Rising fast

24 April 2008

Sixty–five Scanclimber mast climbers, rented by Sunbelt Rentals to general contractor Welbro Buildin

Sixty–five Scanclimber mast climbers, rented by Sunbelt Rentals to general contractor Welbro Building Corp, are being used in the construction of the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel/convention centre in Orl

After reading the &US climbing?' article i n Access International, one would be forgiven for deciding to pack it all in and leave the US mast climbing market to its own, imminent, demise. Your article began, &First impressions are often the strongest', and then faithfully followed this tenet throughout, analysing one of the most importanmast climbing markets in the world without getting below periscope depth to examine the substance. Substance, which would indicate that:

• The current mast climbing world market is the largest in its history, and is growing at a pace.

• The US market is one of the most important, and has the potential to be the largest market of all

• Fourteen manufacturers (at the last count) are present in the US and Canada, and two of the largest mast climbing companies in the worldFraco and Hydro Mobile, manufacture produchere.

• Italian and Spanish manufacturers, so dominanin Europe, have recently established distribution in the US.

• Equipment prices are higher, hence manufacuturers' renewed interest. Returns are also higher, hence rental company interest in mast climbers is growing. Safety standards are climbing quickly, hence product acceptance is rising. New applications are presenting themselves continually.

• IPAF, through AWPT, and in conjunction with SIA (Scaffold Industry Association of America), is making major advances in the introduction of its mast climber training programmes, and ANSI 92.9, the design standard for mast climbing work platforms is near completion.

Most of the above is probably invisible to those who operate on the periphery of the mast climbing industry in the US, but those who are immersed in the opportunity are in a vibrant market, and have huge optimism for the future.

Mast climbing work platforms are still new to many in the US. The &entrepreneurial' phase of the product cycle is still prevalent, and, with the industry &knitting' together, and with the potential to shortly provide cohesive design and use standards, and comprehensive training packages, the playing field is quickly going to be level state by state.

As has been seen in Europe, post EN1495 (the 1998 harmonisation of standards), this facilitates product acceptance on a wide scale, increases awareness and opportunity, and encourages diversification of application.

I was tempted to leave the article unanswered, as it would surely discourage potential new market entrants, but I have responded because the future of the mast climbing industry is important to me and to the many people who are working hard to take the product forward.

Access International represents the access industry as a whole, and has done so with excellence for many years. It has tirelessly supported the efforts of the access industry and the desire to move forward with the industry. This article was atypical, and those working hard in the mast climbing work platform industry in the US deserved more.

There is an impetus and a verve within the US mast climber market and, should you want to reflect this, I can assure you that I am prepared to help in any way I can, as are many in the industry. Your article asks, &US climbing?' You betcha! AI

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