What can a telehandler be used for and what distinguishes telehandlers from traditional forklifts? The name telehandler is a contraction of telescopic handler forklift and telehandlers were originally designed as forklifts with increased reach. The traditional fork tines were retained, but a telescopic boom was also incorporated. This allowed the horizontal forward reach forklifts lacked and a superior upright reach that traditional models could not equal. Featuring elements of forklifts and cranes, telehandlers were quickly adopted by agriculture, construction and the waste and recycling industry.
With a broader chassis and wide pneumatic tyred wheels, telehandlers are suited to a wide variety of work environments. Their greater stability makes lifting loads safer and they can reach work areas inaccessible to even rough terrain forklifts. A range of attachments further increases their versatility, each designed with specific tasks in mind. The quick hitch feature allows a fast change of attachments, adapting a telehandler to a wide range of on-site jobs with minimum effort. This versatility makes telehandler hire far more cost effective as they combine the functions of multiple pieces of equipment in one.
Although obvious, this is the most common use for telehandlers and the main function they are designed for. However, the range of materials that can be lifted, lift height and lift capacity makes telehandlers a superior choice to forklifts. In the construction industry the traditional fork tines are the most commonly used lifting attachment. These can be used for lifting palletised loads, concrete blocks, timber, industrial piping, packaged goods, and a wealth of other construction materials. Many models of industrial generators, fuel bowsers and storage containers feature inbuilt forklift fork channels for secure lifting by fork tines. Concrete skip attachments with locking fork channels can be used to lift concrete and mortar to elevated work areas. Crane jib attachments can also be fitted to change the telehandler into a pick and carry crane. These can be used for particularly heavy loads, distributing their weight effectively and allowing safe transport without the need for a crane. For loose materials that can be prone to tipping, buckets can also be attached to the telehandler for safe and effective lifting. Many models of telehandler also feature extendable stabilisers to prevent tipping when lifting particularly heavy loads.
The ability to lift heavy loads also makes telehandlers fully capable of transporting the same loads around the worksite. The exact weight a telehandler can lift will depend on the size and model, but they are renowned for their superior lift capacity at all sizes. Their large rubber tyres make them perfect for a range of ground surfaces, from roads and paved areas to rough terrain and soft or wet ground. Most models are equipped with three steering modes: front wheel steering, four-wheel steering and crab steering. When driving on roads or other level solid surfaces, front wheel steering allows the telehandler to operate like any other two-wheel drive vehicle. Four-wheel steering rotates the front and back wheels in opposite directions to provide the tightest possible turning circle when off-road. When crab steering is used all four wheels rotate in the same direction, allowing the telehandler to drive sideways into confined spaces. This enhanced manoeuvrability means telehandlers can transport heavy loads to as many areas of the worksite as possible.
Telehandlers are extremely popular in the waste management industry to quickly and safely dispose of large quantities of refuse. Due to their extended reach and enclosed cabs even hazardous waste can be transported with no risk of contact with the operator. The large range of attachments allow them to handle multiple types of waste, changing from one to another quickly and easily. In agriculture, they can be employed to remove logs, fallen trees, rocks and even loose or wet soil from the roughest, hard to reach environments. On construction sites, everything from loose sand to broken masonry can be removed and quickly loaded into high sided trailers or open backed trucks for disposal. It is even possible to employ a pick-up sweeper attachment to remove loose debris from roads, paths and worksites. These use a rotating polyester and galvanised steel brush to sweep debris into a dirt tank for disposal on level or uneven ground.
While lifting and carrying are the most common uses for telehandlers, their digging abilities are often overlooked. By using a toothed bucket attachment, the telescopic boom is quickly converted into a digging arm. The three hydraulic functions of the boom allow it to extend, tilt the bucket attachment down and back up and lift the full bucket up and away. By doing this, the bucket can easily penetrate earth, rubble or sand, scoop it out and lift it clear for disposal. The waste can then be transported away by the telehandler or it can rotate to dump the waste away from the hole or into a truck for removal. Bucket attachments are available in a range of capacities for small or large digging jobs.
Work platforms are a less well-known telehandler attachment but extremely useful for quick access to hard to reach elevated work areas. Once the platform is attached to the boom, the telehandler performs all the work of a telescopic boom lift. Workers can embark and be lifted into place by the telehandler, which is more than capable of safely supporting their weight. Again, this saves the expense of hiring multiple pieces of equipment and removes the need for time consuming scaffolding erection.
SERV Plant Hire are plant and machinery specialists offering a huge variety of construction equipment and tools for hire to the North West of England. We offer a range of market leading Manitou telehandlers, from compact models ideal for urban and indoor projects to our largest model with a lift height of 18 metres. We can also supply a variety of attachment to allow users to fully exploit the versatility telehandlers offer. Whatever your needs, contact us. We will be happy to answer any questions and ensure you have the best equipment for the job.