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Big Joe Forklifts launches autonomous pallet mover in partnership with Thoro.ai

Big Joe Forklifts has unveiled its Pallet Mover, a new user-directed autonomous mobile robot (AMR) on the first day of the ProMat Show 2023.

Developed in partnership with Thoro.ai, the Big Joe Pallet Mover is an easy-to-deploy autonomous solution for floor-to-floor pallet transportation and drop-off that companies can set up and put into operation in less than one hour.

The new Big Joe unit seeks to revolutionize on-demand material handling across a broad number of industries by offering Thoro.ai’s proven self-driving technology at an accessible price point on one of the most common material handling vehicles, an electric pallet truck.

Bill Pedriana, Big Joe’s chief marketing officer, says: “We couldn’t be more excited to unveil the Big Joe Pallet Mover for the first time at ProMat this year.

“This new AMR is something that so many companies have been waiting and frankly hoping for given the many challenges they face. The Pallet Mover is super simple to deploy and start seeing a return-on-investment on day one.

“The magic to that is our user-directed approach to automation, which, by nature, is focused on empowering workers and eliminating the need for complicated systems integration.”

The new Big Joe Pallet Mover works just like a conventional lift truck but features an intuitive tablet interface, LiDAR, and a camera system to transport and drop pallets to locations autonomously once the operator loads it and selects a mission.

This collaborative approach uses self-driving technology as a productivity force multiplier by allowing workers to focus on higher-value tasks or direct multiple independent workflows concurrently.

With the ability to use the machine in manual mode at any time, the flexibility of the Pallet Mover allows it to bring efficiencies to facilities without intensive changes to their operations or need for any infrastructure other than a wi-fi connection for software updates, if required.

Patrick Mondi, Thoro’s chief executive officer, says: “Thoro’s partnership with Big Joe on the self-driven Pallet Mover resulted in a world-class innovation unlike anything on the market.

“It is compliant to safety standards, simple to configure, quick to deploy and easy to operate – all at a very compelling price point.

“Thoro is proud to have worked with the team at Big Joe Forklifts and know their customers will be well-served by the Pallet Mover, with strong ROI from day one.”

The Big Joe Pallet Mover can transport up to 4,400 lbs. of materials at speeds of up to 2.8 mph and can operate continuously for up to 10 hours.

Power is supplied by a UL-recognized 205ah lithium battery which can be opportunity charged at the rate of one percent every six minutes via an on-board 120 vac charger.

Initial pricing for the Pallet Mover is set at $65,000 plus tax and freight per unit inclusive of installation, initial training and a robust three-year autonomous software and support subscription.

Optional items like a Universal Carrier load deck can be added to the Pallet Mover for customizable material handling applications, and additional services and purchasing options are available through Big Joe’s autonomous division and expansive servicing dealer network throughout North America.

The Pallet Mover User Directed AMR represents the first of Big Joe’s commercial autonomous offerings with more introductions planned over the years ahead. Big Joe announced the launch of its autonomous division in October 2022, led by industry expert and division general manager, Nick Malewicki.

Malewicki says: “Building our team and knowing how far we have come over the last several months as we have prepared for this launch has been amazing.

“We couldn’t really have asked for anything more from our team or our collaboration with Thoro, who has been so responsive and just as committed to us to deliver on our vision for this product.

“By design, many on our team have exclusively worked in autonomous R&D or on the customer side, so bringing a new concept like this to market resonates strongly with users in our field tests and now validates that we are truly on to something special.”

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