2003sterlingpetersengrapple 001smallAt a glance, knuckleboom trucks looks like ordinary flat bed trucks; however, there are some distinctive features that make it a different breed of commercial heavy-duty vehicle. The truck has a folded steel arm behind the cab called the knuckle boom because if folds up like a human finger. This specific feature gives the vehicle many different capabilities. Its primary feature is a foldable or articulated boom that is equipped with metallic joints so it can fold like a human finger. The joints are powered by hydraulic rams for support and power during movement.

Most boom trucks can be remotely controlled using a wired or a wireless remote, offering precise positioning and control as well as complete operator safety. When the controls were only mounted on the side of the boom, the operator’s view of the controller was limited, creating a greater danger while the vehicle was being used. Another distinguishing feature of boom trucks are the hydraulic outriggers, which are four steel legs that stabilize the truck when the boom is operating to provide a sturdy and steady support.


Boom trucks were initially built to simplify the task of hauling various loads from point A to point B. Before the development of this equipment, haulers relied on a simple truck bed to transport loads to a destination; however, there was always the problem of loading and unloading. Without the knuckleboom, there had to be another truck to load and unload the cargo at the work site made the process inefficient as a loader wasn’t always available to remove the cargo at the drop site.

The solution was to build a truck with features that would enable it to load and unload cargo without requiring another vehicle. To improve this problem, a boom was added to the truck to do the work – and that’s how the knuckleboom began. Early equipment used stiff booms or crane arms; however, there was only a limited range of motion and control which restricted the height at which a load could be carried. Continuous innovation in boom design gave birth to the articulated boom and has been used for many lifting jobs ever since.

Knuckleboom trucks can do so many more tasks than just simple loading and unloading due to innovative design developments. The articulated boom can handle higher reach and capacity as well as offer better control than its predecessors. The development of various attachments for this unique truck has also widened its scope of use, enabling it to do more work than what was initially perceived; it can now be equipped to work as an aerial platform, crane, grapple, pallet loader, and hauler to name a few of the numerous options.

Knuckleboom trucks have certainly progress from equipment that was borne out of necessity into one capable of so much more productive activity. It is now a valuable work vehicle that is well equipped and highly capable of carrying out a variety of tasks. Hopefully this article has provided helpful information about boom trucks and how they evolved into what they are today – and that is the short and long version of their story!

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