Bobcat has joined the rotary club with its new range of telehandlers.
Last year was a memorable one for Bobcat for all the right reasons, with its Next is Now campaign heralding the biggest expansion of the company’s product range in its history. New machines and moves into entirely new classes of equipment, were certainly a statement of intent, and one of the most intriguing introductions is a new collection of rotary telehandlers.
These versatile units are already a fixture of many European markets, but it would be fair to say they are still less common on these shores. With the likes of prefabricated and modular building methods – or modern methods of construction as it is known – now entering the mainstream, particularly in housebuilding, their versatility is beginning to be appreciated by many more, and the opportunity for growth is prodigious.
Invented in the early 1990s, rotary telehandlers feature a rotating turret and four stabilisers, which enable them to work solidly in place with full operating capacity. The 360° turret rotation allows the machines to handle loads everywhere in the working envelope without needing to move – an ideal solution in urban areas where spaces are tight and manoeuvring is limited.
Their ability to work from a single point to cover all of a site, and the fact that they can be used from the first to the last day of a construction project, have made them an increasingly attractive proposition. Indeed, with the ability to combine the attributes of a telehandler with those of an aerial working platform – and a crane – rotary telehandlers are often called 3-in-1 machines.
Developed with in collaboration with Magni TH of Italy – an established expert in the field – the Bobcat rotary telehandler range includes ten Stage V compliant models, with lifting heights from 18 to 39m and lifting capacities from 4 to 7 tonne. In addition to 360º performance there’s a choice of over 20 attachments, and further options designed to enhance versatility, efficiency, and safety on site.
Today, the welfare of the individual at the controls is recognised as a means to maximise productivity, and it is not a consideration which Bobcat has neglected. The driver is treated to a fully pressurised environment, with 100 per cent air filtration, heating and air conditioning. On the tighter building sites that a rotary could well be utilised visibility is even more important and large windows have been added for an optimal view. Not only that but this ROPS/FOPS certified space equally benefits from an easily adjustable steering column and fully adjustable seat.
Thanks to a large, bright touchscreen display with intuitive machine controls, our happily ensconced operator is as much in control as he or she is in comfort. Machine settings are easily navigated and managed over five different pages, using either the aforementioned touchscreen or the jog shuttle.
It is the attachments that turn rotary telehandlers into true multi-taskers and the Bobcat units are available with a full range of forks (supplied as standard), crane jibs, winches or jib winches, man platforms and buckets. Moreover, most of the new Bobcat rotary telehandlers are equipped with a remote control to operate the machine from the man basket when elevating people, as well as enhancing visibility and precision by operating the machines remotely.
Bobcat rotary telehandlers automatically recognise the attachment they are being paired with using RFID technology, which also uploads the corresponding load charts onto the display. As a result, the machine is ready to work safely within seconds, with the touchscreen displaying a dynamic load chart which allows the operator to keep an eye on the load’s centre of gravity. The Limit page also allows the operator to restrict the working zone in three dimensions and limit working speeds for maximum control and safety.
Construction is, of course, the most diverse of industries, and fleet managers need to be sure that the equipment at their disposal is fit for the task at hand. That’s why the manufacturer is making available a raft of additional options, including remote control with drive function. This provides radio control equipped with a screen, that allows the machine to be driven remotely and the stabilisation phases to be managed directly from the basket.
Elsewhere, a Twin Power system allows the machine to be used without starting the diesel engine, keeping the emissions on zero level and providing noiseless operation. By connecting the machine to an external electricity supply (380 V), this provides power for the machine, allowing it to perform all normal lifting and load positioning operations. A 15 kW electric motor and a 90 litre/min piston pump guarantee the performance and precision required for each and every movement.
Bobcat Naming Scheme
Taking the TR60.250 model as an example, Bobcat rotary telehandlers are named according to the product line [(T)elescopic (R)otary], lift capacity (6.0 tonne) and lift height (25 m). The range for Europe comprises ten models – the TR40.180, TR50.180, TR50.210, TR50.250, TR60.210, TR60.250, TR70.260, TR60.300, TR60.350 and TR60.390 rotary telehandlers.
In Europe, the rotary telehandler market is riding high, increasing by 23 per cent over the last five years. In fact, this is a machine class that rose through the 3,000 units landmark in 2019 for the first time and, despite the Covid induced disruption to the sector, it is an upward trend that is likely to continue. For that reason it is a class of machine that manufacturers like Bobcat cannot ignore and, given the versatility and productivity wins that can be accrued, the same can be said for contractors and plant hirers.