Telehandlers: Compact, simple, powerful
By Joe Sargent05 June 2019
With 29,700 machines sold last year, the European telescopic handler (telehandlers) market has rarely been so buoyant. The only time demand was higher was in 2007, at the height of the pre-crisis boom.
According to specialist market research and forecasting company Off-Highway Research, they account for approximately 16% of total construction equipment demand. The only machines selling in greater numbers throughout Europe are crawler and mini excavators.
Telehandlers are most popular in the UK and France, where there have historically been major domestic producers like JCB and Manitou to popularise their use. German demand for telehandlers is small by comparison, with sales about half that of France and the UK.
While there are domestic producers in Germany, there has also been historical competition from products like self-erecting tower cranes and more recently telescopic boom wheeled loaders.
Europe is the key telehandler manufacturing centre for the world. Last year almost 50,000 machines were produced across the region, meaning 20,000, or 40% of production, was net export.
Kicking off with innovation, French manufacturer Manitou has launched its 100% electric range known as the Oxygen line. Two new telehandlers feature in this range alongside a new access platform.
The MRT 2550 h Oxygen Lab telehandler is a hybrid prototype version of the diesel MRT 2550 model, capable of operating in 100% electric mode. Retaining the same characteristics as the diesel-powered version, it has 25 m lifting height with a capacity of 5 tonnes.
Representing a new concept for the company is the MT 625 e Oxygen. It is a lightweight telehandler designed to accommodate an electric engine. The cab has also been redesigned with new intuitive operator aids. Natural, contemporary and sustainable materials, including wood, are also used in the cab, an example of the group’s eco-design policy.
Arnaud Sochas, innovation manager for Manitou, said, “Players in the construction market are faced with increasing demand for flexible, low-carbon solutions, especially for urban work sites. With the Oxygen label, the Manitou group wants to provide a concrete response to these needs.
“Our approach obviously includes electric machines, but our primary aim is to provide a proportional solution tailored to each application. These solutions must be cost-effective for the user, and we are working on reducing their total cost of ownership while at the same time reducing their environmental impact.”
Responding to mining activity requirements, the company also introduced the high capacity diesel MHT 12330 telehandler at Bauma. It has a lifting height of 12 m, with a capacity ranging from 33 tonnes with forks to 36 tonnes with hook. Equipped with a 182 Kw Deutz stage V engine, this model also benefits from special protective covers on the work road lights.
The controls and cabin are identical to the MT telehandler range, making them easier to use. There is also a substantial range of mining attachments, with a fork positioner (width 2,900 mm) with side shift and a capacity of 33 tonnes to 12 m.
Pettibone has announced its latest telehandler, the T1258X, which has the capacity to lift nearly 5.45 tonnes. This new ‘Traverse’ model product line that offers a traversing boom carriage which can move loads by traveling horizontally.
Up to 1.77 m of horizontal boom transfer allows operators to safely place loads at full lift height without needing to coordinate multiple boom functions.
The new telehandler is powered by a Cummins 87 Kw QSF 3.8 Tier 4 Final diesel engine and offers a specified lift height of 17.83 m. By contrast, traditional fixed boom pivots typically have a true landing height that is less than the promoted lift height, as users must account for withdrawing the forks out of the load with enough rearward travel for the fork tips to clear the landing zone. The traversing boom allows for maximum forward reach of 14.58 m.
Discussing JCB’s telehandlers, or Loadalls as the company names them, general product manager Dave Hardwick said, “The key considerations for JCB when developing a machine are the application and environment as these drive the size, performance and features of the machine.
“As new requirements develop it is important to ensure the range evolves to meet these needs. An example of this is the increasing number of biogas plants requiring large powerful Loadalls to ensure rapid handling of material.” To which JCB’s response was the 560-80.
In the same way that all the JCB Loadall rental machines have evolved to deliver compact lift and place capabilities. The JCB 540-180 was developed for exactly that application, while also delivering low cost easy to maintain machines using the JCB EcoMax 55kW which does not require a DPF.
By focusing on the lift and place uses, JCB achieved faster cycle times and greater payload with a chain driven boom. Reducing the overall machine footprint so two machines could fit on to a truck – simplifying and reducing the cost of delivery.
When asked about the future for JCB in this sector, Hardwick said, “Telehandlers are increasingly being used in enclosed applications such as basements, tunnelling and indoors, while Ultra Low Emissions Zones are increasing in urban areas.
