Eagle eTT-12 with optional “Smart Charge” battery.

Tuggers for Industrial, Automotive, and Transit Applications: A High-level Overview

Material transport solutions for transit, automotive, and industrial.
Material transport solutions for transit, automotive, and industrial.

What are Tuggers?

Tow Tractors, also known as Tuggers or Tugs, are all-in-one service vehicles that provide towing and material transport solutions for transit, automotive, and industrial companies. 

These rear-loading tractors haul products safely and efficiently through industrial spaces or use their pushing power to move inoperable vehicles like buses and trucks back to the maintenance garage. Tuggers serve as a safer, economical, and highly maneuverable alternative to fork trucks.

Let’s explore the applications and benefits of Tuggers, the various kinds available, and how you will need to appropriately assess your site and determine the right Tugger to keep your operation moving.

What applications require Tuggers?

Eagle Tuggers tow and push anything from small product packages in warehouse goods to large windmill turbines efficiently, reliably, and safely. Because they can handle loads exceeding 150,000 lbs., they are an exceptional solution for heavy-duty industrial and transit applications.

Eagle RTT-50 with front and rear hitch points for versatile material handling.
Eagle RTT-50 with front and rear hitch points for versatile material handling.

Eagle’s industrial Tuggers, such as the RTT and STT electric tow tractor models for dolly exchange applications, can transport warehoused goods and materials safely and efficiently. Using Tugger’s adjustable front and rear hitch points, operators have versatility for efficiently moving material in various applications, such as hauling goods out of a trailer using the front hitch and then using the rear hitch to transport to the point of need.

Eagle Transit Pro: an all-in-one towing service tool.
Eagle Transit Pro: an all-in-one towing service tool.

Specialized transit models, such as the Eagle Transit Pro, serve as all-in-one towing service tools. They can push inoperable buses out of the way or back to the maintenance garage, jump-start dead batteries, or service tires and air systems on the spot. Their power and maneuverability allow operators to transport inoperable vehicles into garages with efficiency and agility.

Material directors, fleet managers, and transportation authorities are concerned about increased safety, productivity, and cost-effectiveness in food packaging, transportation authorities, product warehousing, automotive manufacturing, vehicle repair, motorcoach maintenance, and more. The advantages found with Tuggers have led material handling associations to recommend them over fork trucks for material transport. 

Why choose Tuggers?

Eagle Tuggers offer a variety of advantages for maintaining a lean and safe work environment and ensuring your materials move through your warehouse, plant, or shop efficiently.

  • Increased Productivity: Tuggers reduce the time and labor needed to transport materials. Using a dolly exchange application, one Tugger can pull multiple pallets of material at a time, rather than the single pallet that a fork truck can transport. Dollies also provide versatility and allow operators to haul a wide variety of material shapes, weights, and sizes so a single operator can get more done in less time.
  • Electric, Diesel, and Gas/LP Models: Depending on your requirements, diesel or gas may be the right fit, while electric tuggers have the advantage of rapid charging and no exhaust fumes. 
  • Increased Safety: OSHA reports suggest that over 100,000 injuries occur annually due to fork trucks. By design, fork trucks obscure operator vision and have low maneuverability. On the other hand, Tuggers place the operator in front of the load for transport, providing clear sightlines and improving safety. And with the fewer trips needed to move your material, Tuggers reduce material handling traffic, keeping operators and workers safe.
The Tugger’s shorter 30-inch wheelbase permits exceptional maneuverability.
The Tugger’s shorter 30-inch wheelbase permits exceptional maneuverability.
  • Turn Radius Maneuverability: In confined, indoor spaces, like warehouses and manufacturing plants, the Tuggers’ 30-inch wheelbase provides exceptional maneuverability. Eagle Tuggers impressively complete narrow turns around aisles and stay in their lane compared to other long-wheelbase tractors. This allows operators to navigate tight warehouse and storage spaces, adding safety and efficiency. 
  • All-Weather Environments: Whether indoor or out, Eagle models are available with all-wheel drive to provide reliability and security for moving through many surface conditions such as oily, wet, dry, gravel, or dust.
  • Cost-Efficiency: Reducing the need for human resource hours, they provide many ways for material directors or fleet managers to meet budget constraints. Tuggers completely replace the use of expensive fork truck equipment., Loading or unloading dollies at intake or storage with agile Tuggers allow material directors to avoid dock congestion and risks to product damage.
Eagle RTT Models feature Sit/Stand options that quickly adjust for operator comfort, safety, and efficiency.
Eagle RTT Models feature Sit/Stand options that quickly adjust for operator comfort, safety, and efficiency.
  • Ergonomics (Made for Humans): Only Eagle provides tow tractor models with sit-and-stand versatility. They accommodate between the 5th and 95th percentiles of operators with a 30” operator compartment and multi-position steering wheel. Sit-down and stand-up models provide ergonomic solutions for operators, allowing for increased visibility, line of sight, and long shifts.

