Forklifts in the Construction Industry

Local Feature Article
- 3 Apr 2008 ( #354 )
8 min read
Conexpo-Con/Agg 2008 in Las Vegas
Conexpo-Con/Agg 2008 in Las Vegas
The biggest and the best in telehandlers were recently on show at the largest trade show in North America, Conexpo-Con/Agg 2008. Organised by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), the Las Vegas construction and agricultural expo covered over 2.293 million sqft of exhibit space, boasting the very latest in telehandler technology and design. Christine Liew looks at some of the new telehandlers for the construction industry.


Manitou BF has boasted that one in every three telehandlers in the world comes from the Ancenis, France-headquartered manufacturer. Ryan Ford,
Ryan Ford
Ryan Ford
product specialist at Manitou North America Inc (Manitou NA) of Waco, Texas, goes one step further by saying Manitou is "probably the first manufacturer to offer a true telescopic rough-terrain forklift". The company produced its first telescopic rough-terrain forklift in 1981 and its first rotating telescopic handler in 1993.

Manitou NA was present in Las Vegas to launch its latest heavy telehandlers and an updated rotating model. A pre-show press release was sent out to introduce "the world's largest telehandler". The 36,000lb (16,329kg) MHT 10160 was initially touted the world's largest but soon after, a larger Manitou unit, the 46,000lb (20,865kg) MHT 10210 was produced in time for the show.

The MHT 10160 has a 15,430lb (6,999kg) capacity at a maximum lift height of 31'10" (9.7m). Capacity at its maximum forward reach of 18' (5.5m) is 9,260lbs (4,200kg). It is powered by a new 175hp Tier III Mercedes turbo diesel engine and is the first Manitou heavy rough-terrain telehandler to be offered in the US.

The unit features a two-speed hydrostatic transmission, which Manitou says makes it highly manoeuvrable. Its high horsepower engine "enables it to deliver 34,850 ft lbs of drawbar pull". Standard features include a fully enclosed ROPS-FOPS certified cab with heater, defroster and a high output, load-sensing hydraulic system capable of performing three simultaneous movements with no loss of speed. The MHT 10160 incorporates the standard operating features of the Manitou's telehandler line such as three steering modes and frame levelling into a heavy duty machine that can work on demanding construction sites.

Manitou's MHT 10210 telehandler
Manitou's MHT 10210 telehandler
The MHT 10210 that offers a 46,000lb (20,865kg) capacity and 31'9" (9.7m) lift height has many of the same features as the MHT 10160 but with differences in base truck capacities. It has a 28,600lb (12,973kg) capacity at its maximum lift height and a 11,000lb (4,990kg) capacity at its maximum forward reach of 19' (5.8m).

Manitou also introduced an updated version of its rotating telescopic handler, the MRT 2150.
The MRT 2150 has a 10,000lb (4,536kg) capacity and a 67'7" (20.6m) lift height and continuous rotation and frame levelling for easy placement of loads on any jobsite. Changes to the machine include a more powerful Tier III Mercedes engine and improvements to the operator's compartment. The larger cab has improved visibility due to its curved windshield and new instrument panel. Ergonomic joysticks are another addition to the cab, plus all fluids (brake, windshield washer, etc) are now housed outside the cab, making for a cleaner operator environment. An updated lighting package and paint/decal scheme round out the cosmetic changes.

Kirk Zander, director of sales and marketing, says revolutionary features of the telehandlers include the MHT range's brake system that allows the units to travel down long, steep grades.
"We also have several models available in the US that can receive a work platform which operates from within the platform, eliminating the need for an operator in the cab."

Zander says Manitou's goal is to continue developing products for construction applications and to specialise in niche markets.


Haulotte is a newcomer to the telehandler market. Already established in the design and construction of aerial work platforms, it wanted to diversify
Haulotte's HTL telehandler
Haulotte's HTL telehandler
its product range with the launch of its Haulotte Top Lift (HTL) telehandlers. Haulotte Group stems from two companies - Pinguely and Haulotte, established in 1881 and 1924, respectively. The two companies' heritage is in the locomotive, mechanical digger, derrick and mobile crane markets. Access International magazine rates Haulotte as the world's third-largest aerial work platform manufacturer according to 2006 turnover. Haulotte's turnover exceeded EUR500 million (USD676.8 million) in 2006 and the company employs over 1,600 people.

