Pedestrian Operated vs. Remote Control

Material handling electric tuggers

Electric tuggers are designed to improve the safety and efficiency of moving heavy, wheeled loads.
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An introduction

As technology has developed, operators can now choose from a number of control options on electric tow tugs, such as a remote control or even AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle) solutions that require no operator

But, with this new level of choice, how do you work out which is right for you?

In this blog we’ll cover:

MasterTug MT1500 moving a rock crusher component

What is a pedestrian-operated electric tugger?

An electric tugger is a battery-powered type of material handling equipment that moves heavy-wheeled loads. Pedestrian-operated electric tuggers or walkie tuggers are the most common and traditional design of tugger on the market.


What is a remote control electric tugger?

With a remote control electric tugger, the user uses a wireless remote control to operate the machine. This provides all the same functionalities as the headset on the machine but with the added benefit of increased mobility and a more hands-off approach.

Fundamentally, using a remote control releases the operator from standing next to the load.

What are the benefits?

The benefits of a pedestrian-operated electric tow tug

A pedestrian-operated design allows a single operator to easily handle loads of up to 44,000 lbs. The operator controls, steers and maneuvers the electric tugger directly through the headset on the machine.

The benefits of a remote control operation

Operators can position themselves to have an ideal vantage point when moving a load by operating the machine with a remote control, moving with the load or having different viewing positions during a movement.

This simplifies operations, such as coupling to the load, maneuvering in tight areas, and maximizing visibility when moving large and cumbersome loads.

Using a remote control also transforms the operation into a completely ‘hands-off’ operation, delivering the effortless movement of loads.

Where required, with remote control operation a second control unit can be made available, featuring only an emergency stop function. This allows a second operator or ‘banksman’ to view the movement of a large load and stop that movement if they detect a risk.

Pedestrian operated vs remote control

Here are some of the features and consideration for choosing the right control method for your application

Pedestrian operated tugger

  • Suitable for moving wheeled loads
  • Operator steers the load through the machine controls
  • Intuitive operator controls deliver easy operation from the headset
  • An additional member of staff may be required when maneuvering larger loads through tight spaces

Remote control tugger

  • Perfectly suited to longer, awkward, or especially large loads
  • Completely hands-off with the operator steering the machine through the remote control unit
  • Improved visibility and positioning in tight spaces
  • Easier to couple and connect to loads
  • Option for MultiLink Technology, with multiple electric tuggers being used in sync under the control of a single operator. Offering a scalable solution to move over 154,000 lbs.
MasterMover remote control handset

Is a remote control always required?

Operating electric tuggers using a remote control offers an unrivaled experience when moving large, and awkward loads – especially when visibility is restricted by the load itself.

However, it isn’t required on every application. If you don’t need the additional flexibility of remote control operation, where visibility is not an issue, or your movements are infrequent, a pedestrian-operated electric tugger might be the better option.

When might a remote control operation be more suitable?

The addition of remote control technology to our range is designed to cater for applications where additional visibility, precision, scalability, and maneuverability are needed.

Each application is unique but here are some examples where a remote control operation was the right fit:

  • Transportation of wing beds in a congested aerospace manufacturing facility
  • Movement of 80m+ wind turbine blades out of the factory
  • Mobilizing 39,600 lbs. rock-crushing chambers throughout production stages in the mining industry

We're here to help 

If you’re looking to improve safety, remove the risk of injury and unlock greater operational efficiency, we’re here to help. Speak to our team to discuss your application.