Trailer mounted access platforms: Maria Hadlow looks at what the sector has to offer

By Maria Hadlow27 June 2011

The Snorkel TL series may be entry level machines but still offer safety and productivity features.

The Snorkel TL series may be entry level machines but still offer safety and productivity features.

With a number of lightweight, compact and easy to operate self propelled access platforms machines on the market is there still a role for trailer mounted machines? Maria Hadlow takes a look at what this sector has to offer.

In their most basic form trailer mounted platforms are easy to transport and simple to operate and remain very popular with a certain type of user.

Mike Northcott, associate product manager at Terex AWP, said, "Genie trailer mounted booms are popular among a variety of applications. They are used most often for tree limbing, building maintenance and residential construction. The popularity of these machines is due to their simple operation, easy-to-tow mobility and jobsite effectiveness.

"When compared to similar machines, Genie trailer mounted booms provide a more cost effective solution for reaching jobs both high and low. Unlike spider booms, trailer mounted booms do not require a separate trailer for transport making it easier for the end user and further lowering the total cost of ownership for the rental company. Available hybrid power supplies also reduce operating costs and offer both indoor and outdoor working capabilities."

Amancio Lebrero, sales and marketing director and a co-owner of Matilsa agreed, "In my opinion the trailer machine is a sold nowadays, primarily because of the price and in secondly, because of the weight.

"Trailer mounted machines use less weight and, in some countries, there are [legal] difficulties in towing more than 1500 kg with standard driving licence."

Mr Lebrero definitely touched on the important issue of different road laws applying in different countries. Something that is particularly marked across European and that Finnish manufacturer Dinolift has been actively addressing.

Managing director Karin Nars said, "In 2011 Dinolift has finalised a project on EU type approval for road traffic which means that all Dinos can easily be approved for road-traffic in all European countries without separate local approval of the authorities in every country. Although local approval has already been made during several years, the new EU type approval means less work in the registration process and also that some structures have been standardised all over Europe, one of the most visible part being the rear light panel."

Trailers are traditionally entry level machines and Matilsa's recently launched Parma 7 is aimed at the "good proportion of people using platforms for low height work," said Mr Lebrero.

The Parma 7 has a 7.3 m maximum working height and is mounted on a lightweight trailer. The unit is just 0.8 m wide and weighs 450 kg, making it easy to tow throughout Europe. Mr Lebrero said that the light weight is particularly important for towing in Spain and Portugal where it is not common to tow trailers weighing more than 1200 kg.

The first version of the Parma 7 comes with manual outriggers, but electro-hydraulic outriggers will be available soon.

Richard Tindale marketing director of Snorkel agreed about the attraction of trailers, "Trailers are typically entry-level products for first time users of access platforms, so our view is that they should be as simple, durable and robust as possible," he said.

"Live, proportional hydraulic controls means pretty much any mechanic with a spanner can service or repair them, while the all-steel boom and chassis ensures that the Snorkel TL series are extremely durable in tough environments.

"With live hydraulic controls the machines are easy and low cost to maintain, while simple to operate. Swing-out trays give fast access to the batteries, engine, fuel tank and running gear, ensuring routine service and maintenance is simple and efficient."

Simple to use and easy to tow is important but trailer mounted machines are not being left behind their more "sophisticated" when it comes to additional features to make them safer, quicker and easier to set up, more green and more productive.

Jeff Ford global product director at JLG points out some of the productivity features available on the JLG trailer range. "Standard air and water lines to the platform for an integrated solution and an accessory mounting tray, which accepts a variety of washers and generators so rental companies and end-users can integrate their existing equipment for use in the platform." JLG also believes it is important to provide a rigid boom design to give the user confidence and controls that can be operated with one hand.

The DINO range of aerial work platforms consists of seventeen trailer-mounted types, covering working heights from 9.5 to 26 m and three self-propelled models (20.5, 24 and 26.5 m) which can be driven around once on site.

The booms of the DINOs are based on telescopic or articulating telescopic boom structures.

All the DINOs feature continuous boom rotation and hydraulic outriggers. Basket rotation is standard in all models, and the baskets are equipped with two power outlets.

The machines are powered by electricity, and are also available with either petrol or diesel aggregate. The self-propelled units use a diesel engine as the power source and the boom can be operated with AC-power as an option. Environmental aspects are taken into account and all DINOs run with environmentally aware lubricant (Mobil EAL32) as standard.

New models include the Dino 120TN which is particularly narrow - 88 cm wide.The axle can be moved to narrow position hydraulically by pushing a button - the lift changes into narrow mode automatically. The outriggers can be easily turned alongside the chassis after releasing the locking by a handle.

Dino also has a range of battery powered trailers the DINO TB- and XTB -models can be used wherever mains power is not available. The machine tolerates a wide variation of mains voltage and it can be operated even when charging the batteries. The batteries do not compromise the lightweight.

Matilsa's 15m working height Parma 15 trailer mounted machine has a huge range options and accessories, to help customers put together the package they want Matilsa has developed an on-line configurator http://www.matilsa.es/configurador/parma15t.swf. It is available in a number of languages and allows customers or potential customers to add the options they want before getting a pricing guide.

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