Telehandlers have made huge differences to productivity on farms and construction sites.
So much so that any sizable operation is likely to run such a machine and find it invaluable for many tasks.
Merlo, of Cuneo, Italy took the concept a stage further with its MultiFarmer launched in 2000. This combined their telehandler with the rear linkage and PTO system of a conventional tractor, to produce a dual-purpose machine.
On the recent regional field days circuit, the latest MultiFarmer II -- the MF 40.7CS -- was catching eyes as the only machine of its type in the sector.
Weighing in at about 8.7 tonnes and capable of lifting 4 tonnes to 7M, the machine is powered by a 4-cylinder Deutz engine pushing out 156hp to Tier 3 emission standards, so negating the need for DEF/Ad Blue treatment.
At the rear, in what might be regarded as the tractor area, a Cat 3 rear linkage can lift up to 7 tonnes, coupled with a 540/1000 rpm PTO system that delivers up to 138hp at the shaft, and four rear remote hydraulic valves.
As is usual for the Merlo camp, transmission is hydrostatic with twin motors coupled to a two-speed box. Shifts between range 1 and 2 are automated, or can be locked out manually if required. Range 1 offers speeds from 0-14kph, and range 2 takes the machine right out to the maximum speed of 40km/h.
In operation there are three drive mode choices: eco, which will achieve up to 40km/h at lowest engine revs; heavy, which delivers maximum power at all times so is ideal for clamp work and allows a constant engine speed while a travel pedal controls forward/reverse speeds; and the third option is digger mode, where engine speed increases automatically as the transmission or hydraulic system comes under load -- the best option for fuel economy.
The cab sees major upgrades: a one-piece windscreen for better visibility, external protection frame to protect the operator from falling debris, and a factory fitted air conditioning system with increased output, taken from the light commercial truck sector. In the cab, the seat-mounted joystick has a dead-man’s switch for increased safety, and a new dashboard mounted display gives concise information about all machine functions.
The cab has hydraulic suspension for operator comfort during long days; its system comprises twin hydraulic cylinders and four bump stops.
Frame levelling deals with sloping ground, either when lifting at the front or pulling at the rear, with the added function of axle lock-outs at front and the rear. In telehandler mode, the front axle is locked rigid, and in tractor mode the reverse is the case, the rear axle becoming rigid.
As part of the information package, Merlo’s own CDC system offers automatic implement recognition, and a display of boom angle, boom height and weight on the implement. The weigh system is said to be accurate to about 3%, can display the last 20 weighings, and record up to 9999 events.
Interestingly, the machine is set up to meet the latest ANZ standards (AS 1418-19) which sees the ratings measured at 0.6 load centres as opposed to the more common European standard of only 0.5 centres.