Telehandlers: telescopic focus
By Helen Wright10 April 2013
The current EU Stage IIIB engine regulations are a key driver of research and development for telescopic handler manufacturers at the moment, and provide an opportunity to update machines at the same time.
Manufacturers have been adding both big and small machines to their ranges, while others introduce technology as different as fuel-efficient engine cut-off systems, auto attachment-recognition devices and load-sensing hydraulics.
But competition is also hotting up in this market, with new manufacturers making an entrance and bringing new ranges of machines with them.
Magni is the latest new name on the scene – an Italian manufacturer founded by Ricardo Magni, a long-time president of Manitou’s Italian telehandler joint venture.
Magni will make its debut at the Bauma show in Munich, Germany, this month, showcasing a selection of machines from its two ranges, which comprise the rotating RTH models in the 18 to 30m sizes and the HTH heavy duty, fixed boom models with lifting capacities of 15, 25 and 30 tonnes.
The RTH range includes and a patented outrigger design, which incorporates a combined telescoping and pivoting system that provides a wide wheel base and allows for an extended distance between axles. This is said to provide enough space for Stage IV Final engines – thinking ahead to the emissions laws which will start to come into force next year.
Both the RTH and HTH models will come with a Magni-designed, pressurised cab, including a touch screen dashboard and air conditioning as standard. An RFID tagging system at the end of the boom will automatically recognise Magni attachments and adjust the working ranges of the machine.
The company – which has just announced a deal to use JCB engines – is now appointing dealers in Europe, including M3 in France, Colle in the Netherlands, and Konekesco in Finland.
It employs around 50 staff at its assembly facility in Italy, which has an annual production capacity of around 1,000 units, according Eugenio Magni, who is Ricardo Magni’s son and is responsible for product management and international dealer management.
“This is the second generation of rotating handlers”, Mr Magni said. “We thought we could change things and do some things better than what was available. We have 13 patents for these machines.”
At the same time, New Holland Construction has also entered the compact telehandler class through an agreement with Dieci, which is producing a version of the Apollo 25.6 that New Holland calls the LM625. Like its source machine, it has a 2.5 tonne capacity and 5.8m lift height machine but measures less than 2m high and 1.8m wide.
The company said that the LM625 and the larger LM732, which can lift 3.2 tonnes to a height of 7.1m, are increasingly popular in the European construction equipment industry.
“Since we introduced the compact sized LM732 and LM625 for landscaping and agricultural applications with great success, we have seen them gaining popularity very fast in other customer segments like maintenance and residential building where the larger frame models have been key products for a long time,” the company said.
“Overall, telescopic handlers are volume leaders in the ‘light machines’ group together with mini excavators and small wheeled loaders. The popularity of these product lines derives from their versatility, which makes them very easy to use in a wide variety of job sites,” New Holland added.
But it said the biggest issue at the moment was compliance with the strict engine emissions regulations. “In this we greatly benefit from the collaboration with our sister company FPT Industrial, engine specialist and a world leader in low emissions technologies. As a result, our Tier 4 interim-compliant products deliver powerful performances with exceptional fuel efficiency and low emissions.”
Haulotte chief operating officer Alexandre Saubot also said the compliance with emissions laws was a key issue in the telehandler segment at the moment.
Haulotte has recently created a telehandler business unit and centralised all its manufacturing and research and development activities at its L’Horme plant in France, and this is where Haulotte will build all its handlers in the future.
The company’s range comprises seven models in the 10m, 14m and 17m sizes, and Haulotte plans to showcase its latest Stage IIIB/Tier 4 interim-compliant machines at Bauma. These include the HTL 4017, which can lift up to 4 tonnes to a height of 17m, and the HTL 3510, which is designed to lift loads at a height of up to 10m.
“The market is putting pressure on engine manufacturers for simple solutions to the Stage IIIB/Tier 4 interim laws,” Mr Saubot said. “These machines need to be hardy – rental construction equipment spends nights on job sites, for instance.”
But while the new engines are said to result in decreased fuel consumption and easier maintenance, Mr Saubot said he had concerns about future markets for the machines and how this could affect customer attitudes.
“The rest of the world is at Stage III emissions regulations level,” he said. “So when customers with Stage IIIB machines are looking to resell the equipment, where is the market? I don’t think people will be putting new, Tier III engines in these machines when they want to sell them on.”
Amilcare Merlo, president and founder of Merlo Group, also said engine emissions laws were having an important impact on the design of telehandlers.
“Obviously we are getting ready for this big step,” Mr Merlo said, “but we cannot avoid noticing that the Tier IV engines will be adopted shortly after – this has been imposed on manufacturers too quickly. The adopted technologies are deeply different in terms of characteristics and volumes in comparison to the car sector, and they have augmented not only the direct costs of the engines but, above all, the indirect costs coming from difficult and long installations.
“The manufacturers have the feeling that the European legislator and some technical bureaucrats have not sufficiently pondered the real impact of the norms they introduced on the industrial and on the working worlds,” he said.
