A telescopic handler, or telehandler, is a machine widely used in Agriculture, Construction and other Industries. It is similar in appearance and function to a forklift, with the increased versatility of a single telescopic boom that can extend forwards and upwards from the vehicle. On the end of the boom the operator can attach one of several attachments, such as a bucket, Crane jib, muck grab, pallet forks, Hoist/Winch unit or Man Basket. A wide range of other more specialist attachments are available to suit many other handling operations.
The most common attachment for a telehandler is pallet forks and the most common application is to move loads to and from places out of reach for a conventional forklift. For example, telehandlers have the ability to remove palletized cargo from within a trailer and to place loads on rooftops and other high places. The latter application would otherwise require a crane, which is not always practical or time-efficient.
The advantage of the telehandler is also its biggest limitation: as the boom extends or raises while bearing a load, it acts as a lever and causes the vehicle to become increasingly unstable, despite counterweights in the rear. This means that the lifting capacity quickly decreases as the height and/or length of the boom increase. A vehicle with a 2000 kg capacity with the boom retracted may be able to lift as little as 200 kg with it fully extended. The operator is equipped with a load chart which helps him determine whether a given task is possible, taking into account weight, boom angle and height. Failing this, most telehandlers utilize a computer which uses sensors to monitor the vehicle and will warn the operator and/or cut off further control input if the limits of the vehicle are exceeded. Some machines are also equipped with front outriggers similar to those installed on mobile cranes, which extend the lifting capability of the equipment while stationary.
Larger machines aimed at the construction industry can lift up to 4000 kg and go to a height of 25 meters, these machines are designed to replace small cranes, and the main boom is mounted on a rotating platform to allow 360 degree coverage from one set position. Short Fly jibs are offered to increase forward reach on roofs to facilitate installing roof trusses. Some have full remote control so the operator can stand nearer the job instead of a banksman signaling the operator in the cab, and others can be fitted with a large Man-up basket to use as a access platform for high level work complete with controls in the basket. Or below ground level inspection using a basket on an articulated extension boom. This can extend the working zone from - 10m to +32m up. In the UK these specialist machine require trained operators to drive them and are certified for lifting like a crane.
(Some are badge engineered products to fill product ranges in or made under licence for some markets)
- Case CE
- Caterpillar - Built by John Deere at one stage in UK
- Claas - Badged KramerAllrad machines
- Fermec (formerly MF Industrial range), Now Terex
- Genie -
- JLG - build machines for Deutz-Fahr
- John Deere
- Liner Concrete Machinery.(Now out of business) Inventors of the first proper telehandler in 1974 (The Liner Giraffe had four equal sized wheels, Four wheel drive, four wheel steer/two wheel steer/crab steer and overload sensors (straine gauges) that would stop you exceeding the permitted load/reach.
- Massey-Ferguson-Agricultural spec machine
- Matbro - Now Terex (also badged as John Deere & Ingersoll Rand for a period.
- New Holland - Agricultural spec machine
- RWC / RW Colins Taken over by Matbro
- Sanderson- Defunct brand , Merged with Matbro
Attachments & accessories
- Box rotators
- Concrete skip
- Crane jib
- Fence post drivers
- Man-up basket
- Winch/Hoist unit
- Forklift truck
- Construction Plant Manufactures List of
- List of Types of Agricultural Machinery
- Shows and Meets for events to view machines on display
Reference / sources
- Classic plant & Machinery magazine
- Manufacturers literature
(European links require adding)
- Official JCB web site
- Bigger and Better Telehandlers on Demand (Masonry Magazine)
- Sky Trak 6036 Specifications & Photos
- Lull 644D34 Specifications & Photos
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