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Versatility of telehandlers

Fred Bell highlights what to look for when selecting a telescopic handler

Above all, the strength of a telehandler in the waste environment is its versatility. If a machine is to perform a single loading job repeatedly, JCB would advocate the selection of a wheeled loader. If the machine will only ever be lifting pallets, a forklift may be most suitable. However, as is the case for many waste management firms, if a single machine is needed to carry out a variety of roles on site - then a telehandler could be the perfect flexible performer.

Accurate machine selection requires an evaluation of the roles required. Determining what needs to be moved and to where will be a key part of the selection process.

However, unlike other machines, a telescopic handler is unlikely to be performing the same job time after time. Providing the perfect balance between dedicated performance and versatility, telehandlers are proven multi-taskers in civic amenity sites, materials recycling facilities, composting operations and in transfer stations. Compact versions are even capable of entering closed-top shipping containers, restricted plants or ELV stations.

Whereas good reach capabilities with the telescopic boom are essential for stockpiling waste and loading high bulkers, telehandlers are also ideal for undertaking general duties such as collecting refuse, sweeping and pallet handling. Common attachments are a bale grab or forks, but a telehandler will also work effectively with a rotator for emptying stillages, while a bucket and top grab ensures excellent load retention to maximise productivity.

For a specific site, assess the most common, most demanding and most restricted roles. The nature of the material handled, the vessel that the material is to be placed in and the space constraints of the task will dictate the size and capacity of the machine required. Don’t forget of course, that a machine’s capacity at full extension will be significantly less than when the boom is retracted.

Once size and performance characteristics have been established, evaluate which manufacturer offers the most effective package in that machine class.

Cost of ownership, reliability, aftersales support, visibility, health and safety, controllability and the measures which protect the machine against the rigours of the waste environment are all crucial criteria.

Consider fuel efficiency, resale value, service access, the availability of parts and the extent of a manufacturer’s dealer network. Protect the investment by selecting a machine that has been designed to withstand the rigours of the application: suitable guards and puncture proof tyres should be available to reduce down time.

It is also important to assess the effectiveness of the solutions the manufacturer has developed to meet the latest legislation, such as the Tier 4i/IIIB emissions and EN15000 which governs safe balance on telescopic handlers. Check that the solutions do not have a negative impact on running costs or operator experience.

Selecting a machine which meets an operation’s performance criteria and which fares well in each of these areas will result in an incredibly productive and valuable addition to a fleet, potentially handling the work of three less versatile machine types.

Fred Bell is JCB business manager for Waste, Recycling & Demolition Industries

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