Surprisingly to some, the world of industrial and agricultural lifting machinery is innovative, fast moving and ever-evolving. What was once state of the art quickly becomes industry standard as manufacturers continually strive to compete and get ahead.
Not convinced? What about if you heard that household names such as Dieci, JCB, Merlo and Manitou were just a handful of the big name players in the game? Add to the list esteemed manufacturers such as Bobcat and Caterpillar and it quickly becomes clear that there are some behemoths of the engineering world involved in the race to the top.
The telehandler, the top all-round lifter in almost all weight categories, is no exception. In fact, as one of the most widely used machines across an entire range of industries, budgets for telehandler R&D are higher than most. As a result, year upon year, the range and spec of machines on offer expands.
This article takes a look at the mid-market machines, typically in the region of £30,000 to £40,000 brand new. Whether you are looking to procure your first vehicle, expand your fleet or lease one of these incredible machines and without further ado, here is what is on offer this year.
Lifting power is one of first specifications any buyer inspects and this season you will not be disappointed. Bigger is better in our eyes and this year’s range of telehandler machines can out-lift their ancestors comfortably. Expect maximum lifts of over 4 tons up 7m for brand new machines costing less that £40,000. For capacities of 3t expect to pay up to 25% less. If you need to lift higher, the latest machines can extend up to 3t over 15m
Those big lifts are no longer out of your price range.
Reach is another incredibly important and actually comes hand in hand with the lifting capacity. As ever, this season’s range is better than ever with mid-market machines lifting up to 7m as standard. At the top end of the price range, expect max heights of up to 9m for 3t lifting capacities.
Manoeuvrability and Visibility
Some of the first adjectives used to describe telehandlers are often manoeuvrability and versatility, which are both typically achieved by small frames and easily controllable chassis. Often, however, manoeuvrability comes at a cost to power and reach although this season’s range tackles this issue head on.
Moreover, visibility is an increasingly considered aspect of telehandler design. For several years now, features like convex mirrors and low boom lines have allowed operators almost 360° of visibility. The latest machines are fitted with high resolution cameras allowing drivers a panoramic vision of the terrain outside the cab. The roto-telehandler, i.e a telehandler able to turn a full 360°, is also becoming increasingly popular.
Expect lifts of 4t over 7m for mid-price machines that come with some of the smallest frames manufactured. Add to this state of the art chassis design and it’s easy to see why the latest telehandlers are more manoeuvrable than ever.
Hydraulics and controls are another central consideration in telehandler design. Ill-thought out controls along with hydraulics that need high revs can spoil an otherwise well designed machine. Look for state of the art depressurisation systems, fast and responsive hydraulics that do not require high engine revs and easy to work joysticks – these should come as standard in the latest models of machine.
Value for Money
Finally, and often number one of anyone’s list of priorities, is value for money. Whilst this article has generally taken into account machines in the £30,000 to £40,000 price range, there is still a wide range of value within those limits.
One point to note is that telehandler hire is often a far more affordable means to accessing the capabilities of these machines, as opposed to investing company capital into procurement.
Whilst comparing lift capacity and reach for similarly priced machines will give you an idea of value for money, ensure to include all the factors discussed here too. On top of that, think about how much the machine is likely to depreciate over time, the warranty that comes with it (2,000 hour and 4,000 hour warranties are available on many machines) and the manufacturers track record on maintenance and machine longevity.