Heavy-Duty Walk-Behind Caddy Offers Safer, Cheaper Alternative to Forklifts and Yard Dogs

May 17 06:56 2012 Jeff Berg Print This Article

Read a few examples of how others in the heavy equipment and cargo/tank trailer manufacturing, distribution center, truck and trailer maintenance facility, defense and government agencies, and other businesses that maintain large trailer fleets have been using the TrailerCaddy Extreme. With improved efficiency and worker safety a concern for many in our industry.

For years,Guest Posting boxy, unstable forklifts and equally-cumbersome yard dogs were the only available methods of moving trailers, tanks and other heavy equipment. Even when safer, better-designed, less expensive, walk-behind caddies started coming on the market, the hefty purchase price and considerable maintenance investment forklifts required encouraged their continued use. Of course, until recently, walk-behind caddies did not have the power or design capacity to lift the extraordinary weights involved in many heavy-equipment applications. But with the recent development of heavy-duty, motorized, walk-behind trailer and heavy equipment caddies capable of lifting 15,000-pound trailer tongues and moving 50,000-pound loads has allowed more options for heavy-duty needs.

Not only is convenience and price now an important factor in why many are selecting these new generation heavy-duty walk-behind caddies, but improving worker protection has been a concern for warehouse and yard operation managers. In a job risk rating report, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked “forklift operator” among high-risk jobs. Forklift operators have a 52% chance of being injured on the job. Every year forklift-related accidents kill nearly 100 U.S. workers and seriously injure another 20,000, according to NIOSH report (the most-recent statistics available). The greatest number of forklift-related fatalities is caused by vehicles overturning. Pedestrian workers struck or crushed by forklifts account for more than a third of forklift deaths and the majority of forklift-related workplace injuries. Given the dangers forklift trucks pose in the workplace, it is no wonder that heavy equipment and cargo/tank trailer manufacturers, distribution centers, truck and trailer maintenance facilities, defense and government agencies, and other businesses that maintain large trailer fleets have been seeking safer material handling alternatives.

The solution for many of these facilities is safer, lighter-weight, more compact, more maneuverable and less expensive to purchase, operate and maintain than their old forklifts.  This new class of ergonomically-designed, heavy-duty, walk-behind caddies, such as the TrailerCaddy Extreme, offers a superior alternative to forklifts and represents the cleaner, greener, safer, more-efficient future for American industry.

DJ Products’ new heavy-duty, walk-behind TrailerCaddy Extreme is attracting attention and earning fans among heavy equipment and trailer manufacturers, distribution centers, truck and trailer maintenance facilities and managers of large equipment trailer fleets. TrailerCaddy Extreme is in use at commercial manufacturing, warehouse, distribution and maintenance operations as well as at city, county, state, federal and Department of Defense facilities. The following case studies illustrate how DJ Products’ TrailerCaddy Extreme can be used to solve assembly line, warehouse, and onsite equipment transport issues safely, efficiently and cost-effectively.

Case study: The New Yard Truck Trailer Spotter - Meeting the Needs of New Industries

When Wabash National Corp., a leading North American manufacturer of semi-trailers, won an exclusive 5-year contract to produce 2,500 frac tanks for a major supplier to the fast-growing hydraulic fracturing industry; it turned to DJ Products for a safe, effective way to move the 28,000-pound bulk liquid storage containers down the production line. Because the 21,000-gallon frac tanks are in high demand by oil and gas companies working the shale-oil beds in Pennsylvania, North Dakota and Texas, Wabash and its customer wanted to ramp up tank production quickly.

Forklifts had proved to be an unacceptable match for both the product and Wabash’s Lafayette, Indiana manufacturing plant. Fork trucks were unable to maintain the necessary positive connection between the truck’s forks and the tank’s front end, allowing tanks to disconnect from the forks unexpectedly, creating a dangerous safety hazard. Forklifts were also too heavy to traverse floor grates and so could not be used to maneuver tanks in and out of wash bays. Of more universal concern were the myriad of safety issues raised by operating an unwieldy forklift in a tight, confined, walled area shared with employees, vendors, equipment, and product.

DJ Products’ TrailerCaddy HD Extreme offered Wabash National a safe, powerful solution. With a heavy-duty steel frame, powerful 36-volt battery, 2,000-pound differential/transaxle, and 2:1 gear reduction with chain-to-drive tires, the TrailerCaddy Extreme is designed to maneuver 48-foot and 53-foot OTR trailers, tanks, lowboy trailers, and heavy commercial equipment trailers weighing up to 50,000 pounds. Outfitted with a hydraulic actuator powered lift kit, the TrailerCaddy Extreme is capable of lifting tongue weights between 5,000 and 5,000 pounds.

