Tow Tractors drive ahead
The German materials handling equipment manufacturer Jungheinrich says it expects sales of its tow tractors to double in 2010 as demand increases as a result of changing trends in manufacturing industry.
“Many manufacturing companies are reconfiguring their internal logistics systems to maximise efficiency of line-side parts delivery processes,” says Oilver Rosenthal, Group Product Manager, Tow Tractors. “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,” says Rosenthal. “They drop off a full SKU [stock-keeping unit] 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, which 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 its range of electric-powered tow tractors in capacities from one to 25 tonnes at its factory in Lueneburg, Germany. In the Republic of Ireland, the full range of Jungheinrich materials handling equipment is marketed from the German company’s Irish subsidiary based at Maynooth Business Campus, Co Kildare.