AI looks at the latest models and emerging trends in the rough terrain scissor lift market.

A better operating experience, in terms of smoother controls and rigidity, are key features of new RT scissor models. A new era of environmentally-friendly machines are also making their way on to the scene as part of a major future shift in power options.

Skyjack is also developing a new category of rough terrains. Kristopher Schmidt, product manager, says, “We’re unveiling a new Skyjack rough terrain scissor lift whose platform height will reach higher than any of our current product offerings.”

Schmidt adds, “While this machine will be larger in stature, it will share common components with other similar wide counterparts. This includes systems like Skyjack’s Skycoded colour coded numbered wiring system, and Axledrive axle-based drive system.”

The Canadian manufacturer’s most recent RT scissor was the SJ6832 RTE, launched back in 2014, and it is Skyjack’s only electric powered rough terrain scissor lift, boasting a 48V 250Ah battery back. Skyjack’s line of RTs offer up to 50% gradeability. Features including the crossover symmetrical four-wheel drive on compact RT’s and the Axledrive on the larger lifts is ideal in sand and dirt. The machines can handle large loads and are driveable at full height. Both compact and full size scissors include Skyjack’s unique clevis style design, which provides increased rigidity and more operator comfort.

Schmidt says, “With the introduction of load sensing to the ANSI market, Skyjack’s rough terrain scissor lifts will be tapped with more data points and diagnostic communication, which will in turn assist Elevate [Skyjacks telematics offering], in transferring the most important data to rental companies.”

Safety standards

In fact, safety has been a driver for many of the innovative designs we’re seeing on the market, explains Schmidt. “In the future with new ANSI standards manufacturers will not only be pushed to further develop safety features but also increase and improve existing features and specs while lowering cost of ownership for rental companies at the same time.”

JLG has upgraded its LRT series to simplify the product and address some of the key requests from the market. The upgraded LRT series has been available since early October. Jan-Willem van Wier, JLG EMEA senior product marketing manager, says, “Improvements lie in smoother operation through improved joystick and leveling jack controls and an enhanced leveling jack interface.”

The control system upgrade provides the system with feedback to enhance drive control proportionality. Left and right steer functions now receive renewed digital inputs to ensure improved functionality. The leveling jack operation has seen improvement in the proportional controls area as well, allowing for more efficient and accurate leveling. The leveling jack interface is improved by integrating the level button within the current Lift/Drive switch.

For the 530LRT in particular; the updated model will utilise proportional lift valves for the upper and lower lift cylinders providing a smooth controlled proportional descent from start to full speed to stop and everywhere in between. The Lift Up Start/Stop has also been smoothed out and is now easier to control. Other enhancements are around the elevation sensor calibration and there is no longer a need for recalibrate after a software update.

New evolution

Looking to the future van Wier says, “Where we see large scissors evolve is by simplifying some of the technical features providing improved uptime for our customers. A good example is the pin based loading which allows for no load calibration. Service personnel can calibrate LRT Series by only using the analyser. This functionality will help customers to optimize the machine uptime.”

Van Wier says he also expects to see improved terrainability and comfortable navigation on job sites. “More room for people and materials and hybrid or electric drive functionality,” he says. “Also, developments in the area of obstacle detection are subjects reviewed in the further advancement of RTs.”

A core focus of Genie’s business is to understand the constantly changing needs in the business, and to provide new options and accessories to boost return on investment and productivity. “One factor driving changes in the RT scissor lift models is the updates to the ANSI and CSA standards in North America, which will result in a global standards commonality, driving innovation in systems that have historically been only regional requirements,” says Mike Flanagan, Genie product manager, Terex AWP.

“With rough terrain scissors, operators can expect the addition of active load sense systems similar to those that have been in place in European markets for the past few years. Additionally, slight changes to occupancy and capacity limitations can be expected, but we do not anticipate that these changes will have a major impact to productivity.”

New ideas

The most recent changes to the Genie rough terrain scissor family were significant improvements to the Genie GS-69 and GS-90 models that were revamped to be more consistent with the boom product families. It brought improvements for the operator and service, as well as stylistic updates, including increased telematics and common components.

Flanagan adds, “Customers can expect the presence of electric and hybrid rough terrain aerial lifts to continue to grow in the coming years, as hybrid and battery technology improves.”

And, for example, Genie’s DC RT scissor, like the GS-2669 DC, GS-3369 DC and GS-4069 DC are designed for rough environments, along with emission-free work indoor applications. Additionally, new options and accessories, such as the Genie Lift Tools Material Carrier, allow operators to carry all of their tools and supplies to height, with a dedicated space to store them.

“The upcoming changes to ANSI/CSA standards will bring changes to nearly every model of scissor lift. These changes will include new features including platform load sense systems, as well as smaller alterations such as toeguards on platform entrances.”

Additionally, Genie Tech Pro Link handheld device’s compatibility with Genie GS-69 DC scissors will improve serviceability and help rental dealers get their machines back on rent faster, boosting returns for the customer. Snorkel offers five compact rough terrain scissor lifts, including the new narrow width Snorkel S2255RT and S2755RT, and the standard width Snorkel S2770RT, S3370RT, and S3970RT models.

In 2017, the company globally introduced the narrow width S2255RT and S2755RT models to the compact RT family. These models were introduced in response to customer demand for a narrower width machine that could be easily transported by contractors using a tandem trailer.

