Industry Outlook: Boom lifts

Added safety and capacity in latest models

By Clair Urbain

Genie SX-135 XC

The Genie SX-135 XC boom lift delivers 660 pounds unrestricted and 1,000 pounds restricted platform capacity with a smooth range of motion envelope to lift heavy loads in the most challenging job site applications.

In the last 20 years, boom lifts have gone from being an interesting approach to working at heights to becoming the preferred go-to piece of equipment, providing workers greater access for a wide variety of jobs. 

The revisions outlined in the ANSI A92 standard are imminent and will affect how future mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) are designed and built. It also affects training and selection processes.

Leading boom lift manufacturers share how new models will meet these standards and offer enhanced features and benefits to rental houses and end users. They also share some ideas on how rental centers can best serve their customers in light of these new standards.

Sean Larin, Genie/Terex AWP

Trend to higher reach,
greater capacity
Sean Larin, Product Manager, Genie/Terex AWP

All across North America, job sites are covering more ground, reaching higher heights and lifting more material. Contractors are demanding boom lifts with greater capacities that can reach greater heights. Rental yards are also asking for ways to monitor their equipment to keep it up and running. 

To get jobs done quickly, multiple workers and plenty of material are often loaded into every boom basket. It’s not uncommon for workers to be welding and cutting at 180 feet in the air while many infrastructure jobs are using the long outreach and below-ground reach ability of modern booms to complete finishing work on over-water bridges. 

To meet the needs of larger jobsites and heavier platform loads, Genie introduced the new Xtra Capacity (XC) series of boom lifts. Genie launched eight new XC boom lifts ranging from a maximum vertical height of 45 feet up to 135 feet. Some models such as the Genie SX-135 XC boom are completely new products from Genie, while others, such as the Genie S-60 XC model replaces the previous Genie S-60 model.  

The Genie XC series are new-from-the-ground-up designs that include the Genie Z-45 XC, S-60 XC, S-65 XC, S-80 XC, S-85 XC, SX-105 XC, SX-125 XC and SX-135 XC models. 

Genie XC booms have a dual-envelope design that provides an unrestricted platform capacity of 660 pounds and a restricted capacity of 1,000 pounds. This reduces the number of lift cycles and amount of equipment needed to get tools and materials to aerial work sites.

These new booms feature smooth-edged operating envelope that eliminates saw-tooth operation common on earlier generations of boom lifts. Genie also updated its expanding axle system used on Genie SX-105 XC, SX-125 XC and SX-135 XC models. They are now equipped with the Genie mini XChassis system, a pivoting axle design that offers enhanced durability and serviceability over previous tube-in-tube axle systems.  

To help rental yards monitor the status of their boom lifts and maximize the equipment’s time spent working, Genie continues to provide telematics-ready connectors on all new boom lifts. This connector enables rental businesses to select the telematics device that best fits their needs.

Equipment rental centers will find the new ANSI A92 standards will provide an opportunity for them to partner more closely with their customers than ever before.  

One of the biggest impacts of the new standards is the introduction of load-sensing systems on booms. These systems will monitor the weight in the platform and stop all boom functions if the rated load is exceeded. Rental center sales professionals who understand the lifting capacities and dual operating envelopes of the new booms will be best positioned to recommend the right equipment for each job. Understanding the impact that the new standards will have on selecting the right equipment for each job will truly set some rental centers apart from the others. 

Haulotte high reach
The Haulotte HT85 boom lift offers 500 pounds unrestricted/770 pounds restricted lift capacity. The unit can reach as high as 78 feet 2 inches.
Paul Jensen, Haulotte

Safety first on customers’ minds
Paul Jensen, Haulotte U.S. Marketing Communications & Analytics Manager, Americas

We are seeing a strong shift in rental customers’ demands toward safety features. Many rental companies are specifically focused on machines that have anti-entrapment systems and lighting systems. Load sensing is also a point of interest for many rental companies, especially with the changes coming with the new ANSI regulations. 

