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March 3-7, 2026

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The Latest Trends in Telehandlers to Improve Your Bottom Line



Magni telehandler construction equipment

Technological advancements

Caterpillar is moving to Stage V engines in their telehandlers. Mike Peterson, Product Application Specialist at Cat says that compared to current Stage IV/Tier 4F engines currently in use, Stage V engines offer lower emissions and some improvement in fuel efficiency. The big gain, he says, is in a much richer data stream for machine management and diagnostics. Stage V models now available are the TL642D, TL943D, TL1055D, and TL1255D.

Manitou Telehandler construction equipment Rental customers have been around 80-percent of the market for new telehandlers and the needs of rental houses help shape telehandler design and development. Steve Kiskunas, Product Manager – Telehandlers at Manitou Group, says the new Manitou ULM and Gehl GCT models “offer good lift capacity in a super compact size with low total vehicle weight for ease of transport,” all key considerations for rental customers.

The TF65.9 is one of Merlo’s newest machines in the U.S. market. Maximum load capacity is 14,330 lbs., lift height is 29 feet, and maximum reach is 15 ft. 4 in. The FPT engine is rated at 170 hp. and the hydrostatic 2-speed transmission provides travel speeds up to 25 mph. The ground-engaging boom and Tac-Lock system facilitate the use of a wide range of attachments, while the 4-wheel drive and 4-wheel, 3-mode steering maximize maneuverability. The TF65.9 also features Merlo’s Adaptive Stability Control System (ASCS), a patented safety system that recognizes the attachment and load weight in relation to the boom position to maximize safety.

Telehandlers with rotating upper structures have poured into the market. One such machine is the 512-83R from JCB. Rotation greatly simplifies machine positioning and enhances lift-and-place operations. Whereas other telehandlers with stabilizers (not all have them) have just two, the rotating models have four to maintain stability regardless of the position of the upper structure. The 512-83R has 12,000 lbs. maximum lift capacity, 83 ft. lift height, and a 145 hp. JCB EcoMax engine.

Also making inroads are electric models, of which JCB has a representative model, the 505-20E. Specs include a 5,250 lb. maximum lift capacity, 20 ft. maximum lift, and 96-volt lithium-ion battery. Rebecca Yates, Senior Product Manager - Material Handling at JCB says electric models open new applications such as indoors, underground, food production, and wherever noise is a consideration. Although exciting, Yates says electrification will likely stay on the smaller end of telehandlers as electric technology is not yet to the point it can meet the power requirements of larger models.

Caterpillar, Manitou, and Merlo will all have equipment on display at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023, March 14-18, 2023 in Las Vegas.

Improved versatility

Versatility has become a driving force in construction equipment as customers seek more revenue potential from each piece of equipment. Telehandlers are no exception. A full range of attachments is now available beyond forks. Included are buckets and other ground-engaging tools (GETs). Historically using GETs with telehandlers was a sure way to ruin the machines as their materials, designs, and geometries were not made for interaction with the ground. While not all new models are appropriate for GET use, many are. Check the specs of the model you are considering.

JCB has a range of telehandlers designated TC (Tool Carrier) models that are designed to provide maximum versatility. “Our TC models are optimized for loader-like capabilities with telehandler reach and maneuverability,” says Yates. The 512-26TC, for example, has a U-shaped boom with an integrated boom nose and a one-piece closing plate for fewer joints and stress points than traditional boom designs. This allows the use of buckets and forks in demanding applications such as waste and recycling, major construction, and solar or wind farms.

Magni telehandler construction equipment

Magni introduced two new models in 2022, the TH4,5.15 and TH4,5.19. They are available with Deutz engines rated at 74 or 100 hp. Lift capacity is 4.5 metric tons and lift height is 49 to 62 feet (15 to 19 meters). They feature 4-wheel drive and 4-wheel, 3-mode (crab, coordinated, and front) steering. The TH models are designed to work with a wide range of attachments for maximum versatility. An RFID chip recognizes the attachment in use, displays the corresponding load chart on the in-cab monitor, and sets the load limiting system for safe lifting. Front pivoting stabilizers further enhance safety.


Telehandler maintenance

New telehandlers are far advanced from older models in many ways, but one trait shared by telehandlers of any era is that they benefit from effective maintenance and repair.

Telematics is a feature of newer models, and these information-sharing and alert systems can help ensure service work is done in a timely fashion. “But telematics systems such as Easy Manager from Manitou Group must be properly configured,” says Kiskunas. “It’s important to set the links to send notices to the right personnel so that the correct action is taken.”

Peterson points out that customers have responsibilities with rental machines. “You must be diligent in daily checks, managing maintenance, and reporting any problems or performance abnormalities.”

He says maintenance can be a challenge for rental machines that are on long-term rental or customers’ machines that are working long-term on remote sites. “It’s tough to stay on top of maintenance and repair when the equipment is back at the shop infrequently.”

Peterson also mentions Cat Product Link, which wirelessly provides information such as location, hours, fuel usage, productivity, idle time, and diagnostic codes. Information from Product Link is available through online web applications via satellite or cellular connectivity.


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