05 Jun 2013
A telescopic handler is sort of a hybrid between a forklift and a crane. Its versatile telescopic arm can extend forwards and upwards from the vehicle and the end can be fitted with various attachments, including a bucket, pallet forks, a muck grab or a lift table. This sort of vehicle is used widely in industry and agriculture.
It’s commonly fitted with pallet forks to move loads to and from areas not accessible by forklifts. For example, a telescopic handler can be used to remove pallets from a trailer and place them on rooftops or other high places. It is often used instead of a crane, which is not always practical or cost-efficient.
Stability of Telescopic Handlers
Telescopic handlers become less stable the further its boom is extended, so the lifting capacity decreases as the working radius increases.
For example, a vehicle with a 5,000 lb. capacity with its boom retracted can only lift as little as 400 lb. when its boom is extended fully at a low angle. But the same handler can also support as much as 10,000 lb. if its boom is raised to 70 degrees.
Operators of telescopic handlers often use load charts that use the load weight, boom angle and height to calculate whether a given task is possible. Some models even have on-board computers that can make these calculations almost instantly and even have sensors that constantly monitor the vehicle, issuing warnings whenever the vehicles limits are being approached or exceeded. In some cases, the vehicle will automatically shut down before its capacity can be exceeded. Other models come with front stabilizers, which extend the lifting capacity of the handler when it is stationary.
Telescopic handlers were first developed in the 1960s by the UK’s Matbro company, which built them for forestry and agricultural applications. The original models had booms that were mounted in the center of the vehicle’s front section with the driver’s cab in the rear. Most contemporary models use a rigid chassis design with rear mounted booms and a cab on the side of the vehicle.
Forklift Boom Attachment Options
Some forklifts can be modified to be used as a mobile boom lift with the addition of a telescoping boom attachment. The telescoping unit can be slid onto truck forks and secured with a safety chain. They come available in a variety of adjustable boom lengths. When telescoping attachments are added to a forklift, it is required that a new nameplace be requested for the vehicle.