During the last ten years, telehandlers, also referred to as rough terrain variable reach lift trucks, have surpassed the reputation of powered mobile machines. These machines have become the gem of the construction industry and with excellent reason. These machines are very strong, useful and versatile. Because the number of models and manufacturers has exploded over the past 5 years or so, there are currently a few of these equipment readily offered on the market.
In technical terms, a telehandler is considered to be an ITA* Class 7 Powered Industrial Truck. This description means it is a rough terrain forklift, but just in name only. Any of the similarities between a vertical mast type of forklift and a telehandler literally ends on operation and on sight. There are some other significant distinctions between the two machinery discussed below.
A telehandler has a completely different appearance because it is equipped with a horizontal boom rather than a vertical mast. From a distance, a telehandler with a jib attachment can resemble more of a mobile crane instead of a lift truck. The boom is able to retract and extend or telescope to lengths of 30 feet and beyond depending on the specific model. The boom is also able to elevate to an angle from horizontal to roughly 70 degrees. Telehandlers have earned the nickname of "zoom booms" because of their ability to telescope. This name has become rather famous with the operators.
One more optional boom related function is known as a "Transaction". The telehandler outfitted with this option mounted on the chassis. When the operator activates it, the boom will move forward and back for distances up to 8 feet or more. One of the major advantages of this function is that it enables the forks to be withdrawn from a cargo with no snags or cleanly and the forks can be cleanly inserted under, regardless of the boom angle.
Zoom booms have changed the construction industry. They can accomplish many kinds of jobs which used to take a lot more time and man-power to do.