As utilization increases, comfort becomes more of an issue. "When you start talking about things that are geared toward operator comfort, like heat and air conditioning, that certainly ties into productivity," says Boeckman. "A comfortable operator is a more productive one."
The growing use of attachments is transforming the telehandler market. "The pick-and-place application is a mature market," Kirst notes. "The opportunities are getting away from pick and place and going toward the tool handler concept."
"Telehandlers are tending to become more of a multi-use machine," Boeckman agrees. "Once you move beyond a standard fork and carriage - when you start talking about lifting hooks and truss booms - the number of applications for a telehandler greatly increases."
Because the basic machines have not really changed a lot, says Eckert, what really differentiates one machine from another are options and attachments. This is changing how customers spec machines.
"We are seeing more requests for attachments and options," says Ford. "We have requests for closed cabs, air conditioning and additional attachments. Utilization is picking up and driving some of those things."