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Telehandler Attachments Guide

Telehandler Attachments Guide

A Guide to Telehandler Attachments

Reading time: 6 min

A telehandler, or telescopic handler, is a versatile piece of heavy equipment used in construction, agriculture, and industry. It features a retractable boom arm that allows it to reach high work spaces.

Telehandlers are well suited for tasks such as loading and unloading pallets, moving materials to and from elevated positions and transporting loads across rough terrain. They are frequently used in construction to lift and place building materials quickly and efficiently.

Due to their usefulness and adaptability, telehandlers have become essential machines on construction sites, farms and in warehouses. 

Telehandlers vs Forklifts

At first glance, telehandlers and forklifts seem very similar. They are both used for material handling, specifically lifting loads to and from elevated spaces. The two machines share a lot in common, but they are used for different applications.

While forklifts come in a variety of sizes, they generally have a much lower lifting height and smaller range of motion than telehandlers. Telehandlers, on the other hand, are more adaptable than forklifts. They are capable of operating in a variety of environments, such as outdoor construction sites, mines and storage yards.

Unlike a forklift, which can only move loads up and down, the telescopic boom arm of a telehandler allows operators to reach above and over obstacles. This increased range of motion allows for greater possibilities than using a forklift.

Common Uses for Telehandlers

Telehandlers are commonly used in situations where materials need to be elevated to heights unreachable by other equipment. They are exceedingly common on modern construction sites, where they are used to unload materials shipments, provide access to hard to reach work areas and transport tools across the job site.

Unlike other heavy equipment, such as scissor lifts or forklifts, a telehandler features a telescopic boom arm. This boom arm is capable of reaching over obstacles, such as scrap piles or building structures, and provides the telehandler with an advantage over other machines.

Here are some of the most common uses for telehandlers on construction sites:

  • Excavating and digging with special attachments, such as augers.
  • Lifting workers to hard-to-reach areas.
  • Clearing snow and debris with blade attachments.
  • Unloading and transporting materials shipments.
  • Lifting supplies and tools to workers in hard-to-reach areas.
  • Transporting soil and other loose materials with bucket attachments.
A JCB Q-Fit telehandler attachment

JCB's proprietary attachment system, Q-Fit. To release Q Fit attachments, you simply need to remove the two safety pins and release the locking mechanism. Once unlocked, the attachment can be removed.

Telehandler Attachments

A modern telehandler’s boom arm can be fitted with attachments, allowing you to adapt the machine to your particular use case. There are many types of attachments available for telehandlers, each designed with a specific application in mind.

Attachments for Telehandlers

Here are some common telehandler attachments and what they’re used for.

Telehandler Buckets

Bucket attachments are among the most common attachments used on telehandlers. Sometimes called a scoop, a bucket attachment is mainly used for scooping and carrying loose materials like dirt or gravel. Bucket attachments are commonly used when the main task involves lifting and moving large quantities of loosely compacted materials, such as in waste management.

Telehandler Forks

Fork attachments are commonly used on telehandlers when transporting uniform or bundled materials from low to high spaces or across work areas. They are very common in warehouses and distribution centers.

Several types of fork attachments exist, and each is suited to handling a particular load. For example, pallet forks are designed to transport heavy materials on pallets, while cubing forks are used for transporting stacks of block or stone.

Telehandler Carriages

Carriage attachments are similar to basic fork attachments, but they provide better stability and maneuverability. Carriages feature a rigid steel frame with forks mounted to the frame.

Like forks, carriages are used for transporting uniform loads like crates, pallets and stacks of materials. Some carriages are rotating, allowing you to pick up and place loads on surfaces that are not level with the ground.

Carriages come in a variety of widths. The width you choose will depend on the width of your load. Wider carriages are generally more stable, but they’re also harder to maneuver in tight spaces.

Telehandler Truss Booms

Truss booms are long attachments, or booms, that increase the range and load-placing capabilities of the telehandler. They are typically used for placing heavy loads, like steel beams or wooden trusses. Some truss booms feature a hydraulic winch at the end of the attachment which helps operators lower loads onto the work area with excellent precision.

Telehandler Hooks

Hook attachments allow operators to use their telehandler like a crane. In their most basic form, hook attachments include a sturdy, steel frame with a single hook mounted to it. They are frequently used to lift and maneuver materials or machinery mounted to a chain or cable.

Telehandler Work Platforms

Work platforms, sometimes called man baskets, are attachments used for lifting workers to hard to reach work areas. They typically feature a sturdy metal platform and have guardrails on all sides. Work platforms are very popular attachments for telehandlers, allowing operators to use a telehandler in place of a scissor lift or boom lift.

Changing Telehandler Attachments

Changing telehandler attachments is a simple process, but the exact steps depend on your telehandler manufacturer.

For example, JCB uses a proprietary attachment system called JCB Q Fit. Q Fit attachments are secured to the telehandler’s boom by two safety pins and a locking mechanism, which secures to the backplate of the attachment. To release Q Fit attachments, you simply need to remove the two safety pins and release the locking mechanism. Once unlocked, the attachment can be removed.

Keep in mind that manufacturers frequently have proprietary mounting systems, so it isn’t always possible to use attachments from one manufacturer on a machine from a different manufacturer.

Some of the most popular manufacturers of telehandlers are JLG, SkyTrak, Skyjack, Wacker Neuson, SANY, Manitou and JCB.

When shopping for replacement attachments, make sure to find one compatible with your machine’s manufacturer and mounting system.

The bucket attachment of a telehandler up in the air

A telehandler’s boom arm is particularly susceptible to wear, as it handles the brunt of the machine’s work.

Telehandler Maintenance Issues

Proper telehandler maintenance involves inspecting your machine frequently and checking for common issues such as leaks, battery corrosion and general wear. Catching these problems early on is an essential part of preventative maintenance for telehandlers and will prevent unnecessary downtime.

A telehandler’s boom arm is particularly susceptible to wear, as it handles the brunt of the machine’s work. Most manufacturers recommend lubricating the boom arm every 8 hours. Train your operators to lubricate the machine, including the boom arm, at the beginning of each shift.

Other areas of telehandler maintenance that shouldn’t be neglected include:

  • Inspecting the battery and ensuring no corrosion has formed on the connections.
  • Checking the boom wear pads to make sure they haven’t become too worn down.
  • Visually inspecting the hydraulic oil to make sure impurities haven’t entered the system.
  • Changing the engine air filter when necessary.
  • Lubricating the driveshaft regularly.

Properly maintaining your telehandler’s parts is key to ensuring it has a long lifespan. To find OEM and aftermarket parts for your fleet, check out EquipmentShare’s online parts catalog and get the components you need. For more help, contact one of our parts experts and get personalized assistance.

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