A telehandler or a telescopic handler is a machinery that is well-known within the construction and agriculture industries. These machinery are similar in appearance and function to a forklift or a lift truck but are really more like a crane rather than a forklift. The telehandler provides increased versatility of a single telescopic boom which could extend forwards and upwards from the vehicle. The operator has the ability to connect a lot of 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 typically uses pallet forks as their most popular attachment in order to move loads through locations which are usually unreachable for a standard forklift. Like for example, telehandlers are able to move cargo to and from places that are not usually accessible by conventional forklift units. These devices can also remove palletized cargo from inside a trailer and place these loads in high areas, like on rooftops for instance. Previously, this situation mentioned above would require a crane. Cranes could be pricey to use and not always a time-efficient or practical alternative.
Another advantage is also the telehandlers largest limitation: as the boom raises or extends when the machinery is bearing a load, it also acts as a lever and causes the vehicle to become somewhat unstable, even with the counterweights on the back. 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 will just have a 400 pound weight capacity, whilst a retracted boom could support weights as much as 5000 pounds. The same unit with a 5000 pound lift capacity which has the boom retracted may be able to easily support as much as 10,000 lb. with the boom raised up to 70.
England originally pioneered the telehandler within Horley, Surrey. The Matbro Company developed these equipment from their articulated cross country forestry forklifts. Initially, they had a centrally mounted boom design on the front portion. This placed the driver's cab on the machine's rear portion, like in the Teleram 40 model. The rigid chassis design with a rear mounted boom and the cab situated on the side has ever since become more popular.