To those in the construction industry, plant hire equipment such as forklifts and telehandlers are part of our daily routine; they’re integral to construction jobs for companies in the industry and are used on a regular basis. However, many people outside of the industry don’t see the differences between forklifts and telehandlers, nor do they understand what kind of jobs each machine does best. In this guide we explain the key similarities and differences between these two types of machines, and how you can use each to get your job done quickly and effectively.
How do Forklifts work?
Forklifts have been used for decades and have only gotten better with time, but it’s a bit surprising how much people don’t know about them—mainly, that they’re not actually lifted by forks. Forklifts are powered by diesel engines that lift pallets with a hydraulic cylinder and steer using a hydraulic pivot; they can handle loads of up to 16 tons. To handle even heavier loads, order one fitted with two swivelling fork extensions on both sides; these reach trucks can hold up to 40 tons at once.
Since forklifts are generally smaller, they can move fast and easily, so they are ideal for narrow spaces, such as the aisles of a warehouse. They’re also a perfect choice for loading and unloading equipment from trucks.
How do Telehandlers work?
With forklifts, loads are lifted vertically, whereas with telehandlers, they can be lifted forward, backward, and sideways. Telehandlers are able to do this by extending their boom at a diagonal angle. Telehandlers and forklifts are both capable of lifting and moving objects, however telehandlers are considered more versatile since they do so without having to move anything other than their boom.
Telehandlers are also cheaper because of their lower power requirements and simplicity. To make up for their lack of mobility, telehandlers must be operated by two people: a driver to manoeuvre it, and an operator to lift or lower its forks with a lever mounted in the cab.
What are the main differences?
Forklifts and telehandlers both fall under a class of plant machinery known as material handling equipment. Both machines are used to move objects around, but it’s in how they do so that they differ greatly. If you are tasked with choosing between either of these two pieces of equipment, consider looking at each piece’s operating environment, capacity/load size and many other factors when deciding which would be more useful to your business.
However, forklifts tend to be used on hard surfaces such as concrete, while telehandlers can operate effectively in muddy fields where forklift tyres cannot tread. Beyond that, there are a few minor similarities which stem from their shared use in construction and manufacturing applications. For example, both machines can be used to transport materials over short distances, but neither is suited to long-distance transportation like an 18-wheeler truck would be.
Use a Plant Hire service
If you need a forklift or telehandler for your next construction project then plant hire equipment in north wales is the best option. Using plant hire gives you the flexibility to use the equipment like it is your own, without needing to purchase expensive machinery outright. Many plant hire companies will have a range of bespoke options to meet the needs of the companies hiring the machinery and equipment.