Terminal tractor manufacturer Kalmar Ottawa hosted a number of industry journalists for a tour of the company’s Ottawa, Kan., facility and some time behind the wheel of the T2, its newest terminal tractor introduced last year.
“Given our relatively small industry, common sense suggested that a more hands-on research approach would be in order, with a lot of personal contact with our end customers themselves,” explained Dave Wood, vice president of sales and marketing, discussing the development of the T2.
That research began with bringing Kalmar Ottawa customers out to Kansas and into a “white-walled” idea room which had a full-scale cab mock-up and a 50% scale chassis model. The team interviewed 60 drivers, as well as maintenance technicians, safety directors, and fleet managers from more than 25 companies.
The T2 is exclusively being built at the Kansas plant, which was also redesigned to improve workflow and productivity. While the frame for the original terminal tractor arrives preassembled to the plant, the T2 frame is built on-site. According to Production Supervisor Mark Wright, the process, which initially took more than an hour to complete, now only take approximately 25 minutes.
After a look at the build process, editors were given some time behind the wheel of the T2, which is now in full production and has already pushed out 625 units, with 800 more on order.
“The T2 accounts for about half of our daily build in our transition, which means we’re currently building about seven T2 trucks each day,” said Wood. “We expect to be at virtually 100% T2 production by year end.”