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What Are Telehandlers Used For?

Posted by on 09-01-2019
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Common applications of telehandlers

Telehandlers are one of the most versatile pieces of hydraulic lifting equipment in the construction and mining industries. The machine comprises a lifting attachment that is connected to a telescopic boom to handle a range of hoisting applications. As such, telehandlers are also known as variable reach trucks or rough terrain telescopic handlers.

Features of Telehandlers

Modern handlers are designed with the combined capabilities of a crane, forklift, and work platform, all integrated into a single machine that offers a wide array of functions. Their telescopic boom can extend both forward and upward from the chassis to suit a wide range of applications.

Telehandlers can lift heavy loads, usually in the range of 2.5 to 45 tons, and come with boom lengths ranging from 6 to 46 m.

Telehandlers also have different steering modes, including:

  • Front-wheel steering—best for on-road travel.
  • Four-wheel steering—provides outstanding maneuverability in restricted areas.
  • Crab steering—helps to shift loads away from a wall or embankment.

Some telehandlers are equipped with front stabilizers to extend their lifting capability while stationary. In addition, most are equipped with a computer and sensors to monitor vehicle limits and inform the operator when they’re exceeded.

Applications of Telehandlers

Telehandlers are extremely versatile, and can be used to perform a large number of jobs in the construction, mining, or agricultural sector, depending on the accessories attached to the boom. Some of the common applications of telehandlers include:

  • Moving heavy loads to and from different places. Telehandlers are great for moving, lifting, and placing different types of materials, from construction supplies to cargo in trucks. With their large capacities of up to 12,000 pounds and intuitive controls, operators can easily and accurately move and place items.
  • Lifting and placing loads beyond the reach of forklifts. Forklift trucks are limited by their height. For applications that require you to lift or place materials several meters or more above ground level, a telehandler can perform the job safely and efficiently.
  • Lifting jobs instead of cranes. They can also be used as a cost effective alternative for cranes in large construction projects, as they are designed to work in rough terrain and uneven surfaces.
  • Clearing sites. Telehandlers can be fitted with a snow plough attachment to remove snow from the jobsite and entrances to make it safer to work during winter. Alternatively, they can be fitted with a general purpose bucket to load, carry, and dump waste when looking to sweep up or clear up a jobsite.
  • Repairing tall buildings. When you need workers to access tall buildings or statues for repair and maintenance work, they can use a telescopic handler fitted with a work platform attachment. This attachment has a sturdy construction with guard rails and non-slip floor plates for safety. Moreover, they can be electronically controlled and fixed, extended, or rotated with the telescopic handler.

Considering the above applications, telehandlers can be used to replace two or more machines on most job sites by simply adding the relevant attachments. Additions such as exterior lights, including strong headlights and tail lights can allow you to work at night, while enclosed cabs with heating or air conditioning can help your crew work comfortably even in adverse weather conditions.

Types of Telehandlers

There are two primary categories of telescopic handlers:
  1. Non-rotating

These machines feature a telescopic boom mounted and pivoted on a powered wheeled chassis. The boom can be elevated from below the horizontal to a nearly vertical position. The outer end of the boom carries a fork carriage for handling unit loads. As the elevation of the boom changes, when raising or lowering a load, the forks level automatically for proper balance.

Non-rotating handlers can be used to transport loads to different areas of a jobsite and place them at an appropriate height.

Many telehandlers are equipped with stabilizers that are deployed when the machine is stationary to provide additional stability and enhance its lifting capacity.

  1. Rotating

These have all the features of non-rotating telehandlers, with the addition of a slewing or rotating superstructure on which the boom and operator’s cab are mounted. Rotating telehandlers are also equipped with outriggers at either end of the chassis that allows the entire chassis to be lifted completely off the ground for maximum stability.

Rotating telehandlers have several advantages over non-rotating types, including their:
  • Compact chassis size
  • Increased stability
  • Enhanced lifting height
  • Ease of placing loads without moving the chassis

Telehandler and Attachment Selection

Telehandlers come with a simple quick hitch design that makes it possible to change attachments efficiently and safely to perform various functions. A safe and effective telehandler is one that is well matched to the type and size of load to be lifted or carried, as well as the environment in which it will be used. The selection should be part of the planning process.

All telehandlers can be fitted with a wide array of attachments, such as work platforms, buckets, skips, and crane jibs to fit a specific application. But the attachment should be chosen carefully to ensure a safe and productive telehandler-attachment combination.

The standard attachment in most telehandlers is the fork carriage, which allows you to handle all kinds of lifting jobs including pallets, timber and steel, concrete blocks, and so on. The forks allow you to use the telehandler for moving loads to and from places that a conventional forklift cannot reach. They come in different sizes, so you should consider both the weight and dimensions of the materials to be lifted when selecting a specific fork type.

Crane jib attachments can be used when you need your telehandler to perform pick-and-carry jobs like a crane. This attachments makes it possible to lift and shift loads around the jobsite when a standard fork carriage is unsuitable.

Different buckets can be used to lift loose material. Larger buckets are best for carrying lighter materials, whereas multi-purpose buckets are ideal for dozing, grabbing, leveling, and back blading. They can be used for applications where a backhoe loader or wheeled loader is unsuitable, or would require a ramp or conveyor.

All selected attachments should be compatible with the telehandler they’ll be used with. The telehandler manufacturer can be consulted when you’re uncertain about the selection of third-party attachments.

Final Note: Only Work With Fully Qualified and Certified Operators!

It is very important that only fully trained, certified, and experienced operators handle this equipment. Telehandlers are incredibly powerful machinery, and all health and safety practices should be observed when operating or loading attachments. For more information about telehandlers, call Dwight Crane at 416-639-2638 or contact us here.

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