Southfield’s Pro-Tech Patents Bi-directional Cargo Loader

Pro-Tech Group, a minority-owned supply chain solutions company based in Southfield, has announced its patent award from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) for a 180-degree rotating cab Class VII variable reach type loader (bi-directional loader).
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Southfield's Pro-Tech has patented a rotating cab bi-directional loader. // Courtesy of Pro-Tech Group
Southfield’s Pro-Tech has patented a rotating cab bi-directional loader. // Courtesy of Pro-Tech Group

Pro-Tech Group, a minority-owned supply chain solutions company based in Southfield, has announced its patent award from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) for a 180-degree rotating cab Class VII variable reach type loader (bi-directional loader).

Pro-Tech Group also chose Livonia’s Roush Industries Inc. to complete a feasibility study and build a working prototype for pilot testing in the fourth quarter of 2023.

“First and foremost, we couldn’t be more thankful for the support from Roush and our partner GameAbove Capital in helping make the bi-directional loader a reality. Safety and speed are at the forefront of our decision to pursue this innovation further,” says Earle B. Higgins, CEO of Pro-Tech Group.

The core workings of the bi-directional loader are to allow the operator to swivel the cab 180 degrees to face the direction in which the loader is traveling. The mechanics eliminate driving the loader in reverse while looking over the shoulder and entirely relying on a spotter, side and rearview mirrors, and sensors. The bi-directional loader enhances visibility and offers better maneuverability around tight construction sites and cargo distribution centers.

“Having a machine of this kind in the logistics and construction industry is long overdue. What is in the market serves its purpose. However, due to the size and mechanics, current machines present significant safety concerns for the operators and surrounding workers when moving forward and backward,” says Higgins.

“We believe the number of telescopic loader-related incidents, injuries, and deaths reported across the globe to be considerable enough for a product like ours to be utilitarian. Our bi-directional loader will improve worksite safety and the speed of handling cargo and other items.”

The bi-directional loader complements Pro-Tech Group’s flagship product, the Pro-Tech Container (PTC) — an industry-first, patented, railroad industry-approved, collapsible shipping container designed for auto racks.

“We could not be more excited to have the bi-directional loader go to market soon. Not only will it improve our container system, but a variety of companies and industries will benefit from this innovation. Our patent also allows us to explore the mechanics of the rotating cab on other machines and we will implement the technology where it is considered necessary,” says Higgins.

Steve Wesoloski, business development manager at Roush, says “We are thrilled to work with Mr. Higgins and Pro-Tech Group on this project. The uniqueness of the bi-directional loader is a new challenge for us, and we are confident in our expertise to build a fully working prototype for real-world testing.”