Big Joe Reveals Collaborative Robot Named BUD at MODEX



New Affordable and Simple Big Joe Machines Empower Employees as a Workforce Multiplier

Wisconsin Dells, WI – March 28, 2022 – Big Joe Forklifts will be previewing several new products with a look toward the future at this month’s MODEX trade show in Atlanta.  Front and center will be the company’s vision for a new breed of semi-autonomous machines known as “co-bots” or collaborative robots which keep humans in the loop within material handling workflows to deliver maximum value. 

Unique to Big Joe’s approach is their concept of User Directed Automation, where small autonomous machines empower workers as a force multiplier so people can focus on higher value-added work while robots attend to mundane tasks.  Showcasing this concept at MODEX will be Big Joe’s User Directed Pallet Mover nicknamed “BUD” (pictured above), which features a simple onboard tablet and cloud connection to drive autonomously on custom missions once an operator manually loads a pallet and tells it where to go.

BUD, can transport and drop-off loads of up to 3,300 lbs. with basic obstacle avoidance and a swappable lithium battery to deliver exceptional operational flexibility.  With the addition of an optional “universal carrier” attachment, BUD can be outfitted with a tow hitch, shelving, custom fixtures, or a simple deck to function as a jack of all trades just about anywhere.  Bill Pedriana CMO of Big Joe Forklifts summarizes the vision for this initial product as being akin to the PC revolution where enterprise level technologies all of a sudden became accessible for everyone.

“Automation as we know it in material handling is about to be turned upside down by products like BUD.  As opposed to having to do lengthy site surveys, complicated ROI calculations, and expensive implementations, the whole idea of this technology is going to flip to where the machines become so simple to deploy and low cost that the user becomes their own integrator and these items become a practical day to day tool for most companies,” said Pedriana. 

BUD will be available for demonstration at MODEX and available later this year through a subscription service costing less than $50 a day in partnership with Vecna Robotics whose technology powers the system.

Left to right: The new Big Joe PTT60 powered pedestrian tugger and RPL44 low profile rider pallet truck

Also, at this year’s MODEX, the Big Joe team will be showcasing a host of lithium powered lift trucks including their new RPL44 low profile rider pallet truck and PTT60 powered pedestrian tugger, both of which feature power steering.  These new units offer innovative compact designs for numerous material handling applications as standalone products and were designed from the ground up to be autonomous ready for future development.  The standard RPL44 and PTT60 will be available for order at the conclusion of MODEX with deliveries to begin late spring 2022.   

Pedriana concluded, “I am truly excited to show the public what we have been working on the past several years and how it builds on Big Joe’s 70-year history of empowering workers with simple machines.  The future is driven by ideas, and ours fit so well both for this moment in time and with who we are as a company.” 

Pedriana will be speaking with Vecna Robotics’ Sr. VP of Sales, Jeff Huerta at MODEX during a break-out session titled: “No-bot to Co-bot: How small form-factor pallet handling robots make it easy to get in the automation game.” on Tuesday March 29th at 10:30 am.  On floor demonstrations of new Big Joe products will be available at booth #3219 and #3419.  For more information visit, or contact


Media Contacts:
Master Plan Communications, Inc.

Kirsten Woodard



Ashton Maxfield