On February 29 of 2012, Applied Machinery Sales, located in Pineville, N.C., was named the official distributor for Merlo Telehandlers in the U.S. In August of last year, the units began arriving and were distributed in the Southeast. Operating under AMS-Merlo, the full line of telehandlers are now available, ranging in capacity from 5,500 to 26,500 pounds and with lift heights from 19 to 96 feet.
The Italian provincial capital of Cuneo is mid-way between Turin and Nice. The Merlo story started here in 1912, with a family blacksmith shop. The company flourished during the 1920's and 1930's and diversified into metal fabrication. In 1964, Amilcare Merlo moved to the nearby hamlet of Cervasca and began to produce mobile construction equipment.
The products of the new company included very innovative designs of dumpers and self-loading concrete mixers. A small mobile crane and the first Merlo rough terrain forklifts, with 4 wheel drive/steer axles, followed in 1970.
In 1982 came the first Merlo telehandler, the SM series. As well as the Merlo drive/steer axles, they featured the unique Merlo side-shift mechanism and a very innovative boom configuration which produced an element of true vertical lift. Many of these machines are still in use worldwide, a testament to their rugged construction.
In 1986 came the big leap, the world's first side-engined telescopic handler! For the first time, the operator had full 360 degree panoramic vision. Hydrostatic transmission helped to make this new machine the most compact and maneuverable telehandler in the world.
A year later in 1987, Merlo announced a full range of XS Panoramic machines. Now, users could have a full range from 22’9” to 42’6” lift height. All with hydrostatic drive and disappearing boom.
The next innovation was the world's first rotary telehandler, the Roto 27.11 in 1990. In many European countries the sales of Roto machines rival that of traditional handlers.
A brand new farm handler was shown at the 1994 Smithfield Show - the P27.7. It was created specifically for the UK market and for the first time used a fixed front axle, rather than the unique Merlo side-shifting axle. For the first time, UK farmers have a 25 mph hydrostatic drive telehandler with fantastic visibility!
During the latter 1990's there was further development in both Panoramic and Roto machines, with the introduction of the EVS design cab and the Ring of Steel introduction; still one of the most popular features of Merlo machines. In 1996 the Compact series, at only 6ft 6in wide was launched.
Yet more innovation for the farmer in 2000 - the Multifarmer was the first real combination of tractor and telehandler. It had a mechanical direct drive PTO and three point linkage. 2000 also saw the introduction of the world's first 20,000lb capacity telehandler, the P101.10.
2004 saw further development of the Roto series, with the introduction of the MCSS series, a highly sophisticated and versatile digital control system offering big performance advantages over competitive, crane-based, systems. New high-lift Panoramic and Compact series were introduced in 2006.