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INSIGHT - Toyota debuts automated Toyota BT reach forklift at Auspack 2019

By Cameron Paxton, Director Of Sales, Toyota Material Handling Australia

In another exciting demonstration of how Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) is bringing leading-edge technology to the local market, we for the first time publicly showcased our automated Toyota BT RAE160 reach forklift at the 2019 Auspack Packaging & Processing Machinery expo in late March. 

The autonomous (driverless) 1.6-tonne capacity reach forklift featuring a 10-metre mast was put tasked with constantly moving pallets from floor position into a rack, and then back again. Not only available for demonstration, the Toyota BT RAE160 reach forklift (also available in 2- and 2.5-tonne capacity models) is now for sale in Australia.

The RAE range of autonomous material handling equipment is designed and manufactured by Toyota Material Handling Europe, with programming and installation performed locally by TMHA engineers.

The forklift integrates with warehouse management systems to operate according to a customer’s unique requirements. It uses a laser-based navigation system and complex range of sensors to safely and accurately handle materials, without operator assistance.

The demonstrator Toyota BT RAE160 reach forklift at Auspack was fitted with optional 3D cameras which further enhance its load detection and rack detection capabilities – presently the only such offering in Australia.

In recent years there has been a shift towards automating warehouse logistics where conventional forklifts were predominantly used. This has been due to large fluctuations in throughput demands, leading to labour issues, improved affordability and shorter return-on-investment periods.

TMHA has demonstrated automated guided vehicles at expos before, but never a piece of equipment so capable of large-scale warehousing duties. The RAE Autopilot series with vision-aided load-handling was specifically designed for large-scale warehouse logistics, pallet warehousing, production and manufacturing facilities. Auspack was the debut for our offering of AGVs for large-scale warehousing such as 10 metre-high racking and such high-volumes of pallet-shifting.

The Toyota BT RAE160 reach forklift can also be operated manually, providing the best of both worlds. In that sense it’s actually a ‘hybrid’ vehicle and is attractive to the industry in helping to transition between manual and autonomous processes as operators tend to be less intimidated when there’s a manual option.

In another first, the Auspack-demonstrated Toyota BT RAE160 reach forklift was powered by Lithium-ion battery technology. This is a game-changer for AGV systems because the battery can accept a high current, enabling short charging between duties.

Being fully automated, our Toyota BT RAE reach forklifts can quickly charge themselves in between tasks without the need for human assistance or separate charging areas.

Lithium-ion batteries charge much faster than traditional battery technology, in several short periods that align with the production cycles, without the battery running low. They are also up to 30 percent more energy-efficient than older battery technologies and charging doesn’t degrade battery life as much, so they last longer.

Also on our Auspack stand, we also had a range of our latest-model ride-on and walkie-stacker forklifts, scrubber dryers and stock-pickers on display for the duration. Another surprise was the addition of a Taylor-Dunn stock-chaser.

If you are interested in any of the models on display at Auspack, such as the automated Toyota BT reach forklift, your local TMHA branch will be happy to assist. Call us on 1800 425 438 for more information

The Toyota BT RAE160 reach driiverless forklift on display at Auspack 2019