A JCB TLT 25 working in a scrap metal facility in Gateshead is vying for the title of the world’s oldest working Teletruk.
It was in 1997 that JCB reinvented the forklift by launching the Teletruk, a fork lift truck with a telescopic boom instead of a vertical mast - a unique design providing unrestricted forward visibility because there is no vertical mast.
Now it's been discovered that a machine built in November that year is still putting in a daily shift at Rooneys Scrap Metal, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
A JCB spokesman said: “This machine was the 11th JCB Teletruk to come off the production line 17 years ago and despite its age, it’s still in great condition and offering all the productivity benefits it was designed for. This is the oldest working JCB Teletruk we know of but if anyone is aware of an older one, we’d be delighted to hear about it.”
Current owner, Laurence Dinnings, who owns and runs Rooneys Scrap Metal, bought the machine at auction in 2011 after spotting it being stored in a friend’s garage. Recognising the machine was in excellent condition for its age and with low hours on the clock, Laurence was determined to put in the winning bid.
He said: “I had been looking for a smaller JCB Teletruk for a while but wasn’t in a position to buy new. I found out about this machine so I put in a telephone bid and won. It’s still putting in a good shift at my metal recycling yard every day.
"It’s reliable, durable and productive and even when I recently called out my local dealer, TCH JCB, with a minor issue all they had to do was run some diagnostics and re-boot the computer and it was back up and running. It’s just fantastic.”
The JCB TLT 25D is used for a variety of tasks at the yard. With its unique forwards reach, it can unload and load both sides of a truck from one side. This is particularly important at Rooney’s where space is at a premium and trucks have to be parked up against the wall or alongside obstacles.
The versatility of the machine comes in to its own again thanks to its ability to have a tipping bin fitted to its forks. The bin is filled with sorted metal waste and then tipped in to skips which are placed side by side and only accessible from the front end. The telescopic arm ensures the loads can be tipped right to the back end of the skip - unachievable with a masted fork lift.
According to Laurence, the operator uses the JCB machine all the time despite the availability of two other fork lift trucks. It’s just faster, has superior handling, and does jobs the other machines can’t. With solid tyres on the machine, it copes admirably with the ground conditions so when you take everything in to account there’s simply no chance of replacing the machine any time soon.
Laurence Dinnings added: “The machine still only has 5,000 hours on the clock. Why would I change? There’s plenty of life left in it yet – we don’t use it excessively and it’s proved to be long lasting and reliable so far, there’s absolutely no way I am getting rid of this little gem. It’s an integral part of our business here.”