Offering a maximum working height of 8.5m, the S2255RT has a lift capacity of 420kg from a chassis that is 1.45m wide. The S2755RT offers a maximum working height of 10.4m and can lift up to 300kg. Capable of climbing gradients of up to 35% and designed to be towed by light commercial vehicles, the S2255RT weighs just 2,360kg while the S2755RT weighs 2,750kg.

Dual fuel

Matthew Elvin, CEO of Snorkel, says, “Customers are always looking for new options as rough terrain scissor lifts are becoming on-site aerial workstations. Over the last two years we have seen requests for compact units, as mentioned above, and generators for larger units.”

Elvin confirms that, as with other manufacturers, Snorkel is seeing many customers choose RT scissors with dual fuel options, due to the expense and complexity of diesel engines and the desire of many jobsites to have cleaner and quieter machines. New to the RT scissor scene, as it is to all products types, is GMG. The US-based manufacturer was incorporated in January 2017. It has designed and produced 14 models since 2017. Company president Jim Tolle says the company has already gained market share in key markets, including Central Europe, Scandinavia and the UK, and in early 2018 expanded its market and sales in the US, South America and Australia. In its 4-wheel drive RT scissor stable it has three models, the 2669-RT, 3369-RT and 4069-RT.

In 2019, the company plans to expand that to hybrid and electric powered versions and larger ultra-deck RT scissors, powered by diesel, electric and hybrid.

Tolle adds, “GMG machines are providing their customers with a product that immediately helps its customers differentiate themselves from that of their competitors and GMG’s I-Power system has not only been well received but now asked for by new customer coming to GMG.”

What about the Chinese manufacturers? They have been developing their RT line over recent months and years and now offer a substantial range of products. Dingli’s latest rough terrain scissor lift, the JCPT2223RTA, was launched this year. It has a capacity 750kg, for four people, and a working height of 22m. The JCPT2223RTA adopts its new ‘Tower’ scissor linkage mechanism”, which can lift the platform to 22m with one high pressure cylinder.

The entire tower scissor linkage mechanism is made of high-strength steel, using a special welding process with a fully-automatic welding robot. This, says the company, provides a more stable machine. “It overcomes the jitter phenomenon that occurs during work.”

China developments

The JCPT2223RTA is equipped with a large working platform of 4.35m long and 1.85m wide and it comes with a standard one-button automatic extension platform. It can also be extended by 2m from the original platform length of 4.35m.

It also has an electric drive, providing greater torque than the traditional hydraulic motor drive. In addition, the front axle comes standard with a floating cylinder that swings left and right to ensure a strong driving capability on rough terrain. At the same time, the rear axle comes standard with 100% hydraulic differential lock function, which can obtain greater grip when passing through uneven muddy road or icy road surface, “In the future, an electric off-road scissor with a higher working height and a larger load capacity will be introduced,” said a Dingli sportsperson. “The main focus is zero emissions, no pollution, and safer and more efficient equipment. In the future, the RT will be more intelligent.”

During Bauma China, at the end of November 2018, the company will launch the XE-RT series of all-electric RT scissors lift. The series represents an upgrade of the original XD-RT series. The working heights remain: 10m, 12m and 14m. The drive and climbing capabilities also remain the same, with four-wheel drive, and it can be driven on rough terrain at full height. XE-100RT, XE-120RT and XE-140RT models are all equipped with extended platforms, with a maximum length of 4m.

Mantall will launch the XE-CT crawler scissor during the show. The first in the series has 8m working height and has stowed dimensions of 2.05m x 1m and is electric-powered. “The rubber track chassis, in a ‘mock tank’ design, allows the aerial platform to operate on soft ground. It breaks the convention that aerial work platforms must work on hard ground,” said a company spokesperson. The XE-CT is also capable of making a zero-degree turn without damaging the ground. It also benefits from low noise and low vibration.

The spokesperson adds, “In the future, artificial intelligence and joint control systems will be applied to RT platforms. Due to the instability and complexity of field operations, some aerial operations will be replaced by artificial intelligence. Perhaps the overall shape of the aerial work platform will also change substantially.”

The spokesperson adds, “In years to come, the rough terrain aerial work platform’s main focus will be to strengthen the supply of power sources, improve product operational stability, and off-road capabilities for various manufacturers.”

Double extension

Sinoboom’s most recent product is the GTJZ1623D, launched in 2016. The platform extension can be extended at either end, while carrying capacity reaches up to 680kg. The maximum driving speed is 6.1km/h, with a maximum gradeability of 40%.

As has been previously stated, the future will see, “the Internet of Things (IoT), new energy options, weight reduction being major factors in the development of RT scissors.”

New power options, such as dual energy, hybrid and other energy sources will be extended to off-road scissor products. Lithium also holds great potential, says the company. “Car-type chassis are also a development direction, being better-suited for an aerial work environment featuring complex outdoor road surfaces.”

Global differences

An important point, says Sinoboom, is that requirements vary widely across the world. “Even within the same industry, different environmental and operational specifications apply for different geographical locations. Product requirements are different, and the requirements of the market are different, leading to gradually differentiated and personalised products which meet the needs of users with varying functional characteristics,” says the company spokesperson.

This is in addition to advanced computer control technology for automatic control in working environments involving narrow spaces and unstable ground. In Sinoboom’s home market of China, there is still huge growth potential. “The aerial work platform will continue to see growth in China within the next 10 years, with environmental policies driving demand for environmentally-friendly heavy terrain scissors.”

The company went on to add, “In the future, with the continuous development of technology and improvement of material strength, the dead weight of platforms will be reduced. “Simultaneously, to meet working the demands of the domestic market, high load capacity will continue to be improved.” 

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