Rough terrain scissor lifts

23 July 2020

The need to go higher. That seems to be the theme surrounding RT scissor launches this year. From Skyjack’s 69-foot working height SJ9263 RT to Snorkel’s 76-foot working height S9070RT-HC, customers have spoken, and OEMs have delivered.

skyjack conexpo sj9263 RT

Skyjack’s SJ9263 RT at ConExpo.

At ConExpo earlier this year, Skyjack unveiled its highest reaching scissor lift to date, the SJ9263 RT. The last installment of Skyjack’s new range of full-size rough terrain scissor lifts, the SJ9263 RT, has a working height of 69 feet and increases opportunities for rental companies with its ability to make work at six stories possible.

“Similar to the approach we took with our DC scissor lifts, we looked at what changes were mandated by standards, both ANSI in North America and Stage V in Europe, and dug a bit deeper to see how we could develop a whole new class for our customers,” explains Corey Connolly, product manager at Skyjack. “Bringing a machine to the market with a working height of nearly 70 feet expands rental opportunities for our customers without them having to jump to a different product type or specialized class.”

The new rough terrain scissor lift is rated for four people and features a platform that spans 23 feet, 4 inches with a dual extension deck option. It also shares common features with the rest of the company’s full-size range, pairing peak performance with low maintenance, and fully accessible service components.

“Right now, market standards for full-size rough terrain scissors are the 30- to50-foot models we’ve offered for years,” says Barry Greenaway, senior product manager at Skyjack. “If a rental company is looking to take a step up from there the next best option in North America is a boom, and in Europe is the specialized 90- to 120-foot classes. We found a way to offer something that’s a step between the two options.”

Skyjack’s team ensured it took the time needed for additional testing and redesign prior to launch.

“We wanted to ensure this machine matches the rest of our product line in the sense that when it comes to market, it is a simple and reliable product,” Connolly continues. “The market was stuck between what’s always been offered, and niche products that come with higher acquisition costs, so we wanted to keep the design simple and at a price point that makes sense for our customers.”

The new models also feature an enhanced control system – maintaining Skyjack’s proven color coded and numbered wiring system, while further improving the ease of troubleshooting and integration with its Elevate telematics solution.

“A key improvement to this range is Skyjack’s Smartorque technology, which provides the machines with excellent torque and hydraulic performance, but with less engine horsepower,” says Malcolm Early, vice president of marketing at Skyjack. “This system has been used on our TH series since 2015 and the fact that it doesn’t require diesel particulate filter (DEF), diesel exhaust (DEF) and no other active exhaust after treatment is extremely beneficial to rental companies.”

Get lifted


Snorkel’s tallest scissor lift, the S9070RT-HC.

Topping out at a working height of 76 feet, Snorkel’s new S9070RT-HC is the largest ultra-capacity rough terrain scissor lift in North America. Featuring a twin extension deck as standard, it combines a large platform working area with an extra-wide pallet gate and high lifting capacity for increased productivity on the job.

The company says the S9070RT-HC was made to lift more materials while reducing the number of times the lift has to be lowered and raised.

The platform has dual-powered extension decks and four hydraulic stabilizers with automatic leveling. It features 50 percent gradeability and is powered by a Kubota diesel engine which is side-mounted on a swing-out tray for ease of maintenance. The unit’s 36-inch, foam-filled tires come standard.

Weighing 25,500 pounds, the S9070RT-HC is made of high-strength steel for durability and users will find the same drive system as on Snorkel’s mid-sized telescopic booms.’

The S9070RT-HC is one of four new high-capacity scissors from Snorkel. The other models are the S9031RT-HC, S9043RT-HC and S9056RT-HC.

A new generation

JLG debuted new rough-terrain (RT) and electric rough-terrain (ERT) scissor lifts. The new family of scissors is 69-inches wide, and come in 26-, 33-, 40- and 47-foot platform heights. All models are available with a diesel engine or battery power source and electric drive.

The new, battery powered ERT4769, is the tallest scissor in its size class, the company says. It was shown for the first time at ConExpo earlier this year alongside its diesel-powered sibling, the RT2669.

JLG says its rough terrain scissors now feature “an industry leading platform size for comfortable operation and ample room to bring tools and materials to the work area.” The 47-foot platform height on the RT4769 and ERT4769 provide up to a 5-story work height, a feature that is becoming more and more important as open space continues to diminish, and buildings get narrower and taller.

jlg ert

JLG’s new ERT scissor.

“Our new line of rough-terrain scissors was purpose-built with a focus on minimizing the job site pain points of our customers,” says Rafael Nuñez, senior product manager, scissor and vertical lifts, JLG. “The new ANSI 92.20 requirements necessitated changes to our existing rough terrain models. Instead of simply making these changes, we engaged with customers around the world to better understand their needs, then looked at market trends such as urbanization before deciding that a from-the-ground-up approach was required.”

All models within the new RT/ERT line come with several productivity-enhancing features as standard equipment. Both indoor and outdoor drive at height capabilities are particularly useful for warehouse construction, which requires installation of utilities at a fixed height across the length of a building.

LiftSense, an evolution of JLG variable tilt, monitors both the weight in the platform and the machine’s tilt to determine the allowable work envelope. This new and industry-first feature notifies the operator prior to raising the machine how high they can elevate, removing the guesswork that often results in having to descend and try again.

QuikLevel Advanced allows the stowed scissor to level on a side slope up to 5 degrees with driving at full height allowed under certain conditions. “This is especially beneficial when performing work at height along the outside of a building that has been graded for drainage at a consistent slope,” JLG says. “A significant time savings is realized when compared to traditional leveling jacks which require manual adjustment.”