“Machines offering low noise working will also open some further opportunities. JCB continues to explore all opportunities in materials handling and sees great potential in segments that are currently niche users of materials handling equipment.”
Experts in compact telehandlers, Ausa started manufacturing these machines in 2008. The range comprises three models, the T144H, T204H and T235H, which has the boom positioned on the side. It allows a more spacious cab with 360° visibility but reduces total width.
The T144H is specifically known for its compactness, at 1,405mm wide, and has a load capacity of 1,350kg and a lifting height of 4m. Thanks to its small dimensions, it is the only telescopic handler on the market in the 1 and 1.5 tonne category that can be placed on a traditional trailer.
The Taurulift T204H and T235H models in the 2 tonne and 2.3 tonne category have a lifting height of 4.4m and 5m, respectively. The company says, “Safety and the electrification of the machines are the two main trends in the sector nowadays.” For example, the load indicator on the T144H has an automatic overload limiter.
Sticking with the theme of small but mighty machines, Haulotte’s new HTL 3207 telehandler is the most compact telehandler that the company has offered to date. The model utilises a hydrostatic transmission alongside an inching pedal for smooth and progressive driving.
The company says that thanks to proportional movements, manoeuvring is intuitive, secure and precise. The HTL 3207 provides a maximum lift capacity of 3.2 tonnes, and is designed to lift any type of load up to a height of 6.85 m.
With a short turning radius and a length of 4.67 m, this new machine can easily access narrow spaces.
The new compact telehandler has been built to be user friendly, with a spacious and ergonomic cab offering enhanced visibility.
A fully adjustable seat with shock absorbers is included to reduce operator fatigue.
The 4 in 1 joystick enables the operator to control movements more precisely and all controls have been specifically positioned to be easily accessible according to their frequency of use.
Finally, the load moment indicator which is positioned to be easily read includes an automatic cut off when operating with a tilting risk and an automatic reset in case of malfunction.
Bobcat has also developed a new high lift capacity compact telehandler. The new TL43.80HF has a high lift capacity of 4.3 tonnes and a maximum lift height of almost 8 m.
As a result of the box welded frame, low load centre, long wheel base and large rear counterweight, the machine has improved stability. This allowed Bobcat the freedom to reduce the dimensions of the machine to a width of 2.3 m and a length of less than 5 m from the rear to the fork face. This enables the machine to turn in a radius of just 3.71 m.
The machine is ready for use in rough terrain and has been optimised for applications such as working with materials and use in digging. The incorporation of new heavy duty Dana Spicer axles with limited slip differential and the tractive force available of up to 90% of the machine weight also aid in this type of work.
The company now offers a range of 15 different rigid frame telehandlers offering lift capacities of 2.6 to 4.3 tonnes and maximum lifting heights from 6 to 18 m.
One of Bobcat’s T35.105 telehandlers has been playing an important role working on the quays and pontoons of the La Rochelle leisure marina in France.
The main use for the telehandler is to transport some 2,500 finger piers – short, narrow piers projecting from docks for pedestrians – which measure from 4 to 15 m in length and can weigh up to 2 tonnes.
The finger piers need to be maintained, repaired and replaced on a regular basis. The compact design, manoeuvrability and stability of the T35.105 is key to lifting them and transporting them from the pontoons to the workshops.
To meet the special requirements of operation at the La Rochelle marina, several enhancements to the T35.105 have been made. One is to ensure the paint adheres perfectly in the saline environment. To do this the machine has been metalised. All the main metal parts, such as the frame and arm, have been given a special surface treatment, increasing their resistance to corrosion.
In contrast to Bobcat, Tobroco Giant are just entering the telehandler market. The company’s first offering in this sector is the 4548 Tendo HD, with a second machine set to enter the market later this year.
The 4548 Tendo HD is very compact at a width of just 1.6 m and 2 m high, with an inside turning radius of just 1.2 m. This machine is capable of lifting objects weighing up to 1.4 tonnes to a height of 4.8 m on forks and has a capacity of 1.5 tonnes at ground level or 1.2 tonnes at full height.
The Tendo also has the option to be equipped with crab steering. This means it can drive laterally offset for better manoeuvrability close to structures.
The new GT5048 telehandler, which will be released later in the year, will replace the existing model. When it becomes commercially available, the new telehandler will be powered by a 36kW, Kubota, diesel engine with catalytic converter (DOC) and DPF that meets the latest, EU Stage V, clean engine standards.
Genie has also been working on improving its emissions. The company says that its GTH-3007 compact telehandler will now feature Stage V-compliant engines keeping performance clean.
