The popular 1-3 tonne Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) model 8 series of forklifts has a much smaller footprint, lower engine emissions and considerably reduced vibration levels.
According to brand manager, Toyota products Bob Walmsley, enhancement to the Toyota 8 Series also includes a considerably improved operator environment and greater levels of safety.
“The Toyota system of active stability, (SAS), where an operator is assisted in controlling the stability of the machine, was introduced for the 7 Series,” he says.
“The 8 Series has seen the next generation of the SAS system.”
Mid last year TMHA enhanced its Series 8 SAS system with load handling and travel functions, an innovation which allows the system to register how heavy a load is on the forks and how high the forks are positioned.
“The system will actually control some of the vehicle dynamics according to a given load and height,” Walmsley explains. “So with a relatively heavy load at a position high up the mast, the machine will automatically limit how quickly the operator can accelerate the machine.”
“For example, the system can prevent loose boxes on a pallet from falling off,” Walmsley says.
“It will limit the top speed of the machine relative to the weight and the height of the load, which we see as a very positive advancement to safety.”
“Vision around the perimeter of the machine is also substantially improved, which is directly related to how comfortable the operator is, and the length of his attention span,” Walmsley adds.
“Greater levels of comfort translate to a higher level of attention.”
According to Walmsley, Toyota’s technology introduced worldwide is unique in the Australian market.
“We don’t rest on our laurels,” he says.
“Toyota continues to conduct customer and dealer surveys to ensure our process is consultative.”
“For example, prior to commencing the design of the 8 Series, we consulted industries in North American and Oceania very extensively.”
“Over 5,000 customer and dealer surveys were conducted to identify customer needs, industry trends and current and proposed legislation.”
Walmsley also says Toyota is continuing to extensively research hybrid vehicles, or those combining IC with battery power, and hydrogen fuel cells.
“Although the technology of hydrogen fuel cells is proven, at the moment it’s not an environmentally friendly process to manufacture or to source hydrogen,” Walmsley says.
“It’s not until we’re able to source or create hydrogen from in a sustainable way, that fuel cells will ultimately be practical.”
While Australia is a relatively small market, Bob Walmsley says its one that’s very important to Toyota.
“Australia is Toyota’s second largest market outside of Japan in terms of market share,” he says.
“This country has a larger market participation than many of the larger European countries, for instance.
Australia’s importance is proven by the fact that Toyota has purchased the key distribution function in Australia. We are now the importer, distributor and dealer.”
With the integration of BT and Raymond lift trucks into Toyota successfully achieved, the focus for the company is the promotion of its product range in the Australian market.
In January this year, TMHA took mission rights direct for control of the Raymond supply chain including import, parts support and distribution, and technical training on a national basis.
“BT is well established with a very strong market share in Australia,” says national product manager, electric products Stuart Warren.
“While the Raymond product is number one in the US market, Toyota hasn’t been in a position to fully concentrate on raising its profile until now.”
“TMHA is now a one-stop shop from factory to end-user,” says Stuart Warren, “and that’s now our main focus.
Our market will now enjoy the full support it’s looking for from the three product ranges TMHA offers.”
Bob Walmsley says the fact that TMHA now brings wholesale, import and retail into a single company means that the supply chain functions more effectively.
“Taking links out of the chain has already reduced costs, increased the speed to market, and the effectiveness of communication,” he says.
“We’re right at the coalface and it puts us in a position to really partner with end users throughout our retail and rental fleets.”
According to Walmsley, Toyota’s strategy is to keep on doing what the company does best and try to improve on it. “Again, it’s just a case of remaining close to the market,” he says.
“Given our international presence, we can identify trends and needs and impending legislation that might still be some way off in Australia.”
“For example safety legislation and carbon emissions requirements are often more stringent in north America and Europe compared with Australia.”
“Generally TMHA will adopt those more stringent practices in to the Australian market before we’re legally required to.”
Stuart Warren concurs. “Our strength is in our product range,” he says.
“TMHA has the ability to provide any solution, whether it’s a combination of all three brands or a blend of one range. Many suppliers in Australia offer good European equipment, but TMGA has a strong focus on both.”