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Toyota looking for ‘next-generation’ material handling solutions

Toyota Material Handling North America has begun accepting applications for the third annual TMHNA University Research Program, a sponsored research program created to drive and advance the next generation of material handling industry technology.

The program is accepting proposals via its website until December 15, 2018.

The TMHNA University Research Program’s mission encourages and supports professors and researchers who apply their engineering and technical field knowledge to discover innovative solutions in the material handling industry.

Research proposals from full-time professors or researchers at North American universities will be evaluated for their impact on the future of the industry, as well as the planning and feasibility of the timeline and budget.

Professors or researchers with selected proposals will be notified in April 2019.

Brett Wood, president and chief executive officer, Toyota Material Handling North America, says: “Creative thinking and progressive problem-solving are what continue to advance our industry.

“This program perfectly personifies those qualities and aligns with our mission to provide our customers with solutions that are smarter, more efficient and more effective.

“We’re excited to see how this year’s applicants apply their knowledge of engineering and various technical fields to draw synergies between collegiate research and the material handling industry.”

Proposal funding for the previous 2017-2018 program included virtual reality and augmented reality, energy infrastructure, Internet of Things and Industry 4.0.

Proposal themes for the 2018-2019 research proposals in the following areas are encouraged.

However, given the broad nature of material handling, other themes are welcome.

Proposal themes include:

  • Material handling for last-mile delivery, urban environments, piece-picking, reverse logistics and automation
  • Remote operation of material handling equipment
  • Warehousing energy infrastructure
  • VR/AR for material handling applications
  • Machine learning in material handling
  • Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) for material handling equipment
  • Industry 4.0

TMHNA claims to be the industry leader in forklift sales, and is composed of three main group companies:

  • Toyota Material Handling USA, Inc;
  • Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing, Inc; and
  • The Raymond Corporation.

TMHNA says “one in three forklifts sold in North America is either a Toyota or Raymond product”.

With more than 2 million square feet of manufacturing space, TMHNA is composed of four manufacturing plant locations:

  • Columbus, Indiana;
  • Greene, New York;
  • Muscatine, Iowa; and
  • Oakville, Ontario, Canada.

In total, these sites produce 1,500 forklifts per week on average, as well as racking products.

With an annual revenue of approximately $3 billion, TMHNA has more than 9,000 people, 3 million service parts available and more than 300 dealer locations to support Toyota and Raymond customers throughout North America.