Mr Merlo said the manufacturer would be introducing new models with Stage IIIB-compliant engines at this year’s Bauma show – machines based on the Roto 45.19 and 45.21 models, targeted at the construction and infrastructure sector.
Indeed, there is no doubt that the big talking point this year is Stage IIIB-compliant telehandlers, with many other manufacturers also embarking on introductions.
2013 will see Manitou introduce new Stage IIIB machines to its MRT rotating telehandler range, which is split into more basic models, known as easy, and more high-tech machines, known as privilege, which feature electronic additions.
New features include an attachment recognition system as well as an automatic stability calculation system that works with the stabiliser position and turret angle.
Bobcat has been busy upgrading its range, and, following the introduction of a high power version of its 7m TL470, has now introduced the new 15.7m TR38160 rotary telehandler which replaces the TR35160 model.
As well as being a Stage IIIB-compliant machine, this new version also offers a higher maximum lifting capacity of 3.8 tonne compared to 3.5 tonne in the TR35160. It is the smallest model in the range of four Bobcat rotary telehandlers, which between them offer lifting capacities from 3.8 to 5 tonnes.
Designed for rough terrain applications in the building, civil engineering and industrial markets, the Bobcat rotary telehandler models complement the existing Bobcat range of 13 rigid frame telehandlers with lift capacities from 2.2 to 4.0 tonne and lift heights from 5.2 to 17.4m.
And JLG has also launched a new four-model range of Stage IIIB-compliant range of Powershift models. The smaller 3706 and 3707 machines are both 3.7 tonne capacity telehandlers with 6.1m and 7.3m maximum reaches, while the larger 4 tonne class 4014 and 4017 models have 14m and 17.3m reaches, respectively.
All four have four-speed Powershift transmissions and use 75kW Deutz engines, although the smaller 3706 and 3707 machines can be fitted with larger 90kW engines.
As well as the new engines – which JLG claims result in improved fuel efficiency – each machine is also equipped with an adaptive load control system, to improve satefy during loading and placement.
Ausa, meanwhile, will showcase its new Taurulift T 144 H Plus telehandler at Bauma – a machine that it describes as a “Swiss-army knife” for construction.
Capable of lifting 1.4 tonnes to a height of 4m, the versatility of the machine is said to be enhanced with a quick hitch system that allows a large number of attachments to be coupled to the machine, allowing it to compete head on with skid steer loaders. The machine is also very compact, measuring 1.4m wide by 3.7m tall and 1.9m long.
Terex AWP has been working on its Genie telehandlers in Europe and will also showcase new Stage IIIB/Tier 3 interim machines at Bauma. Replacements for the 4 tonne class fixed boom GTH-4013 and GTH-4017 models – the new 14m GTH-4014 and 18m GTH-4018 machines – will be on show, as well a new 21m rotating model, the GTH-5021-R..
Gert De Boon, Terex AWP telehandler product manager for Europe, said the manufacturer had designed these new machines to reduce the complexity and cost of telehandler ownership.
“With energy efficiency, simple operation and innovative serviceability features for straight-forward maintenance, these models also offer best-in-class performances in their respective categories from a smaller footprint. This makes them ideal for tough work in congested environments,” Mr De Boon said.
JCB has also been launching entirely new Loadall machines. One of these, the new 550-80, offers an 8.1m lift height with a 5 tonne capacity – the biggest capacity Loadall that the manufacturer has ever produced.
The 550-80 is designed mainly for bulk handling and heavy duty operations, while the new 540-200 machine has been designed for the construction market. This 4 tonne capacity model features a five section boom (for the first time on a JCB machine) with a maximum reach of 20m, which is 3m more than the next largest JCB handler.
As with other suppliers, JCB is switching to Stage IIIB/Tier 4 interim engines for its telehandlers, although with the benefit of being able to use its own engines. The company’s new JCB Ecomax engine, which meets the emissions regulations without the need for diesel particulate filters or exhaust after treatment fluids, are now available on a wide range of Loadalls.
The 55kW Ecomax is standard on the 531-70, 541-70, 535-95, 533-105, 535V-125, 535V-140 and the 540-140 machines while the bigger 81kW engine is used on the 531-70, 541-70WM and 540-170 models. The largest 93kW Ecomax will be found on the 550-80WM and 550-80 models.
For its part, Liebherr has also redesigned its four-model telehandler range, increasing load capacities to 4.1 tonnes for the TL 441–10 and TL 441–13 models and 5 tonnes for the TL 451–10 and TL 451–13 (from 3.5, 4.2 and 4.5 tonnes in the previous range). Lifting heights – at either 10m or 13m – are the same as before. All are powered by 74kW turbocharged John Deere engines and feature hydrostatic transmissions.
Demand-related load sensing control technology is also said to promote economical working and minimum loads on components by ensuring that the power hydraulics pump always delivers only the precise amount of oil needed.
And Wacker Neuson’s Kramer Allrad brand will also be showcasing its 2506 compact telehandler at Bauma – a machine has all-wheel drive and a smart handling driver assist system that is said to meet the demand for maximum stability.