Merlo has a real spring in its step
In last week's issue we alluded, albeit briefly and without pictures, to the advent of the first 'proper' cab suspension for a tele- scopic handler.
Now, we bring you the complete story -- and ask Merlo's Peter Grant what prompted its development and what the likely prospects are for this and other innovations.
Though not the best-selling telehandler on the Irish market (its share is easily dwarfed by those of Manitou and JCB, the market leaders), Merlo is nonetheless a very well-known brand name. Thanks to a distinctive green livery and the provision of hydrostatic rather than torque converter transmissions, these machines stand out from run-of-the-mill handlers.
High duty cycles
Though only seen publicly in early 2007, Merlo first embarked on the development of cab suspension two years previously. Peter explained: "We noted that certain types of telehandler were being used for high-duty cycle applications. While machines in the construction sector might stand still for large portions of the day, some units in the agricultural and recycling sectors spend the whole day moving about -- ypically shuttling back and forth while loading or stacking.
"Driver comfort, and more especially WBV (Whole Body Vibration), is an important issue on these machines. While boom suspension (which Merlo offers on several models) is worthwhile, it mainly reduces pitching -- not vibration.
And besides, boom suspension is principally designed to cushion the load you're carrying -- not the driver.
"We also offer a type of electronic front axle suspension but, again, it is not a complete solution from the driver's perspective."