At the sharp end

By Maria Hadlow01 May 2008

A JLG E300AJL at Chicago's O'Hare airport proving that boom lifts are sometimes the best option

A JLG E300AJL at Chicago's O'Hare airport proving that boom lifts are sometimes the best option

The percentage of

access equipment that

ends up in industrial

applications is on the increase. "More

and more companies invest in their own

machines to ensure operational availability,"

says Manfred Rothlehner, managing director

of Rothlehner Arbeitsbuhnen GmbH, the

German distributor of German manufacturer

PB Lifttechnik and Danish Worldlift

Industries aerial platforms. "Th is is most

important for effi ciency of production."

Following on from the fi rst tentative

steps with mobile scaff old towers, now

almost every type of access equipment is

being adopted in industrial environments.

Whichever confi guration you choose the

criteria for choice are likely to be very


"Working-height and dimensions are

the most important issues for industry

applications, combined with outreach and

up-and over adaptation," says Mr Rothlehner.

"Inside production areas space is rare,

so demand for special narrow machines

is increasing. In many cases disposable

positioning area is not more than 1.2 m

wide or even less. We often fi nd this

request in high bay warehouses."

Pipework, wiring and

ducting all create obstacles in

an industrial environment, so

size and manouevrability are

particularly important, as is noise,

pollution and battery duty cycles.

Th e simplest solution is a scaff old

tower and there are some

innovative designs on the market.

Birchwood Products, which makes

the UGo Access Razor Deck, is launching a

taller version, the Razor Deck 360, offi cially

available in May 2008. According to Adam

Luckhurst, national access manager, the new

platform will provide a 6 m working height

but can easily be put up by one man with

minimal training. Th e platform folds to a

height of 1.2 m and is easily transported in a

van or on a trailer. Th e one-piece design is said

to ensure they can never be wrongly erected.

Pop Up Products' 3.36 m working height,

push-around scissor lift also requires minimal

training and no IPAF card to operate, says

the company. In the two years since its launch

Pop Up Products has sold 3000 units and has

dealers in France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark

and the Baltics and is negotiating in the

Netherlands and Spain.

Th e success of the Pop Up in Europe has

inspired the company to take the scissors to

the US, "We want to see if we can recreate

there what we have done here." says Paul

Gallacher, sales director. Pop Up introduced

itself to the US at the American Rental

Association's Rental Show in mid-February

and Mr Gallacher is clearly excited at the

prospect. "We want to fi nd out if there's a

market for the little scissors in the US," he

says, "and hopefully we'll get some rental

companies interested."

Th e Pop Up+ scissor, which off ers a higher

working height of 4.63 m, was launched in the

Spring of 2007, full delivery began in January

2008. Mr Gallacher thinks that the Pop Up+

will interest the maintenance industry and

those working in the construction fi nishing

trades. Th ere have been 275 orders placed

for the Pop Up+ and currently 75 are in the

market. >

Powered access entry

Another UK product, the Power Tower,

produced by CTE UK - the UK arm of

Italian company CTE - is an ‘entry' product

for powered access currently only available in

the UK (see box story). Th e lifting mechanism

is described as a sigma boom - because of

its shape - and the machine is designed for

working on internal, fl at surfaces. Th e Power

Tower does not require outriggers or stabilizers,

and at its lowest position the machine has

dimensions of 1.5 m by 0.78 m by 1.92 m, so

it can pass through a standard sized doorway

and fi t into most passenger lifts. Th e battery

is designed to give 120 cycles from a single


Planet Platforms, a UK dealer for the Power

Tower, traditionally sells to end-users. At the

recent UK Executive Hire Show the company

showed the TP9000, a trailer mounted scissor

from PLE in the US, to which Planet has

added auto leveling outriggers. Planet has

found that in the UK, the Working at Height

regulations have changed everything, and the

size and scale of warehouses and distribution

centres makes powered access an ideal solution.

Th e fl exibility and easy manouvrability of

the mast lift has made it popular in industrial

applications. Ms Kim Williams, product

manager at Genie industries, says of its push

around AWP and IWP ranges of working

platforms, "Th ese personnel lifts are primarily

used for maintenance and some light duty

construction in schools, churches, hospitals,

theatres and businesses." Th e GR-12,15 and 20

Runabout self propelled personnel lifts have a

wider application in warehousing, stockpicking,

transporting, inventory management, as well as

general maintenance and construction.

Bill Dovey, JLG's product champion scissors,

says, "Th e end user industrial market has been

increasing for quite a while. For some time

self propelled masts and scissors have been an

accepted tool in maintenance and it's a growing

market." Th at JLG began manufacturing its

1230ES mast lifts in Bedford, Pennsylvania at

the beginning of the year to complement the

manufacturing already in Tonneins, France,

is evidence of the growing demand for this

type of product. "Th ey [the US manufactured

machines] are primarily for the North

American market," he says, "they have been

well received and we've had a lot of positive


Haulotte, meanwhile, has launched its

Quick-Up push around vertical mast lifts into

the US market to join the self propelled Star

mast lifts. In 2008 the company expects the

Quick-Up range to provide the highest volume

of sales, believing its lightweight, compact and

versatile design will appeal most to the North

American market.

Articulated booms, too

Scissors and mast lifts may be the powered

access products that one associates with

industrial, end user applications - mast lifts

providing optimum manouevrability and

scissors a more stable working platform, but

in some environments the most appropriate

machine might be a compact articulated boom.

At Chicago's O'Hare International Airport

battery-powered scissors were a common sight,

but when it was necessary to carry out electrical

repairs and maintenance over ticket counters

stairwells and escalators, airport maintenance

contractors found that JLG's E300AJL

articulated booms proved to be the perfect

solution. A 9.1 m platform height, an up-andover

height of 4 m and a horizontal outreach

of 6.2 m together with a boom design that

provides 180° of motion provided the versatility that the airport required.

Manfred Rothlehner of Rothlehner

Arbeitsbuhnen says that when selling to

industrial end users, "Th ere is more eff ort in

fi nding the right machine, the right special

equipment and the right job profi le. In many

cases you have to test the machine on site to

fi nd the right solution...Th e introduction

of new platform models over the last years,

especially for industrial applications, off ers new

possibilities for our sales strategy. Th e complete

range of very narrow but high rising scissor

platforms up to 22 m and small and agile self

propelled units is available. Special narrow machines like the Denka-Lift DL Narrow or

Falcon-Spider are also sold increasingly."

Some companies specialise in products for

specifi c industrial applications: US company

Lift-a-Loft has a range of self propelled, air

powered lifts designed for use in areas where

electrical or internal combustion equipment is

not permitted. Another specialist US company

is MLE (see box story) which has machines

going into applications from powder metal coating facilities to clean rooms.

As an end user the requirements you have

for your access equipment will probably be job

specifi c, in contrast to the rental companies

who prefer fl exible equipment. In common

with the rental companies, you will want good

service and support. ■

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