What is an electric tug?
An electric tug is a battery-powered machine designed to move heavy-wheeled loads. They are known by many names such as ‘electric tows’, ‘electric tow tugs’, ‘pedestrian tugs’ and ‘powered tugs’.
As a type of material handling equipment (MHE), electric tugs are used extensively within industrial manufacturing environments and in sectors such as retail, biopharmaceuticals, waste handling and more.
Using electric tugs enables businesses to create processes that are more efficient and safer, enabling a single operator to push, pull and stop heavy loads.
With compact designs, electric tugs are the ideal solution for moving large loads in tight spaces - guaranteeing total manoeuvrability.
Benefits of an electric tug
Electric tow tugs can be found in industrial manufacturing environments across the globe, but what benefits do they deliver?
Industrial tugs - An alternative solution to…
Traditional handling equipment – Forklift trucks & electric tow tractors
By keeping loads safely on the ground, electric tugs offer an effective alternative to traditional material handling equipment such as forklift trucks, pallet trucks and overhead cranes.
With a compact machine footprint, many businesses are opting for electric tow tugs as an alternative to an electric tow tractor to deliver the precise movement of loads in tight or congested areas.
Manual handling solutions
Where wheeled loads were moved manually, an industrial electric tug takes the strain – increasing safety and reducing the risk of injuries and musculoskeletal disorders.
Choosing the right electric tug
Material handling tugs are specified on an application basis to ensure any solution delivers quantifiable safety and efficiency gains for you right out of the box. With a wide range of electric tugs on the market, there a number of key factors that can influence which is right for you:
When looking at electric tugs, it’s important to consider how the equipment will connect to your load.
Couplings are the essential part that facilitates this connection, and their design dictates how secure your equipment and load are during transportation.
We offer a range of coupling options across our range of electric tugs:
Material types & environmental ratings
The construction material needed for an electric tug or specialist environmental protection such as required ingress protection (IP) or explosion-proofing all impact the specification.
Specific electric tugs are designed around certain applications. For example:
Electric tugs vs electric tow tugs
The phrases electric tug and electric tow tug are often used interchangeably, leading to confusion around what the differences are.
The two terms describe two different machine designs designed for different jobs...
Traction is essential when it comes to moving heavy loads and the key difference between an electric tug and an electric tow tug is how they generate traction and in turn, move loads.
Electric tugs utilise a weight transfer system and a specialist coupling set-up designed to get your load moving, steer it, and bring it to a controlled stop. Weight transfer involves a machine transferring an element of the loads weight down onto the drive wheel of the machine to gain traction, allowing compact machines to move very heavy weights.
Unlike tugs, which utilise a weight transfer system to generate traction, an electric tow ultimately uses its own weight to gain traction and get loads moving.
Technology & control options
Electric tugs are available with various technology and control options, designed to maximise the benefits of safety and efficiency. From pedestrian operated electric tugs to fully autonomous solutions - there are electric tow tug solutions to meet every requirement.
Remote control operation provides operators with complete flexibility, allowing them to take up the ideal vantage point when making a movement delivering maximum visibility.
Innovative MultiLink technology on our PowerSteered range allows multiple machines (up to 12) to work in synchronisation via one remote control, perfect for the movement of large, awkward loads that require precise positioning.
Take advantage of Line Follow navigation on AGV electric tugs to easily automate the repeated movement of heavy loads to drive operational efficiency. Or benefit from a totally integrated and autonomous solution with a full AGV system that utilises intuitive natural navigation.
Electric tow tug safety features & options
Any material handling equipment needs to maximise operator safety, particularly when moving heavy loads within congested and pedestrianised areas.
Our high-quality electric tow tugs boast all the safety features detailed below, ensuring that operators and pedestrians remain safe at all times.
Your questions, answered - FAQs
- Load weight and route
- Run speed
- Battery specification/size
- Environmental conditions such as temperature
No, you do not need a licence to use an electric tug. This is one of the many reasons industrial manufacturers are increasingly opting for electric tugs to create fork-fee environments.
Unlike forklift trucks, electric tow tugs don’t lift loads, so they do not fall under LOLER regulations (Lifting Operations ad Lifting Equipment Regulations, 1998).
With an electric tug, you no longer need to wait for the availability of a licensed forklift truck driver to move a load.
Like any battery, the battery life of an electric tug or electric tow is determined by usage, specification, and environmental factors. Battery life can be influenced by variables such as:
We provide a runtime figure on each of our product pages.
Yes, all MasterMover machines will work on slopes. The maximum angle our tugs are capable of clearing, on average, is 8°.
It is important to remember that for every degree of slope involved, the maximum load capacity of the machine is reduced, just as pushing a car on the level requires less force than on a slope.
Therefore, if the weight of the load is already close to the maximum capacity of the machine a more powerful tug may be needed to move the load on a slope.
Yes, all our electric tow tugs are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Our AllTerrain tow tug range is the ideal solution for the most challenging of environments.
For applications where a standard solution isn’t the right fit, we have a dedicated engineering team on hand to create custom solutions. With 25 years of industry experience in providing customised solutions, you’re in safe hands with MasterMover.