The Stage V units will be available for European countries and Turkey from July, 2019.
As the heavier lifting, higher reaching brother of the Genie GTH-2506 compact telehandler, weighing 5970 kg, the GTH-3007 telehandler shares the same rugged durability.
Terex AWP EMEAR (Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia) product manager Zach Gilmor said, “Unlike other heavier units by other brands, our GTH-3007 telehandler combines the full capacity of a 6.89 m machine with the power that only a 74-hp Stage V engine can provide.”
The GTH-3007 boasts a maximum lift capacity of 3000 kg, a vertical reach capacity of 2500 kg at a maximum height of 6.89 m, and a horizontal reach capacity of 1000 kg at 3.99 m.
Coupled with a 2.55 m inside turning radius and 45 cm ground clearance, its compact dimensions offer a machine length at front wheels of 4.06 m, a machine width of 2 m and a machine height of 2.07 m making the GTH-3007 unit a match for jobs on busy and congested sites in confined or difficult to access spaces.
The GTH-3007 telehandler includes a two-stage boom with no chains or cables, durable heavy-duty steel fenders, Dana axles with dual brakes and full-time planetary four-wheel drive and four-wheel steer.
Equipped with a variable speed hydrostatic transmission for smooth powerful drive, this unit features a side-mounted engine cover with a comfortable opening angle for easy filter replacement, access to engine components and hydraulic test ports located at the front of the chassis.
For attachment flexibility, the GTH-3007 comes with an optional auxiliary hydraulics Quick Attach carriage.
Fellow US company Snorkel launched two new telehandlers at Bauma 2019, as the new SR1442 and the SR1745 (branded as the SR9244 and SR1045 in the Americas) join the existing SR626 in the company’s range.
The new four-wheel-drive telehandlers are equipped with enclosed cabs with heat and air conditioning as standard.
Snorkel’s SR1442 is capable of lifting up to 4.2 tonnes with a maximum lift height of up to 13.5 m, and a maximum forward reach of up to 9.5 m. The larger SR1745 has a maximum lift height of up to 16.4 m, with a maximum forward reach of 12.6 m, and can lift up to 4,535 kg.
French company Mecalac doesn’t have a true telehandler on offer but it does offer an interesting smaller alternative.
The AS 900tele is described as a telescopic swing loader, rather than a handler, but it offers the same features as a telehandler, on a smaller scale.
The machine weighs 7.25 tonnes and, with the attachment in its lowest position, is approximately 6.27 m long. The compact machine boasts a turning radius of just 3.71 m.
Equipped with a pallet fork, it features a maximum lifting height of 4.72 m, a maximum outreach of 3.50 m and a maximum carrying capacity of 2,270 kg on the forks.
Powerful auxiliaries in such a small machine mean it that it offers more than just pick and carry where larger telehandlers simply cannot.
Additional attachments include a mower, road sweeper, earth auger and grab bucket.
The four-wheel-steered Mecalac swing loaders feature a low-torsion, rigid chassis to offer stability, with maximum agility and efficiency for the worksite.
Mecalac says the key to this productivity is that you can simultaneously drive, steer, swing and telescope while performing your daily loading work.
The Merlo Training and Research Centre recently hosted the Italian Army’s Italian Taurinense Alpine Brigade for a unique project.
The activity involving the Brigade’s 2nd Alpini Regiment was a practical assessment for the potential joint use of civilian and military vehicles and personnel in natural disasters, relief operations and other such occurrences.
The assessment looked at the feasibility of moving 6 m containers using Merlo off-road telehandlers, normally used in construction and agriculture applications. The activity consisted of loading and unloading the containers and handling them in various configurations.
The initiative was also designed to test the effectiveness of transporting Merlo telehandlers inside the containers themselves, in a state that would enable them to be used immediately for lifting, handling and excavation work.
Finally, training was carried out with rescue workers. The simulations, never carried out before, saw them abseiling 30 m from a platform attachment, with space for up to three rescuers at a time in full equipment.
Aerial survey photographs of the activities were taken using drones, to create three-dimensional mapping of the hypothetical intervention site.
Paolo Peretti, Merlo Training and Research Centre director, said, “The brigade shared an innovative project and helped to implement new training scenarios, with a view to improving the effectiveness of emergency relief operations in situations of natural disaster and humanitarian crisis.
“This is the reason for which interoperability is of particular importance, specifically with regard to the contribution that it can make in terms of increasing the operational capabilities of the equipment used by the Alpine commands”.