While Ingersoll-Rand's pick-and-place telehandler features a mid-mount engine, most low boom pivot machines are configured with side-mount engines. This is a classic European design that, while popular in the agricultural and landscape industries on this side of the ocean, has been somewhat slow in gaining acceptance in the construction industry.
Yet, there are advantages of a side-mount engine that you should consider when determining which design is right for your operation. Most notable is engine accessibility, which makes servicing components such as alternators, starter motors, batteries and fuel and engine oil filters much easier.
A machine with a side-mounted engine and low boom pivot also has a shorter head at the end of the boom for mounting attachments. Barney notes that this shortened boom nose "parapet" enhances ground-engaging performance and gives the machine the ability to function as a tool carrier for buckets, grapples, angle brooms, augers, etc.
With an operator's station positioned higher on the frame, the operator also maintains good line of sight over the boom with the boom at ground level. Plus, the cab is quieter.
From a manufacturer's perspective, a side-mount engine is more cost-efficient to manufacture. "Side-mount engine placement reduces assembly labor costs because the engine pod can be produced away from the assembly line and installed on the chassis at the same station as the cab," Reddick says. "The line moves much faster and more units can be completed per shift." This lower cost of production may ultimately sway market share in favor of the lower cost machines, he indicates.
However, like most configurations, a side-mount engine also has its disadvantages. The most cumbersome is visibility to the right-hand side of the machine, which can be an issue for certain trades such as masons who would carry their loads low.
"But steel erectors and framers tend to be a little more accepting of these machines because they can carry loads higher so they can see underneath the load," says Reddick. "And even for pick-and-carry applications, once an operator gets used to the configuration he appreciates the better rear visibility and full 360° visibility when traveling with no load with the forks positioned low."
Another drawback to side-mount engines is working on space-constrained jobsites. "This design results in the engine compartment protruding to the outside edge of the tires," notes Barney. "The telehandler could come in contact with low-lying objects around the jobsite if operators are not careful."
In the end, considering the pros and cons of boom and engine placement can help you select the right machine for your jobsite and applications. "Each configuration offers very distinctive designs," says Kuehling, "and distinct advantages and disadvantages."