Tracked platforms

By Euan Youdale16 October 2018

Tracked platforms are already often compact and powered through bi-energy. Nevertheless, a move to Lithium and even more compact proportions are the way forward.

The tracked platform sector has moved up a gear in recent times. Some manufacturers are re-introducing the product type, following some years away from the scene. While others are bringing them in to their ranges for the first time. Tracked platforms are also following the trend towards electric power. Of course, they already have a history of bi-energy and hybrid power, however battery-only solutions are gaining ground.

Earlier this year Falcon Lifts became the new name for TCA Lift. Falcon is the internationally-recognised brand name for its tracked platform lifts, therefore, using the same name for the company made sense.

It followed the announcement in July last year that Generationsskifte Invest, a Denmark-based private equity company, had acquired 65% of the shares of TCA Lift. The finance company was instrumental in the name change. Speaking at Platformers’ Days, in Germany during September, managing director Finn Schlitterlau said, the move had been popular with customers. “It was a logical decision, so the new logo and brochures have been taken onboard well by customers.”

First Launched at APEX in 2017, Falcon has updated its 33m working height FS 330Z Vario. It now offers 250kg in the basket, compared to the 200kg available before. Up to 15.5m outreach can be achieved with 250kg and 19m is available at 100kg.

The auto-levelling system, which is activated at all times, is a key feature, as are the wireless remote control, the remote diagnostics Falcon Service Tool and an anti-entrapment system. Schlitterlau says its biggest market is China, representing about 15% of sales this year. Popular there are the bigger platforms, notably Falcon’s 52m working height machines.

New developments

Teupen was also developing its range at Platformers Days with the newly-updated Leo telescopic platform series.

The new 30m working height 30Tplus has a 450kg capacity hook option and increased basket load to 300kg as standard, with 14m outreach. A switch on the basket can change the capacity to 400kg, with 12.7m outreach. There are four available platform sizes of 900mm, 1200mm, 1500mm and 2000mm. The 1200mm option is the standard basket size.

Also included is a radio remote control with a two-line display, which shows the fuel tank indicator, as well as platform capacity, live load while lifting (as an option), and the load limit shown as a percentage. The radio remote control is also equipped with the start/stop device. The family will include two other models, a 35m and 23m version.

Platform Basket also had a new 30m working height telescopic model at Platformers’, the 30T. It said it had just delivered the first unit in the UK to MBS Access, via its dealer Promax. This is the manufacturer’s first telescopic model and the next step will be the 43m working height 43T. The prototype is nearly ready and will be at Bauma. “The 30T is an amazing machine and a real game changer in the 30m tracked spider market,” said Ben Dobson of MBS Access. “We decided to purchase the 30T because of its innovative overall size and ability to go through doorways less than one metre wide. Also being fully hybrid we can use the lift indoors with a simple flick of a switch.”

The 30T is compact with a stowed width of 890mm and 1.96m height and length of 6.52m. For extra stability when travelling the tracks can be extended to 1290mm wide. Given its performance the 30T is also lightweight at 4250kg.

Standard features include high lift outriggers, giving a maximum clearance of 1,215mm, which allow the lift to self load/unload onto a truck. The variable position outriggers include asymmetric set-up, automatic levelling and stowage. The radio remote control has a two speed drive, automatic recovery and machine self-diagnostics. The 1.8 x 0.8m quick detachable, lightweight basket has outlets for air, water and 110v/230v electrics.

New environment

On the subject of game-changing, there is a move towards more environmentally-friendly equipment, as in other sectors.

As CTE says, “The main trend is the electric version of the aerial platforms, both for truck-mounted and spider lifts.” The manufacturer has models in its electric range, the Traccess 170E and Traccess 230E. “The market awaits this change and is paying even more attention to the environment compared to the past.”

The latest of the two is the 23m working height 230E, with 12m outreach and 200kg capacity. It is the battery version of the tallest model of the family and the capabilities are identical to those of the combustion engine version. They include automatic stabilisation in four areas, basket load sensing device and 230 volt AC CE electric socket in the basket. There is a maximum 31%, 2.1m jib with 10° angle.

Different is the type of engine; an electric 48 volt with 300 Ah Lithium battery that provides up to five hours working. The travel speed is 0.6 km/h. It also has a wireless radio station housed in the basket, very functional for the operator who makes the first movements and stabilises the vehicle easily and then rises in the basket, placing the console in a special housing. In addition, it has a small, closed height of 2.10m and is 5.3 m long.

During this year and next the manufacturer will focus on two new lifts, a 20m model in spring 2019, followed by a 28m at the end of autumn 2019.

At Ruthmann Italy, Gianpiero Marti, says, “More and more customers are seeing the benefits of hybrid and Lithium technology.” The manufacturer’s Blue Lithium lifts offer a 100% electric platform with a strong 48 volt Lithium-ion battery.

The lift can also be operated and charged from either 110 volt or 230 volt standard power outlets, at the same time, lowering the risk of ever running out of electric power.

There are three ways to use the Blue Hybrid system: combustion engine, only electric motor/Lithium battery, or Hybrid Auto Mode, which automatically decide which power source is optimal for any given lift function. The manufacturer’s latest model is the Bluelift SA 31, offering very compact dimensions in basic position. It has up to 31m working height and a maximum 17.3m outreach, at 120kg. With unique a clearance width of 1m width and less than 2m height, the lift can easily pass through a single-leaf industrial door. Marti adds, “Due to its important manoeuvrability, resulting from the short overall length of only 5.75m, the SA 31 offers a great advantage regarding usage in winding and inaccessible spaces.”

