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2005 JCB 520 Telescopic Forklift
Compact telehandlers
have established a niche market for themselves among skid steer loaders, compact wheel loaders, and larger telehandlers. In the last few years their use on residential and construction job sites has increased in North America. They have also been undergoing a phase of substantial development in the market and the demand for them continues to grow. Noted for their extreme versatility and ability to maneuver in tight spaces larger telehandlers can’t access, compact telehandlers are being used by contractors as toolcarriers and for pick-and-place applications. Even the warehousing industry has begun to realize the benefits of this small machine with its telescopic boom over a straight mast forklift. These small machines are particularly adept for use in agri-business, landscaping, construction projects, and for material moving and loading. The versatility of these machines is further enhanced with the capacity to be fitted with many different attachments including those designed for use on skid steer loaders.

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[edit] History

Telehandlers were first used in Europe on farms where they soon became a staple piece of agricultural machinery. A little over a decade ago they migrated to the U.S. market for use on construction sites.[1] Before the versatility of compact telehandlers was realized, the larger three- to four-stage boom pick-and-place telehandlers manufactured by companies such as JLG, Gradall, Lull, and Skytrak with reaches often exceeding 50 feet (15 m) dominated the North American construction industry.[2]

[edit] Features/How it Works

Compact telehandlers are distinguished from their larger counterparts by weight, size, reach, and boom style. A telehandler is considered a compact unit if it typically weighs under 11,000 pounds (4,990 kg).[3] A compact telehandler also has a two-stage boom design over a three- or four-boom stage design characteristic of larger telehandlers. The compact version also uses a low pivot boom to increase cab visibility when carrying loads. They also have smaller and narrower dimensions compared to regular telehandlers, with lift capacities ranging between 5,000 and 7,000 pounds (2,268 to 3,175 kg) and a reach extending anywhere from 13 to 20 feet (4 to 6.1 m).[4] They also come with a horizontal reach of up to almost 13 feet (4 m).[5]

[edit] Uses

The compact telehandler is very versatile because it can be used either as a pick-and-place machine or as a toolcarrier. The machine's popularity began on residential construction project sites where space is usually limited and cramped. More opportunities opened up for their use when contractors realized their usefulness in building applications where the framing might be complete and certain height restrictions are present for internal access to buildings. In fact, as a lifting unit their reach is about level to the height of a two-story building—enough of a height requirement to meet the majority of contractors’ needs.[6] Some of the more common construction applications in which compact telehandlers are used are landscaping and nurseries, building of parking garages and strip malls, multi-story construction, erecting steel, masonry, and framing. Their use in agri-business or farming is also widespread. For example, one way they have been used in farming is in the loading of feeder wagons that have become to large to load without them.[7] Many manufacturers such as Caterpillar even highlight the usefulness of their compact telehandlers in agriculture.[8] Compact telehandlers are also popular in the equipment rental business because of their versatility.

[edit] Steering

Most manufacturers design compact telehandlers with two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, and crab steering. Two-wheel drive gives the unit the ability to travel at higher speeds over longer distances necessary for traversing job sites. Four-wheel drive gives the machine a tighter turning radius and ability to travel over more difficult terrain. Crab steering is what provides the compact telehandler with maneuverability by enabling both the front and rear wheels to shift 45 degrees to the left or right.[9]

[edit] Cab

The cab environment on a compact telehandler will vary, comprising a rollover protective structure (ROPS) cage on the lower end of the scale, and a fully enclosed cab with a heater, defroster, and standard windshield wiper on the higher end. One commonality with all compact telehandler cabs is that they are designed to be quite spacious to accommodate a larger-sized operator. Other cab options may include air conditioning, suspension seats, arm rests, tilt steering, cup holders, and satellite radio.

[edit] Attachments

Coupling high-flow and high-pressure auxiliary hydraulics, compact telehandlers can be fitted with a variety of attachments that increase their range of function, allowing one machine to essentially perform as many. For example, telehandlers are more adept in ground-engaging applications than larger-sized ones. A compact telehandler can easily be turned into a mini excavator by attaching a bucket to it. It can also handle a variety of other attachments. Some of the more common types of attachments are light- to heavy-duty buckets for material transfer applications, truss booms for extending reach for such tasks as lifting materials over obstacles, fork carriages, both rotating and side shifting, for pick-and-place applications, augers for drilling holes for posts, pier supports or trees in different soil conditions, brooms for sweeping, and crane hooks. Many of the compact telehandlers being manufactured now are also designed to outfit skid steer attachments. For example, Bobcat’s V417 VersaHandler is fitted with its Bob-Tach attachment, a mounting system customized for its skid steer loaders.[10] “A contractor can maximize the versatility of his attachments using 20 different attachments on the V417 that are also approved for use on large skid steer loaders,” reported Greg Rostberg, a marketing manager at Bobcat, in an interview with Compact Equipment magazine.[11]

[edit] Common Manufacturers

[edit] References

  1. Compacts are King of the Jobsite. Cygnus Business Media. 02-13-2009.
  2. Elevating Expectations. Compact telehandlers are lifting more than a few eyebrows. Compact Equipment.02-13-2009.
  3. Elevating Expectations. Compact telehandlers are lifting more than a few eyebrows. Compact Equipment.02-13-2009.
  4. Elevating Expectations. Compact telehandlers are lifting more than a few eyebrows. Compact Equipment.02-13-2009.
  5. Telehandlers Reach for the Top. Contractors Magazine. 02-13-2009.
  6. Compacts are King of the Jobsite. Cygnus Business Media. 02-13-2009.
  7. Elevating Expectations. Compact telehandlers are lifting more than a few eyebrows. Compact Equipment.02-13-2009.
  8. Caterpillar TH210 Compact Telehandler. Brochure. 02-13-2009.
  9. Elevating Expectations. Compact telehandlers are lifting more than a few eyebrows. Compact Equipment.02-13-2009.
  10. Compact Telehandlers Reach Their Place in Construction Equipment Market. Construction Equipment. 02-23-2009.
  11. Elevating Expectations. Compact telehandlers are lifting more than a few eyebrows. Compact Equipment.02-13-2009.