Road weight

10 April 2008

The 14.9 m working height Mini15 EBZ from Omme is at the top of its three-model Mini series.

The 14.9 m working height Mini15 EBZ from Omme is at the top of its three-model Mini series.

One of the attractions of trailer mounts is the ease with which they can be moved about. Hence, laws that impose driver's license and other requirements have a big impact on their use. For example, The Netherlands requires a special license for trailers above 750 kg in weight, a restriction that definitely affects their rental prospects (see box story)

In response, European manufacturers have been squeezing as much access capability into lightweight units as they can. Denmark's Omme, which established its Mini-lift series with 10 and 12 m working height models, has topped out the range with a 14.9 m working height Mini 15 EBZ.

Launched at Bauma in April, the 1500 kg machine offers a maximum outreach of 8.6 m and up-and-over capacity of 4.9 m. Its self-drive capability, 6 m transport length, and width of 1.05 m with axle retracted contribute to its transportability.

Finland's Dinolift has been designing to reduce road weight, too. Its 12 m working height 120T, also launched at Bauma, weighs 1275 kg. The machine offers 7.9 m of maximum outreach and a payload of 120 kg in the circular-shaped, aluminium basket. The 120T, which has a transport length of 5.52 m, replaces both Dinolift's 105 and 125 models.

Small Gepard

The latest offering from Teupen, known for its high-end crawlers and trailer-mounts, also reflects an effort to reduce road weight. The 15 m working height, 1540 kg Gepard 15 GT, launched at Bauma, offers 6.5 m of outreach and is 4.8 m long for transport.

Teupen told AI it will expand the working height of the design to 18 m by adding a telescoping section to its lower boom. The resulting new model, available in the Spring, will have basically the same transport characteristics.

Across the Atlantic in Ohio, US, Bil-Jax has continued its expansion of the Summit series, returning to the telescopic boom design of the 3622T that introduced the range in June 2005. It launched the 10.1 m working height 2622T in the Spring of this year - its 60th anniversary.

The 1230 kg 2622 T offers 6.7 m of maximum outreach and 200 kg of basket capacity. It is available with a retractable axle system and optional platform rotation, and its tail swings totally within its outrigger footprint.

The 2622T brings the series to five models: three articulated and two telescopic. Bil-Jax says all are now internationally certified and available in Europe, Australia, and Canada.

Range adjustment

Tanfield Group in the UK is adjusting its trailer-mount range since acquiring UpRight Powered Access in August. The company already had several trailers in its Aerial Access range, and now offers the Aerial Access K13 and K17T models as the Upright TL37 and TL49K and no longer sells the UpRight TL38 and TL50 electric models. “The former Aerial models were considered more robust, and crucially, much easier to maintain in the field,” says Richard Tindale, sales and marketing director for Upright.

UpRight sees the TL37 and TL49K as entry-level machines in the US, suitable for distribution through manufacturer representatives to exploit the opportunity offered by “mom and pop”-type rental outlets. It will begin making the two models at its Fresno, California factory before the end of 2007.

The company plans to give the TL37 a friction drive similar to the TL49K's. Other engineering work will update the Aerial E12 design to become the UpRight TL34. The low-cost, articulated model will weigh about 1200 kg and have an outrigger footprint of 2.8 by 2.8 m, says the company.

Elsewhere, the world's two biggest access equipment manufacturers have not updated their trailer-mount ranges. Genie's latest offering remains the 16.9 m working height TZ-50, released in 2004.

JLG's efforts to modify its Tow Pro line, launched in the US in 2005, so that each of their two trailers comply in one design with road laws in all major European market are still “under review”, according to Ron Jackson, product manager. That status reflects the need to prioritise engineering resources, not the attractiveness of the European trailer market, he says.

Likewise, the latest offering from Niftylift – which has been very busy developing its self-propelled range of machines – remains the relatively light weight 1300 kg, 14.7 m working height 150T, launched in 2005.

If road regulations are already having a big impact on what trailer mounts you can buy and where you can buy them, you can expect more changes in the coming years. Arjen Snijder, a sales representative with Teupen, tells AI that new European regulations will dictate that any combination of trailer and towing vehicle weighing over 3.5 t will require a specialised license. More importantly, according to Teupen, trailers will not be allowed to weigh more than the towing vehicle. Mr Snijder says these regulations are coming to protect transportation companies in Western Europe. Regardless, trailer-mount manufacturers will have to react, which means yet more ingenuity will be required.

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