As a leading supplier of new and used Merlo telehandlers, Wexford man Fran Cullen has been delivering unrivalled sales and backup service to agricultural and construction clients for two decades and counting. We travelled to Enniscorthy in the sunny south east and touched base with the proprietor of Fran Cullen Merlo Parts & Sales to find out more about this exceptional operation.
When it comes to telehandlers, you simply can’t get any better than Merlo. For performance, innovation, safety, efficiency and speed, the world-renowned Italian marque ticks all the boxes. These premium machines are ideal for use across the agricultural, construction, engineering and waste industries.
Wexford man Fran Cullen, who runs Fran Cullen Merlo Parts & Sales on Enniscorthy’s Old Dublin Road, is Ireland’s leading supplier of new and used Merlo telehandlers and he also provides a comprehensive, prompt and professional backup, repair and parts service nationwide.
Fran has been working with this celebrated, award-winning range of telehandlers for two decades now and it would be fair to say he is an authority on all things Merlo. Years of experience mean he is qualified to recommend to customers the ideal telehandler to suit every need. Operators can choose from a vast range of options – including new and pre-owned machines – while Fran Cullen Merlo Parts & Sales also provides an unbeatable 24/7 aftersales service nationwide.
There are many key characteristics that enable Merlo telehandlers to stand out from the competition but, in essence, their superiority comes down to the fact that Merlo is a high-quality brand with a proven track record for innovation and performance across multiple sectors.
“They really are an exceptional machine,” Fran confirms. “The precision in their handling ability and the sheer accuracy in their hydraulic system is second to none. For usability, nothing else can match them. They are the Rolls Royce of telehandlers and they are perfect for owner-drivers.
“When it comes to hydraulic controls, visibility, speed and safety, nobody else can touch them. The construction and agri machines can both reach a speed of 40kmph. Visibility-wise, they offer a panoramic view and the driver can see safely in all directions from the spacious cab. Merlo telehandlers are designed to the highest levels of safety and efficiency. For example, the build-in implement recognition technology means the parameters of the machine will change to continue delivering optimal performance depending on what is attached.”
Established in Italy over a century ago, The Merlo Group is a family-run, world-renowned operation which designs, produces and markets its own products under the Merlo and TreEmme brands. Its product portfolio consists of a complete range of telescopic handlers, both fixed and rotating as well as DBM self-loading concrete mixers and Cingo multi-purpose tracked transporters. All products in the Merlo range are characterised by innovation, technology and reliability, which have always been distinctive features of the Merlo Group and have gained market confidence across the globe.
Merlo telehandlers are extremely versatile and adaptable and they offer machines to cover a variety of needs in agriculture or construction / industry / manufacturing, etc. “They build a really good range of telehandlers,” Fran continues. “The telescopic reach ranges from 6 metres to 35 metres and the lift capacity goes from 2.7 tonnes to 12 tonnes.
“The newest machine is the e-Worker, which is 100% electric and is ideal for use indoors and in confined spaces. It’s perfect for use in food processing as it can access tunnels on fruit farms, for example.”
With reduced dimensions, the all-new environmentally-friendly Merlo e-Worker range of telescopic lifts is the ideal tool for closed environments such as stables, warehouses, industries and underground environments and guarantees operation and traction even in off-road situations. The e-Worker is designed to reduce noise levels; deliver zero polluting emissions; increase manoeuvrability in tight spaces; and ultimately reduce operating costs. Its performance is unparalleled in terms of safety, power, comfort, manoeuvrability, versatility and efficiency.
For agricultural use, meanwhile, the Merlo Multifarmer is at the forefront of the market. Merlo was the first company to translate the concept of a telescopic boom tractor into reality and to patent it, giving rise to the Multifarmer. This unique and inimitable telescopic tractor is a genuine crossover, combining the characteristics of a traditional agricultural telescopic handler with those of a tractor to produce truly exciting results.
The result is a range that offers high-performance vehicles, all equipped with three-point rear linkage and mechanical power take-off. The Multifarmer models represent the revolutionary Merlo solution for performing all farm work, handling, lifting, transporting loads and operating attachments with a high level of performance for operations typically carried out by traditional tractors (towing and tillage). The Multifarmer is also equipped with the anti-tipping MCDC (Merlo Dynamic Load Control) system, with engines managed by the EPD (Eco Power Drive) system, which allows for a reduction in diesel consumption.
Fran Cullen Merlo Parts & Sales offer customers a choice of new and second-hand telehandlers, all of which can be purchased with complete peace of mind. “The second-hand market is a big part of our business,” says Fran. “I’d import them, refurbish them and sell them on. I give a full six-month standard warranty on all second-hand models. Regardless of age, they are all fully tested, certified and warrantied.”
Reflecting on how he first became acquainted with the magnificent Merlo marque, Fran reveals: “I was running an engineering works and actually bought one to use myself and also to rent it out. That was 20 years ago. I ended up having 20 of them in a hire fleet and it grew from there. I started selling some second-hand machines and then introduced servicing and new sales.”
Backup service is a huge part of Fran’s business and he is known as a man who looks after customers above and beyond the call of duty, often travelling the length or breadth of the country during unsociable hours to help customers out… “If there is a breakdown, I will get to the customer and sort them out. For breakdowns and repairs, I will go anywhere, from Donegal to Kerry, and the fact that I have 500,000km on the service van speaks for itself. I make myself available seven days a week and the mobile is never switched off.
“For general servicing and routine maintenance, we have a 6,000 sq ft workshop here and the owner has the option of bringing the machine to us if he wishes. Alternatively, I can travel to their site – it all depends on the location and size of the telehandler.”
Ease of use, precision, versatility and ergonomic controls are keywords upon which Merlo products are designed. Each component is designed to maximize performance and make the operator’s job easier and more comfortable. The wide cabin is designed to guarantee the highest standards of safety and comfort whilst offering a generous internal space.
Merlo is synonymous with advanced technology in the field of telescopic handlers and operating machines.
Every year, over 8% of their turnover is invested in Research & Development. This investment allows Merlo engineers and technicians to design and build over 90% of the components within the Group, resulting in compact, manageable and reliable machines with unrivalled operating features.
“You just can’t beat them for accuracy, speed, safety and quality of build,” Fran concludes. “High-grade Swedish steel is used in the boom construction. Merlo don’t assemble telehandlers – they build them. Apart from the [Deutz] engine and transmission, the telehandlers are fully machined and built in-house. They build 34 units a day in their factory in Italy, with the emphasis always on quality, innovation and efficiency. In my opinion, you won’t get a better telehandler.”
Fran Cullen Merlo Parts & Sales,
Old Dublin Road,
Tel: 085 8659221
Email: [email protected]
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 9 No 5, September/October 2021