THE TELEHANDLER could become a thing of the past, at least on constricted brownfield sites, according to Bristol-based plant hirer Plantforce.
The company has invested in three selferecting tower cranes from Liebherr, and believes they will contribute to a steady decline in the use of telehandlers.
Plantforce managing director Clare Rimmer said: 'They have the potential to make telehandlers redundant on some sites.We're not looking to take over the UK - every plant hirer has a telehandler - but the market is definitely saturated.
'The market is going away from them.
We've already reduced our telehandler fleet by half with the rates being squeezed so much and we've started to look for other options.'
The other options include the three 32TT models from Liebherr, the first in the UK.They have a maximum lift capacity of 4 tonnes and can lift 1.1 tonnes to a radius of 30 m with a maximum hook height of 24 m.
According to Ms Rimmer, the selferecting cranes have a number of advantages over telehandlers: 'I've read about our counterparts in Europe and know they're far advanced in the use of these cranes.
The cranes come into their own on small brownfield sites in towns and cities where there are multi-storey developments, as is increasingly the case. A telehandler won't reach the top of a four-storey townhouse and for anything bigger you need a crane licence anyway.'
She added: 'Some of the sites are so small that, even if you could get a telehandler on, there's not enough space to allow you to use it efficiently. It's a matter of health and safety as well.When you've got a 16 m telehandler on a small site, even though it's got a lot of mirrors it's still not enough really.'
The company hopes to have a fleet of up to 20 machines in the next year and a half.