By Patrick Hill20 November 2008
Several manufacturers and dealers at the recent Scaffold Industry Association (SIA) convention and exposition in Denver, Colorado, were forecasting a rapid growth in sales of transport platforms in North America.
The transport platform is a low-speed, high capacity platform used to transport personnel and materials, typically on projects with between six and 10 storeys.
Around 4500 transport platforms are in service around the world, but North America is under represented with only around 250 units, said Paula Manning, business development manager at Alimak Hek Inc in Houston, Texas.
"I think we're on the cusp of it tipping over and really exploding", said Ms Manning. "It's been eight solid years of pioneering - and not just by Alimak Hek."
Ms Manning said the platforms plugged a gap between traditional (and more expensive) construction hoists at the top end and rope and pulley and telehandler equipment at the other. They also avoid the unsafe use of materials-only hoists for lifting people.
Mike Pitt, a founder of Atlanta-based Mastclimbers Inc, the used equipment, rental and training company, said the increased interest in transport platforms was market driven, partly by cost. "Transport platforms rent for 60-70% of the rental rate of a construction hoist, but labor costs for installation are 50% or even less, and the capital cost can be less than 50%", said Mr Pitt.