A telehandler or a telescopic handler is a machine that is popular in the agriculture and construction businesses. These machinery are similar in appearance and function to a lift truck or a forklift but are actually more like a crane instead of a forklift. The telehandler offers improved versatility of a single telescopic boom that could extend upwards and forwards from the vehicle. The operator has the ability to connect various kinds of attachments on the boom's end. Some of the most popular attachments comprise: a bucket, a muck grab, a lift table or pallet forks.
A telehandler usually uses pallet forks as their most popular attachment in order to move loads through places that are normally not reachable for a typical forklift. For instance, telehandlers can transport cargo to and from places that are not usually reachable by regular forklift units. These devices could also remove palletized cargo from inside a trailer and place these loads in high locations, such as on rooftops for instance. Previously, this aforementioned situation will require 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: because the boom raises or extends when the machine is bearing a load, it also acts as a lever and causes the vehicle to become somewhat unbalanced, despite the counterweights on the back. This translates to the lifting capacity decreasing fast as the working radius increases. The working radius is the distance between the center of the load and the front of the wheels.
For example, a vehicle that has a 5000 lb. capacity with the boom retracted may be able to safely raise only as much as 400 pounds when it is fully extended with a low boom angle. The same unit with a 5000 lb. lift capacity that has the boom retracted might be able to easily support as much as 10,000 lb. with the boom raised up to 70.
The Matbro Company within Horley, Surrey, England first pioneered telehandlers. These machinery were developed from their articulated cross country forestry forklifts. Initially, they had a centrally mounted boom design on the front portion. This positioned the cab of the driver on the machinery's rear part, as in the Teleram 40 model. The rigid chassis design with a rear mounted boom and the cab located on the side has ever since become more and more popular.