Ruthmann will shortly launch the Bluelift SA 11 P, which it describes as the world’s most compact tracked platform. It will be ideal for use in shopping malls and similar multi-level buildings. The SA 11 P was developed in close collaboration with a UK customer that works in shopping malls on a daily basis. After more than one year of testing on real job site, it will soon be available worldwide.

The unit fits in any standard-size passenger elevators and thanks to the hydraulic/electric quick-release fasteners, it only takes two people to install or remove the entire jib including the basket within minutes, without any tools. In its retracted position, the unit is just 2.36m long, 2.4m length. In transport mode it is just 0.78m wide and 1.95m tall. The innovative Jib Lifting unit enables it to operate over railings or balustrades.

Hinowa’s latest machine also offers Lithium power. Apart from that the Lightlift 33.17 provides negative reach, lower than the level of the machine’s tracks. This is ideal for tasks such as inspecting dockyards and bridges. It also features Hinowa’s Go Home function. At the push of a button, it automatically returns the boom to the stowed position.

Apart from the 32.5m working height and horizontal outreach of up to 16.5m, up and over capabilities are another key feature. This is aided by the boom, comprising of a tower and three telescoping sections, a main boom and two telescoping sections, plus an articulating jib. Hinowa has also added a wider and more comfortable basket, measuring 1.6m x 1.4m. The safe working load is 230kg, without any restrictions – sufficient for two people with tools.

Power options include a bi-energy Kubota diesel engine D902 and electric motor; or with a 76V, 150 Ah lithium-ion battery pack.

The Hinowa Lightlift 33.17 goes into production later this year and will be available from Access Platform Sales, the official UK distributor for Hinowa tracked booms.

Lithium expansion

Lithium is also a feature of Easy Lift’s latest offerings. At the beginning of the year, the manufacturer launched the R420HY, a hybrid version of the newly designed R420, which replaces the old R410. It is being followed by the R190HY, a hybrid version of the manufacturer’s popular R190.

The new R420HY has a working height of 41.4m, with an outreach of 16.5m with 120kg in the basket. Maximum capacity is 230kg. The weight is 8500kg.

The machine is equipped with two-speed gearboxes, high-sensitivity Danfoss distributor, fixed controls on the basket, Scanreco radio control and outrigger self-levelling. There are three power sources available: combustion engine, AC motor and the Lithium battery.

The 200 Ah Lithium battery pack is built in Italy with an innovative electronic battery balancing system, operational throughout

the work cycle. This allows balancing in the cells to be up to 20 times faster, says Easy Lift, thus reducing refill times.

“Furthermore, in the event of damage, it is possible for the customer to replace the individual cells by themselves, thus not requiring the intervention of specialised personnel and reducing to a minimum the costs of downtime or transport,” said an Easy Lift Spokesperson.

The combustion engine is a Hatz EU stage 5, while the 220 volt electric motor is also available in 110 volt and 380 volt. Another feature is the Easy-Hers system (Easy Lift Hydraulic Energy Recovery System) that recovers oil not used during normal operation to recharge the Lithium battery, reducing charging costs and consumption of fuel.

The R190HY offers the same performances of its R190 with the advantage of a power source more, since besides combustion engine and AC motor it is also equipped with lithium battery.

By the end of the year, the company will launch the new RA31 with diesel engine and AC motor and its hybrid version called RA31HY. The latter will be the first hybrid of this type (double telescopic boom + jib) on the market.

Earlier this year Italy-based Multitel Pagliero also took a step into electric, with the launch of a Lithium battery-powered version of its tracked platform, the SMX 250 E. This unique platform has 25m working height, allowing it to be transported on a small trailer towed by a conventional 4x4 vehicle. Weighing only 2700kg it is designed to be light and still offers more than 25m of working height and up to 11.65m of outreach. The on-board batteries will provide a full day of normal working and re-charging time is less than four hours.

Socage also chose Intermat to launch its new tracked platform range. The new line of four models will include the S15, S18, S21 and S18, with the latter being the first to be produced and exhibited. The manufacturer first launched a spider model, a 15m working height unit, when the company was launched but no others have been produced until now. It is in response to the growing spider market internationally.

Tracked platform manufacturer Easy Lift has a new distributor in Italy. Savis, a specialist in the sale of new and used access equipment for more than 20 years, will distribute the manufacturer’s tracked platforms in Piedmont and the neighbouring region.

The first of three tracked platforms ordered by Savis, an R130, has already been delivered to the customer in Val D’Aosta.

Meanwhile, Maifredi, a rental company based in Northern Italy, has ordered an R360 tracked platform from Easy lift.

Mediaco moves into MEWP

With a fleet of 600 mobile cranes, 500 transport vehicles, 1500 employees and around €300 million turnover, Mediaco Group is considered the number one in the field of lifting in France, and the seventh in the world, says Palazzani.

Among other machines recently included in its rental fleet, Mediaco has also acquired a Palazzani XTJ 52 tracked platform.

Frédéric Codina, the new head of sales at Mediaco Location Services, said, “I have been working in the platforms business for about fifteen years. Mediaco wanted to relaunch this activity with my arrival in the company.”

The Ragno XTJ 52 has a 52m working height and 19.5m outreach, with a bi-energy engine – diesel + AC – for working outdoors and inside when required. Stowed dimensions are 8898mm in length x 2400mm height. The extendable tracks guarantee maximum stability on slopes up to 40%.

The machine is customised in Mediaco colours and a hydraulic winch with 500kg lifting capacity. There is an air/water hose basket attachment, anemometer and electric generator for electric when no other power source is available.

The day after the delivery to Mediaco Aquitaine in Bordeaux, and the required training course, the machine was put to work for the replacement and repair of a telephone antenna in Tarbes, Southern France, located through a narrow and uneven path on the hillside and to set-up in a narrow area in the wood surrounded by trees. The rain complicated the climb manoeuvres.


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