Trailer Talk

No CDL Needed to Operate This Trailer Spotter

October 30, 2017

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Compact walk-behind machine slips under a trailer's nose, lifts it, and pulls it away. Optional air system hooks up to brakes to release them. Photos: Screen capture from DJ Products video 
Compact walk-behind machine slips under a trailer's nose, lifts it, and pulls it away. Optional air system hooks up to brakes to release them. Photos: Screen capture from DJ Products video

A while ago I wrote about a walk-behind trailer-spotting device available in Europe. Now here’s one from Minnesota, USA – the TrailerCaddy Trailer Terminal Tractor from DJ Products, a family-owned company that makes several other types of pallet jack-like machines to move stuff around in and around factories and warehouses.

Like them, TrailerCaddy is battery-electric powered. It can move empty and loaded semitrailers weighing up to 70,000 pounds, the company says. The operator is not required to have a commercial driver’s license or a medical card, so with a little training, any employee can move trailers into and out of loading docks.

Caddy backs this trailer into a dock. Operator faces forward during the maneuver rather than peering through mirrors. 
Caddy backs this trailer into a dock. Operator faces forward during the maneuver rather than peering through mirrors.

It's priced at one-quarter the cost of a new diesel-powered yard tractor, according to Jeff Berg, the company’s president. Demonstration videos are here and here.  

“Customer feedback during the development process tells us that the TrailerCaddy provides significant cost and efficiency advantages compared to conventional trailer moving methods using semi-tractors or shunt trucks,” he says in a press release.

“Because any employee can be trained to move trailers, this yard dog is always available, which means that trailers can get moved ‘just in time,’ ensuring dock operations won’t grind to a halt waiting for a driver with a CDL to become available.”

Caddy's small size allows easy maneuvering in tight spaces. Operator would have to really run to keep up with a yard tractor, though. 
Caddy's small size allows easy maneuvering in tight spaces. Operator would have to really run to keep up with a yard tractor, though.

The purpose-built unit’s short turning radius allows quick maneuverability in tight spaces. With wagon-wheel steering, the operator faces forward, looking toward the dock when backing the trailer in, Berg says. This results in better sight lines, reduced risk of damage to docks, buildings, and trailers, as well as fewer incidents of employee injury. 

More information about DJ Products and the TrailerCaddy can be found at www.djproducts.com or by calling (800) 686-2651. The company will be demonstrating the TrailerCaddy at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., March 22-24, 2018.

Full disclosure department: While Jeff Berg’s got a good name, he and I are not related, at least as far as I know.  

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Author Bio

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Tom Berg

Senior Contributing Editor

Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational and hybrid vehicles.

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