The telehandler or telescopic handler is a heavy duty machinery which is popular within both the agriculture and construction industries. These machines are rather similar in both function and appearance to the lift truck, except it more closely resembles a crane. The telehandler offers increased versatility of a single telescopic boom which could extend upwards as well as forwards from the vehicle. The operator could connect many attachments on the boom's end. Several of the most popular attachments consist of: a bucket, a muck grab, a lift table or pallet forks.
A telehandler usually utilizes pallet forks as their most common attachment to be able to move loads through areas which are usually not reachable for a typical forklift. Like for example, telehandlers could move cargo to and from places which are not usually reachable by standard forklift models. These devices also have the ability to remove palletized cargo from inside a trailer and position these loads in high locations, such as on rooftops for example. Before, this situation mentioned above will require a crane. Cranes could be expensive to use and not always a practical or time-efficient choice.
Another advantage is also the telehandlers biggest drawback: since the boom extends or raises when the machine is bearing a load, it also acts as a lever and causes the vehicle to become quite unstable, 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.
For example, a vehicle which has a 5000 pound capacity with the boom retracted may be able to safely lift just as heavy as 400 pounds once it is fully extended with a low boom angle. The same unit with a 5000 pound lift capacity which has the boom retracted may be able to easily support as heavy 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. Initially, they had a centrally mounted boom design on the front portion. This positioned the cab of the driver on the back portion of the equipment, as in the Teleram 40 unit. The rigid chassis design with the cab located on the side and a rear mounted boom has since become increasingly more popular.