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 appearance and function to the forklift, except it more closely resembles a crane. The telehandler offers increased versatility of a single telescopic boom which could extend forwards as well as upwards from the vehicle. The operator could attach numerous attachments on the boom's end. Some of the most common attachments include: a muck grab, a bucket, pallet forks or a lift table.
A telehandler normally uses pallet forks as their most popular attachment to be able to transport cargo through areas which are usually not reachable for a conventional forklift. Like for instance, telehandlers could transport loads to and from places which are not typically accessible by standard forklift units. These devices can also remove palletized cargo from within a trailer and position these loads in high areas, like on rooftops for example. Previously, this situation mentioned above will need a crane. Cranes could be very pricey to use and not always a time-efficient or practical alternative.
Another advantage is also the telehandlers biggest drawback: as the boom raises or extends when the machine is bearing a load, it also acts as a lever and causes the vehicle to become quite unbalanced, despite the rear counterweights. 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 completely extended with a low boom angle for example, the telehandler would just have a 400 pound weight capacity, whereas a retracted boom could support weights as much as 5000 lb. The same model with a 5000 pound lift capacity that has the boom retracted might be able to easily support as much as 10,000 pounds with the boom raised up to 70.
The Matbro Company in Horley, Surrey, England originally 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 section. This positioned the cab of the driver on the rear part of the equipment, as in the Teleram 40 unit. The rigid chassis design with the cab situated on the side and a rear mounted boom has since become more famous.