For example, by switching out these tools, telehandlers can be used for more than just lifting applications — they excel at hoisting (and material handling) tasks too when equipped with a boom-mounted lifting lug attachment (also referred to as hooks or clevises). This type of attachment allows operators to put a chain or straps through it to efficiently handle suspended loads (aka hoist materials).
Because they are purpose-built to move heavy objects with great maneuverability, using a telehandler for this type of material handling work is often more cost-effective than bringing in a crane. Let’s take a closer look at how…
What different considerations go into selecting a telehandler for hoisting or material handling versus lifting?
The most important thing to do before selecting a telehandler for hoisting or material handling is knowing two things: 1) what is the work that needs to be completed, and 2) where will that work be done.
This starts with calculating the “maximum pick” that the machine will need to handle, which can be done in three steps:
Identify the maximum weight of the load that needs to be lifted and handled (i.e. how heavy is the heaviest object/material that needs to be picked up). Make sure the telehandler has enough capacity to support all of the lifts.
Figure out the maximum angle the machine needs to be able to lift and place the load (i.e. what’s the furthest up, over and/or out that the telehandler needs to reach). It is important to know how much space is available on the job site for maneuvering and positioning the load. Depending on the site, trade-offs may need to be made when selecting a telehandler’s size versus its capacity. Space restrictions will influence not only the size of the telehandler but also the style. For example, if the machine needs to feed the material from a stationary position, similar to how a crane would perform on-site, a rotating telehandler should be considered. JLG® rotating telehandlers provide 360-degrees of rotation from one spot. To learn more, check out these resources: Rotating Telehandlers: A Unique Equipment Solution and Rotating Telehandlers Lift, Extend and Rotate.
Determine the maximum height that the load needs to be placed (i.e. how high does the load need to be lifted)
Armed with these measurements, users can then refer to machine load charts to guide them in selecting the appropriate telehandler. It is important to note that all telehandler attachments have their own load chart, which should always be referenced before use.
Once a model is chosen, it’s important to consider what attachments are needed to complete the work. Telehandlers are called “tool carriers” for a reason — they can handle a wide range of hoisting and material handling applications because of the large variety of attachments they can be equipped with, from buckets, carriages and truss booms/lift hooks to specialty attachments like tire handlers.
Understanding the nature of the work to be accomplished and the capabilities of each type of attachment the machine can be fitted with is crucial to safe and efficient use. This means knowing whether a load needs to be picked or placed. Does the job require loose material to be scooped or a load suspended? Does the operator need to grapple loose material or pipes? Answering these questions will help owners/operators select the appropriate size and type of attachments needed.
The final step in selecting a telehandler is to know where the machine will be working and to understand what the job site conditions will be during operation. For example, will the machine be working on undeveloped surfaces like dirt or rocky soil, or on finished surfaces like turf or concrete? This information helps to determine what tires are needed on the machine — foam-filled/solid tires are great for undeveloped terrain, and non-marking tires or turf tires will be needed in developed areas to protect the ground.
Also, consider what options the machine should have to keep operators safe and productive during long hours in the cab. For instance, will he/she need an enclosed cab equipped with heat and air conditioning? Depending on the climate and the time of year, this choice is very important. Will he/she need to work before the sun comes up or after it goes down? If so, getting a model with work lights is necessary. When working in heavily congested areas, beacons should be considered.