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Telescopic handlers

A telescopic forklift, also known as extensible reach forklift, telescopic handler, or telehandler, is a piece of heavy equipment used primarily in the agricultural and industrial sectors. It is mainly used to move heavy loads where the origin or destination is hard to reach with a conventional forklift. They are ideal when lifting heavy loads to the fifth or sixth floor of a building.

The telescopic forklift derives its name from its telescopic boom, which can extend forwards and upwards from the base. It is often a quicker and more cost-effective solution than deploying a crane. The telescopic forklift poses one significant limitation compared to the crane, however. As load is carried further up the extended telescopic boom, it applies a lever force on the vehicle which can greatly destabilize it. A load chart is usually provided to calculate the maximum weight the telescopic forklift can handle. Some telescopic forklifts also come equipped with a computer system to measure permissible load.

Telescopic handlers

Telescopic handlers

Heavy equipment manufacturer JCB is the current worldwide market leader for telehandlers, holding 60 percent of the market in the UK itself, with Manitou a close second. Other important brands in the telescopic forklift market include Caterpillar, Ingersoll Rand, and JLG out of the United States, as well as Matbro (UK), Merlo (Italy), Claas (Germany), Saez (Spain), and Load Lifter Mfg (Canada).

With construction in space-restricted sites becoming the norm, telescopic forklifts have grown in popularity worldwide in the last decade, despite sales leveling off in the UK. This rising interest has led to the introduction of compact telehandler models, which are typically less than 2,000mm wide and 2,000mm high. These models can easily navigate cluttered work sites, and with the telescopic boom fully extended can bear loads of up to 800kg on average.