“JLG’s commitment to providing unique and valuable solutions to its customers is evident in the thoughtful attention to detail found across the new rough terrain scissor line,” adds Nuñez. “By offering game changing productivity features, we deliver tangible time-saving benefits that drive bottom line results.”

JLG also offers unique features on the line, including the industry’s first LCD platform control box. The intuitive display delivers a multitude of productivity, terrain, machine health and safety notifications to the operator during use.


To reduce confusion in the marketplace, as well as to increase productivity, Genie responded to standards requirements by designing and manufacturing scissor lifts for safe use in indoors and outdoors.

“Changes to the North American standards will impact all types of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) that Genie manufactures,” says Mike Flanagan, Genie product manager, Terex AWP. “The updated ANSI A92 and CSA B354 standards are based on an ISO standard, driving global standards commonality with European (EN 280) and other international standards.


Genie scissor lifts.

“Taking advantage of the North American MEWP standards changes, we had the opportunity to harmonize the Genie GS scissor lift family worldwide, offering a more consistent, productive machine that’s simple to use and intuitive to operate, as well as has the flexibility and versatility to be used in a variety of indoor and outdoor applications. Responding to feedback from customers around the world, the Genie scissor lift line now boasts the benefits of new commonalities in design, features, options and accessories across the full range, which simplifies the rental process and increases rental opportunities.”

Customer needs

GMG introduced a range of new products at ConExpo, including the 3346 ED scissor with outriggers. The company says it discovered people need levelling from a mid-range RT scissor. The plan was to bring an RT and slab scissor together, which offers 10-degree levelling side-to-side and 5 degrees back and front. The point being its half the price of an RT and it can be used inside as a regular slab scissor or outside, or on even or uneven ground.

“It means customers can buy the machine for less but get the same sale which they used to lose money on,” says Jim Tolle, CEO at GMG.

Rental response

With new RT scissors adhering to the ANSI A92.20 design standard, end-users could face drastic changes when operating the machines. Rental companies have been preparing – and educating – not only customers but staff, as well.

ABLE Equipment Rental says it has actively been speaking with customers and its own employees for over the last year, spending time addressing what changes will occur.

“The biggest hurdle I see with the new RT Scissor design requirement is that the machine must be level in order to raise the platform,” says Dave Mansbart, product specialist and lead trainer at ABLE. “We have always ordered RT scissors with the hydraulic levelers. A lot of other companies choose not to in order to save money on the equipment cost.”

Mansbart says outside sales reps must be able to address customers’ needs to provide the correct type of equipment. “Our counter people will need to know how to explain the differences between types of equipment.”

Both customers and service personnel must also be educated and up-to-speed on how to manage a mixed fleet of RT scissors. Jeff Stachowiak, national safety training director at Sunbelt Rentals, says Sunbelt has used webinars, handouts and jobsite education to prepare customers and staff.

“Load sensing and out-of-level drive cutout when elevated will certainly change the way operators work with these new MEWPs,” Stachowiak says. “Unlevel terrain will force operators to lower the lift to a safe travel level then drive. Load sense will obviously show how often these MEWPs are being overloaded.

“With these large decks, it is easy to overload them with people and materials,” he cautions. “Each job trailer needs to buy a $12 bathroom scale for their job trailers and identify the weight of a fully dressed worker before they get on these new A92.20 MEWPs.”

When asked if contractors or customers will request ANSI A92.20 design-compliant-only RTs for their jobs, Stachowiak says it’s a possibility, but that there’s a great misunderstanding happening with safety and equipment procurement folk.

“They think these A92.20 MEWPs will be available right now,” he explains. “With the life of a MEWP in anyone’s rental fleet at 8-10 years, we will only see 10 percent of our fleet flip to new A92.20 designs each year. While a customer can ask for A92.20 MEWPs they likely will not get one.”

Mansbart agrees.

“Some customers are asking for them now,” he says. “However, they need to understand that it will take time to fleet-up with the current ANSI-designed machines.

“I don’t see there being a huge rush to get all old machines replaced. Has Covid-19 delayed this? I’m sure it has, but not sure to what degree. Only time will tell.”

While there have been many discussions about the new standards – from appeals, delays and general uncertainty – most of the discussion has been on issues not related to the technical detail of the new standards. One of the significant differences between A92.5/A92.6 and A92.20 standards is the manner in which the effects of wind ratings are applied.

Wind loads were not explicitly considered in the A92.5 and A92.6 standards. Wind ratings were typically applied based on other the machines being dual-certified to CSA standards (CSA B354.4 and B354.2 standards), which did take wind loading into account for the machine design. Wind load considerations in the A92.20 standard are generally more stringent than the previous requirements from CSA B354.4 or B354.2.

Skyjack says, “Within the industry we have often talked in terms of indoor and outdoor ratings. While the A92 standards make use of the terms ‘indoor use’ and ‘outdoor use, the definitions do not refer to a physical location, but rather whether the MEWP is used in an area or environment that is exposed to wind.”

The core issue, the company explains, is that wind can cause issues in partially completed and enclosed buildings, just as it can in the open air.

“Think of the stages of construction maintenance where wind can cause issues through open apertures in structures,” it adds. “To talk of ‘indoor’ can easily be seen as misleading. The situation worsens if one thinks of quite often exaggerated effects of wind tunnel, vortices and other similar phenomena.”

Customers need to be trained on the correct use of the machine (under A92.24 and A92.22 the training and safe use requirements are much more comprehensive) and rental companies need to consider the liability issues if a machine is used incorrectly, e.g. if a no-wind rated machine is used where there is wind.

Stay informed

Almost every manufacturer and major rental company offers tips and guidelines to the new standards on their websites. Read up and prepare because changes are coming.

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