ReachMaster adds lithium-powered Bluelifts to fleet
By Lindsey Anderson08 February 2013
ReachMaster is introducing track-mounted compact aerial work platforms that offer lithium hybrid power for all its Bluelift models ranging from 39- to 72-foot working heights. The lithium system can be transferred from one unit to another and offers an energy-saving system that modulates the RPM of the electric motor, saving up to 20 percent battery power. The lifts also have a management system that automatically selects between lithium and combustion engine.
The lithium solutions from Bluelift are available both as lithium-only units, as well as true hybrid units, where the lift can draw power from either the battery system or the combustion engine.
Although lithium-powered compact lifts are not new, the ability to combine lithium batteries and a combustion engine on the same unit is "ground braeking," according to Ebbe Christensen, president of ReachMaster, Inc. “We’ve been involved in pioneering lithium solutions before, and the challenge has always remained to make a system that is compact enough to fit even the smallest units and still leave space for an outdoor combustion engine and thereby making it a true hybrid,” he said.
According to Christensen, a problem for all compact track-based lifts has been the electric motor's design for 220V direct supply. When this is converted to run on 110V, the result was slower speed, as well as frequently exceeding the power supply in U.S. buildings. This could result in circuit breakers frequently popping as many buildings don't offer 220V.
“Add to that,” he said, “both the inconvenience and the danger of having an extension cord permanently attached to the unit while you drive it inside a building, and it is easy to see why battery power is by far the desirable solution.”
“Taking the lithium battery technology to new limits means thinking outside the box, and that’s exactly what Bluelift has done. The new system is smaller than anything else we’ve seen, yet offering more power, and the ability to transfer it from unit to unit makes it possible for fleet owners to share one system between several machines,” he said. “The new patent-pending power management system is also going to help customers get the maximum out of the units.”