MasterMover Global News
Not All Electric Tuggers Are Created Equal
Comparing electric tuggers that look the same can be tough. Material handling equipment manufacturers make all sorts of bold claims. So, how do you know which brand and product type is the best choice?
We’ve put together a quick guide that will help you sort the best from the rest.
Electric Tugger Machine Size
When load weights get heavy some electric tugger manufacturers increase the size and weight of the machine to match. This results in a heavy and cumbersome machine that becomes difficult to operate. ‘Compact’ is the name of the game.
MasterMover focuses on designing machines that are easy for operators to use. Some of our machines use the weight of the load to their advantage. By simply transferring a portion of the load’s weight onto the machine’s driving wheel, we gain all the traction we need to start and stop the load. This simple approach delivers great performance while keeping the machine as small and light as possible. That translates to a far better operator experience.
Other electric tuggers in our range use power assist to make the operator’s life easier. For those of you that have driven cars without power steering, you’ll know immediately how much easier the assist makes things. The other tool we have at our disposal is the wireless remote control. Using just thumb power alone, the heaviest machines in our range can be deployed effortlessly to move truly enormous weights. Of course, wireless control opens the door to full automation and with that, a machine can be sent on its way with no human involvement whatsoever.
Machine Power & Grip
Electric tuggers are advertised with a recommended weight capacity, but it’s really all about rolling resistance. An electric tugger needs to generate sufficient power (or force) to overcome the friction involved with getting the load rolling. The challenge is that that force figure is subject to a wide range of variables. The floor conditions, whether the load is traveling on a slope, and the quality, number, and type of wheels in use are just some of the variables that impact the force needed to get something rolling.
For an electric tugger buyer, the worst outcome is to take delivery of a machine only to find that it has neither the power nor the grip to get things rolling.
With our vast experience to draw upon, MasterMover sales engineers follow a set of tried and tested processes designed to identify exactly the force needed to get your load rolling in your environment. Through a process of continual improvement, we’ve refined our methods so that we deliver the machine with the optimum balance of power and grip for your specific circumstances.
Getting the Right Hitch
There are two common problems with tug hitch design:
‘Do it all’ designs – these hitches are born from a desire to make one universal connection to a range of different cart designs. The result is usually something that requires fiddly adjustment by operators and they rarely perform well on any of the carts. The result? A machine that operators refuse to use and gathering dust in the corner.
The hook design – sometimes the simplicity of a hook is just perfect. However, anywhere the machine and load are moving across variable surfaces or up and down slopes there is the chance that a hook hitch will just let go of the load. In some environments, that outcome has the potential to be very dangerous.
MasterMover has a proprietary set of standardized hitch designs that have been deployed in thousands of different applications around the world. Simple, safe, and secure are the design principles that underpin our tug hitches. Where our standard solutions aren’t suitable, we have a team of expert engineers who can customize a hitch to suit your exact requirements.
Electric Tugger Speed
Having the option to customize max speed, acceleration and braking is a must. High-grade electric tuggers will have the capability to adjust all these speed settings to match your requirements.
Automatic braking, emergency stop buttons, ergonomic controls, and anti-crush buttons that prevent the operator from being trapped between the machine and an immovable object should all be STANDARD. If they’re not, then walk away.
For an electric tugger, sealed, maintenance-free batteries are best. Ask the tugger supplier to see if they can give you specific information about battery life. You’re looking for data that is based on science rather than just a figure pulled out of thin air.
At MasterMover we’ve learned that questions about battery life are just like questions about gas mileage in a car, the only truthful answer being, “it depends…” Nonetheless, we recognize the importance of providing some guidance. So, based on a combination of real-world testing and engineering math, here’s what we do:
We take the recommended max capacity of the machine and assume that it’s being deployed moving a load weight equivalent to 75% of that capacity.
Then we calculate how long the battery would last moving that load weight in one continuous movement on a smooth and level concrete surface. We assume that the machine and load are moving at a constant speed and that the batteries are being discharged from 100% down to 30% power remaining.
That calculation looks like this for one of our most popular machines, the SM100+
SM100+ max weight capacity = 2,600lbs
75% of max weight capacity = 1,950lbs
Distance travelled on one charge = 4.78 miles
Chances are you’ll be using electric tuggers in a tough environment. Whether that’s giving it to operators who are typically hard on equipment or using it in an industrial environment where it’s going to get dirty and knocked around. You want to be sure that the product you buy can stand up to some abuse. Flimsy controls, plastic body panels, and components that look like they’ve been stuck to the side of the machine as an afterthought are all sure-fire signs for damage and product failure.
At MasterMover we’ve deployed machines in the toughest environments. You can find MasterMover tuggers working everywhere from dairy processing factories (yes, that can be a surprisingly brutal operating environment) through offshore oil platforms and rocket launch locations. Some of our machines are meticulously cared for by nuclear engineers. While others look like they’re the last runners in a demolition derby. Whatever the environment, MasterMover designs and manufactures machines that are robust and built to last.
Published on : 12-07-2022