From working like a loader to carry loose material, a forklift to lift palletized loads, as a crane to lift suspended loads, to a platform for working on heights – the telehandler does it all, informs Hafeez Khan, Managing Director, Manitou South Asia.
What is your view of the current telehandler market in India and its growth prospects?
The telehandler concept in India is still at a nascent stage and is yet to pick up more widely despite its many applications. This machine can handle all kinds of materials if used with the right attachments, and only after studying the job and application viability.
We are seeing many corporate customers shifting to mechanized modes of construction related jobs. They are trying out the telehandler to become familiar with its operations and applications, the advantages that accrue from its versatility, and most importantly, its safety features. Once customers understand the long-term benefits of the telehandler, its scope of usage will widen greatly in India. This is because the versatility and power of a telehandler give it more capabilities than any other equipment.
What are the major application areas for Telehandlers?
The telehandler can be used for multiple jobs using a range of attachments like the floating fork carriage, tilting fork carriage, general purpose bucket, crane jib, frame mounted hook, extension jib, 4 in 1 bucket, construction bucket, platform basket, big bag handler, concrete skip, crane skip, and many more.
Manitou has developed its telehandlers to work in any environment, and on both plain and rough terrains. Their applications are widening to include placing any kind of loads at height, and also as elevated working platforms for project workers. The list of applications is, in fact, quite endless, given their extensive range of attachments. Today, telehandlers are finding application in various sectors viz Infrastructure, Construction, Industrial, Oil & Gas, Mining, Logistics etc.
What are the new technological features in telehandlers that ensure safety, higher productivity, and no carbon emissions?
Innovations in the telehandler is a constant process. In the initial stages, we have just seen a fixed platform telehandler where the boom can be extended. Now we have rotating telehandlers (our MRT range for instance) where the boom can be rotated 360 degrees, which makes material handling easy, safe, quick, and more productive. Our heavy telehandler range (MHT) can lift heavy loads and are finding application in the mining sector.
As regards safety, all Manitou telehandlers come standard with hydraulic cut-off, which helps the operator to lift the loads within limits and avoid accidents. Battery cut-off, Seat Sensor, 4 equal Tyres, and Brakes on both the axles ensure complete safety. There are three important steering modes: 2-wheel steer, 4-wheel steer, and Crab Steer, which allow maneuvering of the machine in narrow and challenging job sites.
As regards productivity, the telehandler performs better than other machines; it can work as a loader to carry loose material, as a forklift to lift palletized loads, as a crane to lift suspended loads, and as a platform to work on heights – features that make it an all-in-one machine that gives productivity with safety.
At Manitou, we believe that a machine’s Design and Engineering are very important for it to work efficiently. Our machines undergo rigorous tests so that they can meet any site challenges (which are very dynamic) and where the machines’ responsiveness holds the key to productivity.
The TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) calculators and fuel saving technology have always been at the forefront while designing and manufacturing our products. This is because all our machines are made with a view to lowering their operational and maintenance costs. There is no compromise on their quality so that they give higher uptime even when working in challenging environments and under rugged conditions.
Manitou Group’s CSR goal is to contribute to the global effort to contain global warming. It has set firm targets to reduce direct and indirect carbon emissions. In fact, the Group’s low carbon trajectory has been validated by a renowned independent body led by four international organizations. Our R&D team works relentlessly towards achieving the best outputs and with strict adherence to the current emission norms.
What scope do you see for electric-driven access equipment in the Indian market and use of alternate fuels like hydrogen?
The use of alternative fuels and electrification of vehicles is still at a very nascent stage, especially in the construction equipment segment of India. On the global level, there is an observation that the next big thing is definitely electric for mobility and productivity of construction equipment. This is precisely the reason why Manitou has started launching fully electric Telehandlers and Access Equipment in Europe and some other parts of the world. The same shift to electric is expected to be seen in India as an alternate source of energy.
Apart from the change in the mindset of construction equipment users, the shift to electric-driven machines will require development of infrastructure, with provisions for charging points, etc, and considerations on their cost implications, government policies and frameworks etc - all this will happen in due course of time.
We are seeing some demand for CNG and Hydrogen, even though the demand is limited to pockets where there is an abundance of gas available. We need to watch their usage in the current Indian conditions. Our R&D team is also working towards achieving the best outputs with strict adherence to emission norms.
What after-sales services do you provide customers?
At Manitou, our aim is to satisfy our customers by providing them the best services, on-time responsiveness to their machine breakdowns, and last mile connectivity for timely spares supply. Expansion of our dealer network and services is a continuous process. We also follow the COCO (company owned and company operated) model, based on which, we have our own Direct Sales (Machines & Parts) and Service Points (called Manitou SSPs) at different locations. Through the SSPs, we are able to deliver industry best aftermarket support, including training to customers and dealers.
Our core KPIs are ‘Responsiveness, Low Machine Downtime, and Reduced Total Cost of Ownership for our customers’. Our tagline “Handling Your World” points at helping our customers to better handle their work and business through use of world-class, reliable, and tech-driven products.