1 March 2002

Telehandler with shovel muscle and versatility

THE first six-cylinder engined pivot steer telehandler is being produced by Northern Ireland firm Redrock Engineering.

With a lift capacity of 5t to a full height of 5.54m, the TH500 out lifts all other telescopic handlers, including the most powerful rigid chassis machines.

"The TH500 is a machine for people wanting really high output for contract work but need the properties of a telescopic handler around their own yard," says Alistair Hinchcliff of Redrock Engineering. "Farmers are always wanting more power and this machine, like the TH300 when it was launched, offers what the market demands."

Redrock surprised the machinery world when it unveiled the 3t lift TH300 two years ago. Until then, the company had produced relatively simple machinery such as trailers, slurry tankers and diet feeders. Yet despite having no track record building powered equipment, Redrock produced an impressive machine with a high-level specification and build.

Using a Perkins motor to supply 151hp, the TH500 has 45hp more than its junior. A variable displacement hydraulic pump produces 190 litres/minute – 140 litres more than the TH300 – giving a maximum lift capacity of 5000kg. Lift height and forward reach have been increased by 340mm and 105mm respectively, resulting in a total of 5.54m lift height and 3m forward reach.

The wheelbase has also gained 300mm to 2.8m to maintain stability, but the turning circle has not been dramatically increased, measuring 4.8m to the centre of the outer wheel.

For the transmission, Redrock has chosen to fit a ZF 6f x 4r powershift in place of the 4f x 4r unit used on the smaller model. The oil over oil joystick also incorporates a gear kick down system operated by a button on the oil-over-oil joystick boom control, as is the transmission "dump" valve, which interrupts drive temporarily so that more revs can be used to bite or lift a load more rapidly.

There is permanent four-wheel drive and limited slip differentials on both axles, and the TH500 runs on even more generous tyres than its sibling – the 620/70R26 tyres are reckoned to provide a good combination of grip and flotation.

"We have taken the TH300 and beefed up the components as necessary to cope with the extra power and lift performance," explains Mr Hinchcliff. "But we use the same cab, offering a high level of driver comfort."

Production of the TH500 is already underway at Redrocks factory in Collone, County Armagh, with first machines likely to be crossing the water to Britain towards the end of the silage season. &#42

The TH500 (right) draws on the basic design of the 106hp TH300 but is a bigger, heavier and more powerful machine. It packs a six-cylinder engine – a first for a telehandler – to get loading shovel performance with telescopic boom versatility.