Unlike boxy forklifts, the TrailerCaddy Extreme packs maximum power into a sleek, compact, versatile, walk-behind yard truck/trailer spotter that is ergonomically designed for tight maneuvering of massive objects in a limited space by a single employee. Easy-to-use and operate, the TrailerCaddy Extreme does not require the specialized training or certification required to operate a forklift which allows any plant employee to operate this versatile piece of equipment. The versatile TrailerCaddy Extreme is available with ball hitch, kingpin, and pintle hitch attachment options.

Case study: The Powered Trailer Dolly’s Versatile Design Permits Easy Customization

The world’s largest trailer manufacturer, Great Dane Trailers, wanted to increase the power and lifting capacity of its current trailer movers to more efficiently transfer platform trailers from a fixture to an in-ground tow line during the manufacturing process. Surprised when its current provider declined to modify its product to provide the features Great Dane needed to maximize productivity and safety at its manufacturing plant, Great Dane started looking for a more flexible caddy provider.

DJ Products was able to provide the versatility and flexibility the trailer manufacturer sought. Working closely with Great Dane’s plant engineers, DJ Products was able to quickly customize its powerful TrailerCaddy Extreme to Great Dane’s specifications, increasing power and lift capabilities as requested while providing the caddy with a wider, more stable wheel base to support heavy-duty lifting tasks and 18-inch diameter, aggressive-tread tires to increase caddy stability.

Case study: TrailerCaddy Extreme - Increasing Maneuverability in Tight Spaces

Maneuverability in a confined area was the problem that brought Polar Corporation, an industry leader in the manufacture of custom tank trailers, to DJ Products. Confronted with the need to maneuver tanks in a confined area during the final assembly process at their Minnesota manufacturing plant, Polar sought a more compact, less expensive alternative to bulky, expensive forklifts and yard dogs.

DJ Products’ new TrailerCaddy Extreme provided the nimble maneuvering ability Polar needed at an affordable price. With a standard length of just 73 inches, 54-inch height and 38-inch standard wheel base, the TrailerCaddy Extreme requires little room to maneuver, making it a perfect fit for small spaces. Depending on options, TrailerCaddy Extremes are priced between $10,000 and $15,000, a third to half the cost of forklifts. With minimal maintenance costs, low-cost battery operation, and no need to hire trained/certified operators, the TrailerCaddy Extreme offers additional savings over forklifts.

Case study: New Trailer Caddies Are Improving Workplace Safety

Williams Scotsman, a global manufacturer of mobile and portable offices, was seeking a safer solution for moving its modular offices through warehouse facilities during the reconditioning and remodeling processes. The large rider units used to move office trailers around warehouse yards posed multiple safety problems when used inside the warehouse. To maximize employee safety, reduce the chance of injury or accident, and improve overall workplace safety, Williams Scotsman contacted DJ Products about possible solutions.

The smaller, more maneuverable, walk-behind TrailerCaddy Extreme offered the power needed to move modular office units in a piece of equipment ergonomically designed to place worker safety first. DJ Products’ TrailerCaddies are equipped with a high-tech speed controller, neutral throttle braking, and adjustable acceleration/braking in both forward and reverse to ensure that the operator is able to maintain control of the vehicle and the load being transported at all times. A variable-speed twist grip and safety stop switch enhance safety by ensuring the caddy’s instant response to operator commands.


These are just a few examples of how others in the heavy equipment and cargo/tank trailer manufacturing, distribution center, truck and trailer maintenance facility, defense and government agencies, and other businesses that maintain large trailer fleets have been using the TrailerCaddy Extreme. With improved efficiency and worker safety a concern for many in our industry, isn’t it time you too looked for new handling solutions for your facility?

To find out more about the heavy-duty new TrailerCaddy Extreme, contact DJ Products, Inc. in Little Falls, Minnesota.

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About Article Author

Jeff Berg
Jeff Berg

Jeff Berg is the author of this article for DJ Products. DJ Products based in Little Falls, Minnesota. DJ Products specializes in material handling equipment for warehouses, distribution centers, manufacturing facilities, and factories. Please visit their website at http://www.DJProducts.com.

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