What Tugger models are available?

Tuggers are available in various models to best fit the requirements of your application, from light to heavy-duty.

Capacity
The first, though not only, consideration is the size of the typical load it will transport. Entry-level models for light-duty jobs might pull loads below 10,000 lbs. Mid-level jobs may require a model like the Eagle RTT-12 industrial Tugger, which can pull or push loads up to 12,000 lbs. An Eagle Transit Pro TTR- 6TP can push or pull up to 85,000 lbs. for heavy-duty transit jobs. 

Eagle eTT-12 with optional “Smart Charge” battery.
Eagle eTT-12 with optional “Smart Charge” battery.

Electric and Diesel 
Models also vary by fuel type, powered either by battery or diesel. Electric tuggers, such as the Eagle RTT and STT models, come equipped with a 48V or 80 A/C brushless motor and an optional “Smart Charge” battery. These Tuggers can provide up to 4 continuous hours of usage under maximum load and can rapidly charge during breaks, lunch, or shift change. Transit clients, however, may be more interested in diesel models that would fit into their existing fueling sources.

Operator Support
Your application may also call for sit-down models for operator comfort and ergonomics during longer transport rides or stand-up models for applications that involve frequent mounting and dismounting. Eagle manufacturers Tuggers that provide sit-and-stand models for versatility. 

What advantages do Eagle Tuggers provide?

Eagle Tuggers feature best-in-class advantages for medium- and heavy-duty applications and offer durability and unparalleled longevity. Properly maintained, Eagle Tuggers are known to run for 15 to 20 years without replacement.

Industrial and Transit Eagle Tuggers are designed for heavy-duty reliability. They have an excellent track record of sustained service and come with an unsurpassed 3000-hour/3-year warranty, or a 1000-hour/1-year warranty on electric models. 

Popular all-wheel-drive and sit-and-stand models are available exclusively in the Eagle Tugger brand. 

How can I determine what model is required for my application? 

Just as with other industrial vehicles and equipment, it’s essential to evaluate your application correctly. You will need to know what model of Tugger will handle your performance requirements  

The capacity required may be greater than you would initially calculate. For example, pulling 50,000 lbs. will require more load-bearing power if you’re pulling on an incline. Other considerations will play a part in determining the appropriate power train, size, and features. Climate, space, workforce, and other important factors will impact the physics of your application.

What is the best way to select the right Eagle Tugger?

Talk with a specialist. As the exclusive distributor of Eagle Tuggers for industrial and transit markets nationwide, KIRKS will help you assess your application. Our Tugger team will perform a Custom Site Survey to evaluate your application and recommend the Eagle Tugger model to meet your performance requirements. 

If you are looking for a way to increase efficiency, cut costs, and improve safety in your industrial or transit material handling, call KIRKS. Contact us to start your custom Eagle Tugger Site Survey with a KIRKS product specialist.

Sign up for KIRKS Monthly Product and Industry News

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Sign up for KIRKS Monthly Product and Industry News

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.