Gerken sells 100m Ruthmann lift to US rental company

By Lindsey Anderson27 January 2010

Steve Roth (right), president, and Darrell Shortes, vice president, of Abilene High Lift Aerial

Steve Roth (right), president, and Darrell Shortes, vice president, of Abilene High Lift Aerial

A new US aerial platform rental company, Abilene High Lift Aerial in Texas, is buying a second-hand Ruthmann TTS 1000 platform from German rental company Gerken. The 329 ft (100.4 m) working height unit will be used primarily for wind turbine construction and maintenance work.

The eight year old machine is the first +100 m (328 ft) working platform to be sold in the US and believed to be one of the first Ruthmann machines ever sold in North America. The order follows the acquisition last year by fellow Abilene company, TGM Wind Services, of two new 90 m (295 ft) Bronto Skylift S90HLA units, also for wind energy applications.

The TTS 1000, to be delivered in the summer, comprises the Ruthmann GmbH & Co platform and trailer and mounted on a special Mack Granite series truck built by Mack Trucks Inc and supplied to Abilene High Lift by TransEdge Truck Centers.

The original machine ordered by Gerken used a Mercedes truck, but Abilene High Lift has chsen to replace that with the Mack unit. Ruthmann, although not directly involved in the sale of the machine, will be involved in checking the engineering of the new Mack/lift combination.

The founders of Abilene High Lift Aerial are Steve Roth, president, and Darrell Shortes, vice president. Roth previous worked as the corporate construction administrator for an energy service company and Shortes is the president of Raydon Construction, Inc., in Breckenridge, TX. Raydon will provide operators that are trained by Ruthmann and IPAF-certified.

"We started the company to meet the requirements of wind turbine service companies, as well as construction companies, utilities and others needing high overhead access with outstanding safety," Roth said. "Before purchasing...we thoroughly researched alternatives and decided on the Steiger TTS 1000 becaues of its safety, height and reach capabilities. Not only does it have 328 ft [100 m] working height, it also has a 131 ft [40 m] horizontal reach and 1102 lb [500 kg] platform capacity."

Roth and Shortes traveled to Europe to preview chassis-mounted machines and noted the conventional tractor and trailer method used by Ruthmann made maneuverability easier. The pair also interviewed service company technicians on a wind farm near Magdeburg, Germany, about wind while working and came to the conclusion that the TTS 1000 provided the best stability, comfort and security for operators.

The company worked with engineers from Ruthmann and Mack to design a 2011 EPA-compliant Mack GU/Granite 6x6 tractor that is compatible with the semi-trailer design of the Steiger TTS 1000.

Abilene High Lift Aerial noticed the trend of wind farms developing in the immediate area and aims to provide services to wind energy maintenance and related companies. "Our goal is to introduce to the North American industry a safer means of accessing high reach location," the company said. "We believe safer and faster methods will ultimately lower cost to the end customer on the regular basis."

The company will provide the unit to customers with operators who have Powered Access License (PAL) cards issued by IPAF. The company's lifting services include: inspections for high reach access, wind turbine blade repair, wind turbine uptower access, crane rigging assistance, mobile and radio tower access, television and movie angle applications as well as various other high-reach access.

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