Affordable Access chooses CTE Traccess

By Maria Hadlow30 April 2009

Affordable Access like the ruggedness and the safety provided by CTE's Traccess range.

Affordable Access like the ruggedness and the safety provided by CTE's Traccess range.

Affordable Access based in Romsey, UK has added a CTE Traccess 170 tracked platform to its fleet.

The machine's 17m working height and 200 kg capacity has added to the choice of rough terrain units that Affordable Access can offer its customers, which include major utilities and contractors, in the south of England.

Tony Thornton, managing director at Affordable Access said, "The Traccess 170 offers great stability for a compact tracked machine. The unrestricted 200 kg basket capacity throughout the complete operating area makes this machine very useful."

Affordable Access operates a number of CTE products including two of the smaller Traccess 135 models. Both models offer continuous 3600 boom rotation for versatility and easy access to the working area. The articulated sigma boom incorporates telescopic extension and a flyboom that always remains within the footprint created by the stability legs at ground level for the best possible safety.

"The sigma boom is good and the Traccess products have a compact working envelope," said Mr Thornton. "Products from other manufacturers are too big or too long."

The unrestricted safe working load of 200 kg is enough for two average people and 40 kg of tools and equipment. Reliable load sensors provide users with a warning if the maximum load limit is exceeded. Interlocks prevent further operation until the loading is brought back within safe working limits. The machines have a fully steel chassis, sub frame and platform superstructure for strength, reliability and stability. Hydraulic tubing and electric cables are housed inside the boom sections to offer protection from accidental damage. This is particularly important for arboriculture because there are no external services to snag on branches.

Interlocks and safety cut-outs prevent operation of the access platform until the outriggers are fully deployed and the unit is level. All hydraulic services are designed for failsafe operation with check valves on all cylinders. During normal operations the access platform is controlled from the basket using simple controls. Proportional electro-hydraulic activation is designed to keep all movements, including lift, outreach and rotation, are smooth and precise.

"From a hire point of view one of the big advantages is that the CTE models have common features and controls across the range," says Tony Thornton. "Everyone who has one likes them."

The unit folds down to a compact 0.78 x 1.995 x 3.300 m that allows it to be carried on a conventional plant trailer. Another feature that appealed to Affordable Access was the umbilical cord remote control that is used to manoeuvre the Traccess across the ground and during loading and unloading. This ensures operators remain at a safe distance from the unit at all times.

"Our first Traccess 135 units went on hire for a whole year and apart from changing the battery we didn't have any issues with them," says Tony Thornton. "When we needed another unit we chose the Traccess 170 because it has a higher specification."

Affordable Access was set up to complement Tony Thornton's other business, Thornton Associates Tree Services, that has been established for more than 20 years. The company bought its first two CTE Traccess units in 2006 and steadily upgraded and enlarged its fleet as demand has grown. Through his work as a tree surgeon, Tony Thornton knows that precision and stability are even more important than usual when working off-road near power cables.

"The closer you are to the cables the more stable you need to be," says Tony Thornton. "The Traccess units keep the platforms still and that makes the jobs a lot easier. Other sigma boom products I've looked at don't give a lot of confidence."

Affordable Access also has a CTE ZED26ES mounted on a conventional 7.5 t commercial vehicle chassis and a CTE ZED20E mounted on a six tonne Bremach four-by-four chassis. The latter is the only vehicle of its type in the UK and is designed to provide enhanced off-road capabilities.

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