ICUEE Show preview: ALH reports

Expect to see a wide range of new utility aerial lifts – including new hybrid power units – at the 2007 ICUEE show. ALH reports on the Louisville exhibition.

If you are at all interested in the North American utility sector, then you need to be in Louisville, Kentucky, in mid-October for the massive ICUEE show. If you are a rental company, then you will be brushing shoulders with thousands of (potential) utility company customers, and if you are already working in the utilities sector, then the show gives a snapshot of the major trends in utility aerial devices and more.

And there are some definite trends. For example, both Bronto Skylift and Terex Utilities will have high reach utility aerials on their booths, indicating the healthy levels of investment currently going into US power transmission network.

Another key trend is the use of hybrid power technologies for utility lifts. The importance of this technology is highlighted by the fact that Terex Utilities will have no less than three hybrid-powered utility lifts on its stand. Two of these will be “conventional” hybrid models on Peterbilt and International trucks – these use either the braking power of the truck or its diesel engine to charge a battery that can then help to reduce engine running costs.

The third hybrid, however, is the new “plug-in” version, built by Dueco, a Terex Utilities dealer and one of its final stage manufacturers, based in Wisconsin. Dueco Vice President Joe Dalum says the proprietary hybrid technology, called PHEV (plug in electric vehicle) – which has been developed by Odyne Corp. in Hauppauge, New York – allows charging of the system's high-capacity batteries from a mains supply while at the depot as well as from the truck's generator while on the road.

The vehicle has a Terex Utilities 55 foot working height, TL50M material handling bucket with 400 pounds of capacity and 36 feet of lateral reach on a medium-duty chassis from truck manufacturer International. GVW will be less than 33,000 pounds, making it exempt from US excise tax.

Utility equipment rental companies are understandably showing an interest in this kind of technology, and the Utility Equipment Leasing Corp (UELC) – one of the largest utility lift renters in North America – says it will have a hybrid plug-in model at ICUEE.

The largest of the three Terex hybrids will be the HRX-55 overcenter material handling aerial device mounted on a Peterbilt model 335, medium-duty truck. The company says the boom is one of the larger aerial devices to be mounted on a hybrid chassis. “The vast majority of aerial devices on hybrids were designed for the ‘trouble truck’ segment, but it actually makes more sense for line maintenance and construction units, due to the time used at the work site and the amount of driving to get there,” says Terry VanConant, manager, marketing and sales support for Terex Utilities.

However, there will be plenty more that's new in Louisville, including machines from big-name suppliers including Time Manufacturing

Altec Industries and Elliot Equipment, and the “relaunch” of Aichi USA's utility lift business in North America.

If hybrids are about increasing efficiencies and reducing operating costs, there are other trends that will be evident at ICUEE this year.

“One trend in the industry is toward a younger workforce, who are adept with joysticks from their video game experiences. Consequently, Terex is pushing better adoption of joy-stick controls,” says Terex Utilities' Terry VanConant.

For example, users will find joystick controls on the company's 167 feet working height TM-167, introduced at the last ICUEE and using an Italian-made Bizzocchi boom supplied by CTE. The model's recently enhanced control system automatically levels the 1,000 pound capacity, 180º rotating platform, and video screens display system status at the machine's two control stations. Other enhancements “…make work easier and safer, both for operator and the equipment, more fail safe,” says VanConant.

Manitex will display its SC97 SkyCrane, with a maximum working height of 97 feet, equipped with jib winch at 600 pound capacity. The crane is a combination of a man lift and lift crane and its capacity is 6,000 pounds. Other key accessories are weld leads with 110 volt power routed to the work platform for use in repair and maintenance of signs. This particular product is sold by Las Vegas based INQUIPCO to one of its key customers Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO), a sign manufacturing, construction, installation, service and maintenance company in the US.

“ICUEE is our number two show next to ConExpo; it's a very important show to Manitex,” says Randy Robertson, director of sales and marketing with the company. “We get to meet a lot of our existing customer base that are utility contractors, as well as an opportunity to meet new prospective distributors and end-users.”

The company will display nine pieces of equipment, including its new 596S truck mounted crane and its 17 ton machine that will be displayed in the Ford booth. Robertson says its new 30 ton S Series Truck Mounted Crane will be introduced at the show.

Bronto Skylift says the control system of its S-170 XDT – getting its US launch at ICUEE – is key to effectively and safely reaching 170 feet of platform height and of an outreach of 115 feet, the farthest available in North America, says the

Finnish company. The system “…takes the idiot out of the operator. It allows us to remove a lot of the boom overbuild [to ensure structural performance] that a lot of US manufacturers have to use,” says Steve Starling, Bronto's sales manager in North America.

Bronto's system, called +3, monitors basket load and position in relation to outrigger settings to automatically keep the basket within safe limits. The machine has a 1,400 pound maximum payload.

Making it easier to cross the great distances necessary to access transmission lines is the 8x6 International chassis of the S-170 XDT. The vehicle weighs about 58,000 pounds and is road legal in all states, and the platform boom folds next to the main boom for a 13 feet transport height. Transport length is 39 feet.

Controls also feature in products from Altec Industries at the show. Its new, insulated, articulated boom aerial device range – TA50, TA55, and TA60 – have four-function, single-handle controls, which also feature the company's ISO-Grip control system. These machines also have an ARM material handling jib.

The company will also exhibit its new AA55E, an insulated 55 foot working height, non-overcenter aerial device with material handling capability. This model has a maximum lateral outreach of 43 feet.

Other utility lift specialists are also using ICUEE to launch new products. Canada's Posi-Plus Technologies will exhibit a new insulated access platform that features an “over center design and an 83 foot aerial device with double bed lift elevator to allow access to the ground and working position behind poles. It is available in single, dual, or two-man platform versions with a full material handling system.”

Lift-All says new products now give it “…a full line, from 10 foot single to 35 foot double elevators, available for personnel lifts and material handlers, providing increased reach without increasing the chassis length.”

Re-launching itself in the North American utility market, meanwhile, is Aichi USA, which is no longer working with Baker Equipment (with whom it previously had a joint venture). The company will show its truck-mounted INH30A and the INU38A platforms, and Elliott Equipment will have a 30 ton capacity, track-mounted boom truck.

On the small utility vehicle side of the business, Equipment Technology Inc. is launching a new, 3,000 to 6,000 pound lift capacity crane line, and it will exhibit a new battery replacement truck for use by cable companies, as well.

Utility lift buyers will also see some interesting attachments or ancillary products at ICUEE. For example, Diversified Product Development will show its new SLL-60 Static Line Lifter. The company explains how it works; “The SLL-60 supports the static line with the same crane being used to hold multiple energized conductors. This frees up bucket trucks or other equipment previously dedicated to holding the static line, thereby allowing linemen to make use of the equipment to perform other functions. The SLL-60 also maintains the static line's relative position above and ahead of the conductors.” The SLL-60 has a 1,000 pound lift capacity, is 5 feet long and tested to 13.5 kV.

Get ready for the show, as attendees will have a lot to see. And watch for the new “drive and ride” area, which will provide lots to do.

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