Rough-terrain forklifts are designed to let you move merchandise and materials in virtually any climate or terrain. Yet deciding which type of rough-terrain forklift is best suited for a particular application can be difficult. If you have plans to invest in a rough-terrain forklift but would like to learn more about the attributes of various models, read on. This article will discuss three common varieties and what they are capable of.
This is the type of rough-terrain forklift most easily mistaken for a standard forklift. You shouldn't be fooled by their superficial relationship, however; a straight-mast forklift has just as much in common with an ATV as it does an rough-terrain forklift. While the load capacity of the two are fairly similar, a straight-mast forklift comes equipped with puncture-resistant tires and axles that are capable of passing over the rockiest and most uneven of ground. Not only that, but they often have pneumatic suspension systems as well, and this reduces the risk of operator injury.
A telehandler is where rough-terrain forklifts really branch off into their own world. Here the lifting mechanism consists of an extendable arm that is hinged at the back of the cab. The lift reach of such arms may extend to as much as 56 feet. In other words, not only are the wheels and frame of a telehandler built for much more rugged use, but its lift height is also significantly greater than that of a standard forklift.
Those purchasing newly manufactured telehandlers can expect a number of other cutting-edge features. These include tilt-adjustable steering wheels for increased comfort and maneuverability when working on steep slopes. Likewise, the lift arm and hydraulic systems are generally controlled by a master joystick, which allows a greater ease of operation.
As their name would imply, rotating telehandlers differ from regular telehandlers in that the cab and lifting arm are both mounted on a base capable of swiveling in a complete circle. This greatly extends the potential reach of a telehandler without its having to actually change position. The rotation function is generally controlled by a separate joystick from the one used to control the lifting arm.
In order to offset the change in the center of gravity that comes with swiveling a heavy load from one side of the machine to the other, most rotating telehandlers are equipped with special stabilizing devices. The maximum lift weight of rotating telehandlers is also usually somewhat less than that of their fixed-cab brethren. Yet in many cases rotating telehandlers are capable of extending to even greater heights.