The HTL range is manufactured at L'Horme, France-headquartered Haulotte's Santander plant in Spain. The HTL 4014 and HTL 4017 telehandlers have lifting capacities up to 4 tonnes (9,000lbs) and lifting heights of 14 metres (45.9') and 17 metres (55.8'), respectively. They can be fitted with forks, simple or toothless buckets, work tools, hooked bracelets, metal windscreen protectors and side-mounted work tool containers. Haulotte boasts that the HTL range is designed and developed completely in house and integrates "every technological innovation" developed in the field of aerial work platforms.

Haulotte spokesperson Marjolaine Degrange says the company's experience with rental companies has had a decisive influence on the development of the new telehandler range.

She says the range offers excellent stability, regardless of the terrain surface. The stability is the result of the "automatic locking of the rear deck rotation, the progressive movement deceleration system for limiting rearward travel and the lateral tilt corrector". Two forward stabilisers reinforce the stability in all working configurations.

The telehandlers have visual and audible indicators to assist the operator. "Travel" and "worksite" modes are clearly identified, thus making manoeuvring safer by avoiding confusion. For example, the "travel" mode prevents any unforeseen lowering of the stabilisers. The control indicators for overloading, stability and reversing assist the operator focus on his work. The ROPS- and FOPS- fitted (roll over protective structure and falling object protective structure) cabs have ventilation, adjustable seats, storage space and optional air conditioning. A multi-function controller allows one-handed operation.

Degrange says the range integrates the latest technologies, pointing to the telehandlers' hydrostatic transmission, power steering and manoeuvrable joystick that make driving the units easy.

"The 'load sensing-flow sharing' hydraulic system guarantees optimal flexibility and power in all movements, which are carried out with perfect progression. Its four-wheel drive and steering provide power and manoeuvrability for all terrain types. Thanks to its high ground clearance, the handler can traverse the roughest terrain," she says.


Heavy equipment specialist Pettibone of Michigan, United States, answered demand from its dealers and customers with the Traverse Series T10056 telehandler that was launched at its International Partner Retreat last October. The unit was on show at Conexpo 2008.

A prototype of Pettibone's Traverse Series T10056 telehandler
A prototype of Pettibone's Traverse Series T10056 telehandler
Like all Pettibone Traverse Series models, the unit features 70" (1.8 metres) of horizontal boom travel at every lift height, enabling accurate load placement. Operators can easily lift and land loads in hard-to-reach locations, through windows and other openings. The T10056 is equipped with frame-mounted outriggers and trunnion-mounted sway cylinders.

The machine that has a maximum capacity of 11,000lbs (4,990kgs), maximum lift height of 57'6" (17.5m) and a maximum forward reach of 48'9" (14.9m) is currently under full production at the company's Baraga, Michigan facility and will be available in the second quarter of 2008. Pettibone boasts that its new telehandler answers the needs of today's toughest job sites.

In a show of confidence, construction professionals at the 2008 World of Concrete expo held from 22 to 25 January in Las Vegas voted the new telehandler as the "Most Innovative Product" in the equipment category. The annual show organised by Hanley Wood LLC attracted over 84,000 construction professionals who were entitled to vote for the award nominees.

Pettibone has also announced the 1,000lb (454kg) capacity up-rating of its complete telehandler line. The up-rating, verified by ANSI B56.6 tilt table stability testing, gives Pettibone added competitiveness in the marketplace.

Company product manager Dan Blondeau says, "the idea for up-rating actually originated with our dealers who wanted to know if we could make our machines even more competitive than they already were.

"We were confident that with a few modest design changes the machines were capable of more, so we made the changes, ran the tests, and proved it. We've built machines that have a tested and verified additional 1,000lb (454kg) capacity," he continues.

"That means our customers get an even better, more capable and more versatile machine. That's a win-win situation for everyone."

Blondeau says Pettibone benefited from its exhibition at Conexpo 2008.
"Traffic through our booth was up from previous shows and we sold more equipment as well."

He adds that the company is currently evaluating future product development and expects a compact construction telehandler to be released in 2009.
"There are other machines being discussed but nothing is concrete at this time."


Conexpo-Con/Agg 2008 was a success, with over 144,600 industry professionals visiting the five-day show. Over 28,000 (or 19% of total) industry professionals visited from 130 countries outside the US. The show included 14 international exhibit pavilions highlighting offerings from abroad including Brazil, China, Canada, Germany, Italy and South Korea.

Show organiser AEM is an active US-based international trade association representing the interests of companies manufacturing construction, agricultural, mining, forestry and utility equipment. It was formed through the consolidation of the Equipment Manufacturers Institute and the Construction Industry Manufacturers Association in 2002.

Member companies can participate in AEM's various statistics programs. Unfortunately, no specific data on the construction telehandler market was available through AEM. News also contacted the other major players in the construction telehandler industry, JCB, JLG Industries and Genie Industries.
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