COVID-19 halted many production lines across the world in 2021 but for Italian telehandler manufacturer, Merlo Spa, the wheels kept on turning.

Merlo enjoys a 15% market share in Europe and a 10.5% market share worldwide, while it has higher market shares in Italy, Germany and Canada.

During 2021, Merlo manufactured 7200 machines but has set new targets to produce 10,000 machines and 25,000 attachments per year by 2025.

With this target unveiled, Merlo is currently undergoing significant expansion in a number of areas through its plant in Cuneo, where the company story first began.

Inspired by his father’s engineering business, back in 1964, Amilcare Merlo established Merlo Spa and began producing mobile construction equipment. The first telehandler arrived in 1981 – the SM series – which was essentially a concept offering both the performance of a forklift and a hydraulic telescopic boom crane.

Today, Merlo maintains its family run structure, produces several product lines of telehandlers for agriculture and construction, attachments, and other products for the waste industry under its Merlo, TreEmme and Tecno brands.

The company’s Cuneo site extends to 330,000 m2 and provides work for almost 1600 employees. The factory features 38 robots, 16 machining centres, 11 automatic steel cutting lines, and three high-tech powder coating lines.

During 2021, when other manufacturing facilities stopped production, Merlo continued non-stop throughout the year, albeit with some changes in the supply chains. Even though it manufactures a high percentage of its components in-house, it also relies on outside companies for specialist parts.

Amilcare’s son, Paolo Merlo, managing director of Merlo Spa, said production went on, but not without its challenges: “The Covid-19 crisis hurt the availability of components severely affecting all companies in the industry. Merlo Group tried to counter it with strategic interventions at all levels, by expanding the number of suppliers and trying to diversify our supply channels.

“We continue to fight daily for parts, mostly small electro components only around €10 each. It’s an everyday struggle. but when those parts arrive the machines are ready to go and that’s why we decided to continue the main production throughout the pandemic.”

Indeed, there are scores of telehandlers parked in every available space outdoors at the Merlo factory each awaiting a simple component in order for it to be completed and sent to the customer.


The key products it manufactures fall into a number of categories, including compact telehandlers – these have a load capacity from 2700-3300kg and lifting heights from 6-8m.

Its medium capacity telehandlers includes the popular Turbofarmer range, have a load capacity from 3300 to 4200kg, and lifting heights of from 7-10m. A range with stabilisers have a load capacity from 3000 to 5000kg and lifts of 10-18m.

High capacity handlers range from being able to handle 4500- 12,000kg with lifting heights from 8-18 metres.

The Multifarmer telehandler – which Merlo calls its ‘tractor’ – has a load capacity from 3400 to 4000kg and lifting heights from 7-9m.

Finally, the rotating telehandler, known as the Roto range, can handle loads from 4000 to 7000kg and has lifting heights from 16-35m.

The latest Merlo compact telehandler to come to the market is the Merlo TF27.6 with load capacity of 2700kg and a lift height of 6m. And in the Multifarmer range, the latest models are the MF44.7CS and the MF44.9CS with load capacities of 4400kg and respective lifting heights of 6.8m and 8.8m.

New range goes electric

Merlo has also entered the electric telehandler market with its two eWorker models – the EW25.5-60 and the EW25.5/90.

Both have a lift capacity of 2500kg to a height of 4.8m, with the latter model being four-wheel-drive.

The news from the factory is that Merlo will launch new launch lithium-ion batteries (41kWh, 850Ah) for their electric machines. These will come with an automatic battery cut-off, which functions after two hours. When the battery is disconnected, the operator will have to reactivate the circuit by pressing a key in the cab.

Merlo pointed out that lithium batteries charged quicker, lasted longer and hold more energy compared to lead batteries, however they are more expensive and must be completely replaced if they get damaged. Another issue is the availability of lithium, which is currently under pressure.

It also announced that its entire range of Roto rotating telehandlers would now be available as electric plug-in versions.

With the main goals of reducing emissions, noise and fuel in working environments, Merlo has added an electric motor to the Roto range that can control all its movements, except for forward and reverse.

Following on from the introduction of the eWorker all-electric telehandler, the plug-in Roto option means it can be operated at full capacity without using the diesel engine once the machine is positioned for work.

All of the telehandler’s hydraulic functions are powered by an on-board electric motor, with operation of the Roto available from the cab, the aerial work platform, or by controls used remotely by the operator.

Performance is identical to the standard diesel-powered machine, but has the added benefits of reduced pollution, minimal noise and less fuel consumption without compromising on the power of the machine.

The plug-in Roto is also able to operate indoors, in confined spaces and in areas where only zero-emission machines are permitted. It can operate in diesel mode when travelling on the road and for positioning of the machine. Once in position, it can then be switched to plug-in mode by connecting the supplied 50m cable to a compatible power source, 400V, 32A or 64A.

At this point, the machine’s stabilisers can be positioned, and all of its hydraulic functions can be activated in electric mode, with the exception of frame shifting.

Tech spec:

The Merlo plug-in system consists of four elements – a control unit, electric motor, hydraulic pump and the 50me long power cable.

The control unit is positioned at the front of the machine’s frame. It contains the electrical system’s indicator lights, start and stop buttons, including emergency stop button, and the power supply type selector to choose between diesel engine of the electric motor.

The three-phase electric motor powers a variable displacement hydraulic pump capable of delivering a flow rate of 70 l/min.

This allows for boom extension and retraction as well as lowering and raising; carriage rotation and engagement of auxiliary services, turret rotation and stabiliser positioning.

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