The telescopic handler or just telehandler is a heavy duty machine that is well-known within both the construction and agriculture businesses. These machines are quite similar in both function and appearance to the forklift, except it more closely resembles a crane. The telehandler provides improved versatility of a single telescopic boom that can extend forwards as well as upwards from the vehicle. The operator can attach numerous attachments on the end of the boom. Some of the most common attachments consist of: a bucket, a muck grab, a lift table or pallet forks.
In order to transport loads through areas which are normally unreachable for a typical forklift. The telehandler uses pallet forks as their most common attachment. For example, telehandlers can move cargo to and from places that are not typically reachable by regular forklift models. These devices also have the ability to remove palletized loads from inside a trailer and place these loads in high locations, like on rooftops for example. Previously, this situation mentioned above would need a crane. Cranes could be very pricey to utilize and not always a practical or time-efficient option.
Another advantage is also the telehandlers biggest drawback: since the boom raises or extends when the equipment is bearing a load, it also acts as a lever and causes the vehicle to become quite unstable, even with the counterweights on the rear. This translates to the lifting capacity decreasing quickly as the working radius increases. The working radius is the distance between the center of the load and the front of the wheels.
When it is fully extended with a low boom angle for example, the telehandler will just have a 400 pound weight capacity, whilst a retracted boom can support weights up to 5000 pounds. The same unit with a 5000 lb. lift capacity that has the boom retracted might be able to easily support as heavy as 10,000 lb. with the boom raised up to 70.
The Matbro Company in Horley, Surrey, England first pioneered telehandlers. These equipment were developed from their articulated cross country forestry forklifts. At first, they had a centrally mounted boom design on the front portion. This placed the cab of the driver on the machinery's back part, as in the Teleram 40 unit. The rigid chassis design with the cab located on the side and a rear mounted boom has since become increasingly more popular.