Rough-Terrain Forklifts Getting Larger

Sept. 28, 2010


Many rough-terrain, straight-mast forklift manufacturers are focusing more and more on larger models to meet particular market needs. One of those manufacturers is Manitex Liftking, whose high-flotation "deep-mud special" is shown at the immediate left.
Attachments Transform Forklifts into 'Whole Fleet'


At first glance, a forklift seems straightforward enough, almost single purpose in role.

The folks at Star Industries see it differently, as evidenced by their slogan: "Star Attachments Turn a Forklift into a Whole Fleet of Equipment."

Fort Worth, Texas-based Star Industries has developed such heavy-duty forklift attachment product lines as self-dumping buckets, self-dumping hoppers, Load-N-Tow platforms, Lift-N-Tow cranes, concrete-placing hoppers, safety work platforms and jibs, as well as the replacement forks, ram poles, spreader bars and fork extensions traditionally associated with forklifts.

"Star Attachments are very inexpensive in comparison to the cost of the forklift and yet they add tremendous versatility," says sales manager Paul Kelly. "With Star Attachments, a forklift can place concrete, elevate personnel, perform many loader jobs, and even perform tasks that would normally require a crane."

There is a big need for this, says Kelly.

"It is not uncommon to see a job where the forklift is the only piece of equipment that stays on the project from start to finish. The way metal building contractors utilize a forklift today is a prime example."

Kelly walks us through such a scenario:

"They bring the forklift onto the job at the very beginning. The first task is to unload the building from the trucks. Next, utilizing a Star jib or truss boom, they erect the structure saving the cost of bringing a crane onto the job. With the Star spreader bar, they can handle even the long limber components that can be difficult to handle without damage. If there is a concrete mezzanine, often a Star concrete hopper attachment can place the concrete and save the added cost of a concrete pumping service.

"Progressing with the job, a Star safety work platform elevates personnel to install the insulation and metal skin on the building. And, even as the job finishes up, the forklift is there with a bucket attachment to handle any needed backfill and job cleanup."

The thorough use of attachments on a forklift provides the best utilization of the equipment investment dollar, says Kelly.

Buying File Gallery:
  • Ingersoll Rand
  • JCB
  • Case
  • Load Lifter
  • Waldon
  • Xtreme
  • Stone Construction Equipment
  • Omega Lift Manufacturing
  • Harlo
  • Liftking
  • Average RT Forklift Costs
  • Rough-Terrain Forklift Specifications (10,000-lb. capacity & up)

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 past decade, a big way may just be the future 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 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."

Be it to load vehicles onto trailers or for extreme-flotation military use, the Manitex Liftking is getting bigger thanks to the P Series, with capacities of 22,000 pounds and beyond.

The Liftking brand is now part of the Manitex Forklifts group, which also comprises such brands as Schaeff, Noble and Lowry, the latter of which had previously been acquired by Liftking.

Load Lifter is another make of rough-terrain, straight-mast forklifts that is looking to serve a market beyond 20,000 pounds, the company reports. With lift capacities ranging up to 30,000 pounds and lift heights of up to 30 feet, Load Lifter's RT forklift line will serve a wide variety of needs in construction, industrial, agriculture, forestry and lumber.

Average RT Forklift CostsLift Capacity Class (lb.)*Hourly Cost 2007 / 2004List Price 2007 / 2004* Hourly rate is the monthly ownership costs divided by 176, plus operating costs** Effective 2007, split this size classSource:, phone 800/669-3282Less than 6,000$25.42 / $14.00$46,083 / $44,9806,000¨C9,999$29.49 / $16.00$54,177 / $52,52010,000 and up**na / $25.00na / $94,48010,000¨C19,999**$38.55 / na$66,825 / na20,000 and up**$79.39 / na$152,646 / naRough-Terrain Forklift Specifications (10,000-lb. capacity & up)ModelMax. Lift @ 24 in. (lb.)Max. Lift @ Full Height (lb.)Max. Fork HeightGross HPDrive WheelsTurning RadiusOperating Weight (lb.)* Spec listed is for 2WD configurationSource: Xpanded Specs, Information Received As of April/07Liftking LK10M22/4210,0003,00030¡ä0¡å862/4WD11¡ä5¡å15,100Load Lifter 4400-10D10,00010,00030¡ä0¡å864WD14¡ä7¡å18,450Manitou M 5010,0005,50020¡ä2¡å802/4WD14¡ä10¡å19,245Manitou MSI 5010,00010,00015¡ä7¡å822WD9¡ä6¡å17,500Master Craft C-10-70010,0006,40021¡ä0¡å782/4WD14¡ä1¡å18,286*Master Craft RT/C-10-44010,000-10,00021¡ä0¡å802WD14¡ä1¡å18,286Master Craft Scrambler 1010,00010,00014¡ä0¡å802WD13¡ä3¡å17,993Noble R80 10K 2WD/4WD10,00010,00014¡ä0¡å832WD17¡ä8¡å*17,200*Sellick S-10010,0009,00018¡ä0¡å832/4WD14¡ä10¡å16,805Wiggins AT-96/W10010,0005,00030¡ä0¡å862WD12¡ä3¡å17,100Xtreme XT100B10,000n/a30¡ä0¡å842WD9¡ä3¡å20,480Kawasaki 60 K-Lift12,00012,00014¡ä0¡å1104WD15¡ä3¡å20,575Liftking LK12M22/4212,0005,00019¡ä0¡å862/4WD11¡ä6¡å19,000Load Lifter 2400-D12,00012,00014¡ä0¡å864WD14¡ä11¡å19,600Load Lifter 4400-12D12,00012,00030¡ä0¡å864WD14¡ä7¡å19,700Master Craft Scrambler 1212,00012,00014¡ä0¡å802WD13¡ä3¡å18,933Sellick S-12012,0009,30022¡ä0¡å832/4WD15¡ä3¡å19,495Waldon 8500C Forklift12,00012,00014¡ä10¡å1104WD12¡ä6¡å21,100Wiggins AT-120/W12012,0006,00030¡ä0¡å862WD15¡ä0¡å18,000Xtreme XT12012,00012,00012¡ä2¡å842WD14¡ä4¡å23,952Xtreme XT120B12,000n/a30¡ä0¡å842WD15¡ä0¡å23,952Wiggins AT-120/W14014,0006,00030¡ä0¡å862WD15¡ä0¡å19,900Liftking LK16M22/4216,000n/a14¡ä0¡å1202/4WD16¡ä6¡å21,480Load Lifter 4400-16D16,00016,00030¡ä0¡å1294WD13¡ä9¡å23,565Omega Lift 4412T-16S16,00016,00012¡ä0¡å1224WD14¡ä4¡å26,200Wiggins AT-120/W16016,0008,00030¡ä0¡å862WD15¡ä0¡å21,000Load Lifter 4400-18D18,00018,00030¡ä0¡å1294WD14¡ä7¡å28,415Taylor TB-180S18,000n/a11¡ä0¡å1602WDn/an/aLiftking LK20P2220,000n/a14¡ä9¡å1002WD22¡ä5¡å31,050Load Lifter 4400-20D20,00020,00030¡ä0¡å1294WD18¡ä8¡å31,640Taylor TB-200S20,000n/a11¡ä0¡å1602WDn/an/aTaylor TB-250M25,000n/a11¡ä0¡å1602WDn/an/aLiftking LK 302230,00030,00015¡ä8¡å1522WD16¡ä2¡å46,450Taylor TB-300L30,000n/a11¡ä0¡ä160n/an/an/aLiftking LK 43K43,00043,0008¡ä4¡å1602WD18¡ä3¡å48,500