Rough-Terrain Forklifts Getting Larger
Rough-Terrain, straight-mast forklifts finding niche with lift capacities rarely considered in past with this equipment type. In the three years since Construction Equipment last investigated the rough-terrain, straight-mast forklift market, list prices for new machines have crept up ever so slightly.
Machines with a lift capacity of less than 6,000 pounds are, on average, up 2.45 percent to a little more than $46,000. Machines in the category”s bulk class, ranging 6,000 to 10,000 pounds in capacity, are up 3.15 percent to $54,177. Now, equipment buyers will quickly point out, if only their actual costs were up ever so slightly.
Fueled by diesel, hourly costs have increased 81.6 and 84.3 percent, respectively, in those two classes. So while the price on the dealer”s tag may not seem all that different, once that forklift is off the sales yard and onto the customer”s, it needs to produce in a big way.
With the rough-terrain-forklift market seemingly now leveled off in the wake of the telescopic-handler explosion of the path for this equipment type. Placing a load with a long reach may often now be the telehandler”s job, but when it comes to pure grunt lifting, the rough-terrain forklift could be the heavyweight champ.
As part of our last close-up, a third price average was listed for machines over 10,000 pounds, but in hindsight that number of $94,480 was “skewed” by the inclusion of the largest machines, according to Dave Murray of EquipmentWatch.com. This time, Murray calculated separate average prices of $66,825 for machines with capacities of 10,000 up to 20,000 pounds, and $152,646 for those with a capacity of 20,000 pounds and higher.
“I see things definitely getting heavier,” says Nick Acocella, factory sales manager with Omega Lift. “We”ve had quite a bit of interest in our product on the heavier end of the spectrum ¡ª 20,000-, 30,000- and 50,000-pound, all-wheel-drive, rough-terrain machines, mostly for the industrial market.
“I can speak from our history. We did a lot of business in construction, and it”s expanded tremendously from that into the industrial market. With yard work ¡ª whether it”s steel, lumber, military ¡ª everybody seems to be looking at a heavier machine that they can accomplish more with,” says Acocella. “Anytime you have an unimproved yard where a conventional forklift is not going to work well, our machines are fitting in very nicely.”
A multi-line manufacturer offering a full range of rough-terrain forklift families, Omega has established the Mega Series of larger vertical-mast models, offering lifting capacities ranging from 8,000 to 20,000 pounds. Providing lifting capacities up to 50,000 pounds was the next step ¡ª and along came the HERC Series.
“That”s been, I guess, where our customers have taken us and where we have developed a very nice niche in the marketplace. There aren”t a whole lot of manufacturers that offer a rough-terrain vehicle above 12,000 pounds, let alone 20,000,” says Acocella.
The bigger the machine needed, the more specialized that OEMs like Omega become.
“We pride ourselves on providing the customer with the machine that they need instead of something that we might have on the shelf,” says Acocella. “We really spend a lot of time getting to know the application and producing a truck for the customer that is exactly what they”re looking for.”
Similarly, one of the Liftking brand”s “core capabilities is the ability to customize our products to a customer”s application,” reports Tim Hayes, vice president of sales and marketing for Manitex Forklifts, parent to Liftking. “We are North America”s largest “job shop” when it comes to making unusual adaptations for customers.”