Bringing What the Customer Wants

Feb. 1, 2008
Two years ago, JLG went to its customers and asked what they were looking for in compact telehandlers and here are the answers they gave. The first response

Two years ago, JLG went to its customers and asked what they were looking for in compact telehandlers and here are the answers they gave.

The first response was maneuverability to get around the jobsite easily. So JLG built its G5-18A with a turning radius of 126 inches that could get inside small spaces, in doorways and elevators and parking lots.

Second, JLG customers talked about the cab. “A lot of owner-operators buy this kind of machine,” says Brian Boeckman, product parent for JLG's telehandler. “That means the guy who is buying the machine is sitting in the cab. He knows he's going to be in there all day so he wants a comfortable, ergonomic cab and we spent a lot of time focusing on it.”

The third issue expressed by JLG's customers was serviceability and JLG made all parts and components easily accessible. The battery, situated under the boom, is easy to get to even when the boom is all the way down. Its electrical system is also accessible, a strong plus for users and technicians who often have to go under the dashboard for access.

The new unit is designed for a variety of applications such as landscaping, where the machine could be used for placing trees on slopes, extending sod out over a freshly graded area, and dumping dirt or stone behind retaining walls. The telehandler could maneuver well around construction jobsites, transporting materials around the site, loading and unloading trucks. It appears to be a natural for jobsite clean up, and work in parking garage structures. JLG envisions the machine as popular in the municipal marketplace, loading dump trucks with sand and gravel and more.

JLG's customer base includes a lot of operators experienced with wheel loaders. “We've allowed for that by changing the operation of the joystick, using what we call the lift and then loader mode,” Boeckman says. “When you're in the lift mode, you move your joystick from side to side, that telescopes your boom in and out. If you flip it to the loader mode, and you move your joystick from side to side, you'll dump your bucket. We have a switch the operator can use to toggle between the two modes, so it's easy to switch modes from the operator's perspective.”

The cab has a comfortable seat, enhanced visibility, and a lot of storage area, such as a place to put down a cellular phone with a nearby power charging outlet. The cab comes equipped with cup holders for coffee or soft drinks. The cab comes enclosed or not.

The unit comes with an 84-hp Perkins engine, has a maximum capacity of 5,500 pounds pick and carry, maximum lift height of 18 feet, 4 inches; maximum forward reach of 10 feet, 10 inches; capacity at maximum lift height of 4,400 pounds and at maximum forward reach of 1,850 pounds. The machine can accommodate universal skid-steer attachments, with a universal adapter plate to be used with the JLG coupling system. The unit is 144.2 feet in length, 71.5 inches long with 10.8-inch ground clearance.

The G5-18A will complement JLG's G519-A and G6-23A.

“We visited nurseries, landscapers, concrete construction guys and other areas as well to get a feel for what they were looking for,” adds Boeckman. “The big selling points for us are the cab itself, serviceability in the engine and the maneuverability.”

Sharper scissors

JLG also, through extensive customer feedback, identified areas for improvement on its ES scissorlift line, with research, design discussion, concept reviews and cycle tests all occurring in 2006. JLG was concerned about cables being inconsistently routed when serviced and subsequently being damaged, brakes corroding after being serviced, and wheel rims bending with high impact. JLG also wanted to simplify troubleshooting which, in the past, required use of an analyzer. JLG observed that the platform cable was too long, so the machine would get untied and damaged, and that the deck extension would get jammed with debris on certain jobsites.

JLG's customers appreciated JLG's electric drive and longer duty cycles and high drive power. They also liked JLG's lift cylinder, pump and motor, with fewer hoses, fittings and leaks. The units' narrow widths were positives on jobsites.

“One of the things we heard loud and clear was don't change the electric drive system,” says scissors product champion Bill Dovey Jr. “That is an outstanding feature. “And with the pothole protection system, there is continuity throughout the system.”

To address the concern over troubleshooting, JLG developed a new fault code system, which will diagnose problems and communicate them to the user. “Also we put the most frequently seen fault codes in the operators' manual, so the operator or technician can troubleshoot it himself.”

To address the brake-corrosion issue, JLG coated the brake plates and developed a two-piece brake housing system to limit exposure. JLG developed heavier cast wheels to address that issue and improved its platform cable management system. Its platform extension is more debris resistant and a function-ready delay switch eliminates the need to re-boot if function is engaged before the system is ready.

The scissorlifts and the compact telehandler will be displayed at The Rental Show and ConExpo, and were presented at World of Concrete last month.