixed systems (automated conveying systems).

Consider just a few of the benefits provided by utilizing a tugger with a train of trailers:

The saving benefits are two-fold; equipment and manpower. The “Tugger & Trailer” concept requires less capital equipment investment when compared with the traditional alternative of using forklifts or lift trucks. The reduction in manpower utilization is significantly less when comparing a tugger with a train of trailers Vs. forklifts or lift trucks. The saving benefits significantly favor the “Tugger & Trailer” concept.

The “Tugger & Trailer” concept offers higher yield and output by utilizing the most efficient method for transporting loads fore and aft. The tugger with a train of trailers provides excellent space utilization with the use of QUAD-STEER trailers, which offers positive tracking and trailing with precision steering geometry to follow the exact path of the tow vehicle (tugger) providing optimal maneuverability.

The “Tugger & Trailer” concept eliminates traffic bottlenecks by reducing the pieces of equipment (forklifts) required for material load transfer. The lower cost train of trailers are able to transport more load volume and weight in less trips compared with transporting loads utilizing traditional forklifts or lift trucks. Less traffic congestion on the floor space will prevent less equipment and product damage.

The “Tugger & Trailer” concept allows for adaptation to changing production methods, product mix, or even a complete change of plans. The trailers are able to transport many different shapes and sizes; even odd shapes and sizes of goods for both internal or external usage. The trailer allows for creative and innovative options, changes, revisions, variations, adjustments, alterations, and modifications.

The operator of a tugger and train of trailers has no frontal view obstruction because the operator sits in front with the towed load behind. The operator of a forklift or lift truck has restricted frontal visibility due to the mask and transport load. Having unrestricted frontal visibility when driving in a busy congested facility makes the operation safer.

The following diagram illustrates the “LOAD TRANSFER” differences between utilizing a tugger and a train of trailers Vs. forklifts or lift trucks. The comparison looks at a simultaneous dispatch of a load of eight (8) pallets @ 2,000 Lbs. each for a total of 16,000 Lbs. of load transfer. Each dispatch will include loading and unloading the pallets with identical travel path and distance.

Benefit Analysis
The Load Transfer Diagram – Compares “Tugger and Trailers” Vs. “Forklifts” or Lift Trucks (Forklifts has been the most traditional method of material handling system)

Load Transfer Comparison

Tuggers & trailers vs. Forklifts or Worktrucks
Simultaneous Dispatch
8 Pallets = Total 16,000 pounds
Tuggers & trailers Forklifts & Worktrucks

Equipment Requirement:

1 - Tugger
4 - Trailers (4,000 Lbs. Capacity) Quad-Steer
2 - Forklifts (4,000 Lbs. Capacity)

Workforce Requirement (Personnel):

1 - Tugger Operator
1 - Forklift Operator – Loading
1 - Forklift Operator - Unloading

Equipment Requirement:
8 - Forklifts (4,000 Lbs Capacity)

Workforce Requirement (Personnel):
8 - Forklift Operators – Loading/Unloading

Based on the benefit analysis, the tugger and train of trailers is clearly the most cost effective and efficient method or concept for managing your material handling logistics. Today, many industries and companies are beginning or continuing to realize the significant financial benefits of replacing, switching, or mixing their existing operations with a tugger and train of trailers.


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