Many manufacturers are focusing on safety and innovation, especially related to the impending ANSI A92 standard changes. The Haulotte Group has been launching products in line with the ANSI standards for some time. One major safety feature that has been launched is the anti-crushing device, the Activ’Shield Bar that reduces the risk of overhead crushing injuries.

Another feature that Haulotte recently introduced is the Activ’ lighting system. This lighting system incorporates several lights around the machine that illuminate the boom lift during the loading and unloading process.  

Manufacturers are also looking at how to design machines that are more environmentally friendly. Haulotte has recently introduced the Stop Emission System, which automatically shuts the engine down after 90 seconds of inactivity. This results in less noise on the job site and results in a 20 percent reduction in engine running time, which ultimately increases the residual machine value.

Most of the ANSI A92 changes will impact manufacturers, however, rental centers will also be impacted. Some of the main ANSI changes include mandatory operator/user training and updated maintenance records.  

The new changes will require the manufacturer to provide a means to note on the machine when the last inspection was performed and owners will be required to keep it up to date. Manufacturers will also be required to include a load-sensing feature in their design. This feature will prevent the machine from driving or lifting until the overload is removed. However, many booms will be configured for higher rated loads. Although there might be a cost associated with this, rental centers will be able to use it as a value-added feature. 

Rental centers will need to work with contractors to determine what their specific needs are for each job site. They will have to consider the type of terrain they will be driving on and load and outreach requirements. Safety standards will likely have to be met for various jobs, so rental centers will need to be conscientious of their fleet mix.

Bill Dovey, JLG Industries
The JLG 600S series boom lift offers 1,000 pounds restricted/600 pounds unrestricted lift capacity and a maximum reach of 59 feet 8 inches. Two units can fit on one truck without requiring an overweight load permit.

Boom lift design evolving
Bill Dovey, JLG Industries Inc. Senior Product Manager, Aerial Work Platforms

 Rental customers are demanding additional reach, up-and-over capability and the ability to position the platform independent of the main boom. Operators are also seeking faster lift speeds that allow them to spend more time working and less time positioning the machine.  

Another priority that’s important to rental companies is simplified serviceability, which can help keep machines on the job site longer for improved utilization rates. Ease of transport needs are shifting boom lift design toward models that fit on a standard flatbed trailer without requiring an oversized load permit.

Anticipated ANSI A92.20 changes include load sensing that will stop a machine’s normal functionality and sound an alarm when overloaded; hand-operated controls on the platform must be protected against sustained involuntary operation; more stringent wind force requirements resulting in outdoor machines with increased weight; and new stability testing requirements that will make foam-filled or solid tires necessary on most booms and rough-terrain scissor lifts.  

JLG MEWPs currently include SkyGuard, JLG’s enhanced control panel protection system as standard equipment on all booms and platform load-sensing systems where currently required.  

In addition to product changes, operator manuals must include a list of MEWP functions, features, operating characteristics, limitations and devices to be covered in operator familiarization. Each machine must have a dedicated space to mark the date of the last annual inspection. In addition, old and new machines should have an updated Manual of Responsibilities on board that includes all new definitions and required information, and technicians must be trained on updated marking procedures.  

According to the new standards, all training must be delivered by a qualified person who is experienced with that particular classification of MEWP. JLG offers a comprehensive range of training opportunities at its Training Center and Proving Grounds in McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania or at a customer-based field location.  

Operator training is still mandatory and will be extended to include others who will come in contact with a MEWP on the job site, including supervisors and occupants.

JLG is dedicated to helping customers comply with the anticipated changes. The web site, features information that will help with that. JLG will continue to monitor and closely engage with customers to understand their needs to deliver products that meet their requirements with a focus on high performance, durability, reliability, serviceability and low total cost of ownership.  

Steve Kiskunas, Manitou
Man-Go 33
The Manitou Man’Go 33 aerial work platform is a new concept in platforms, combining the benefits of articulated and telescopic platforms.

Healthy rental growth
Steve Kiskunas, Manitou product manager

Overall, the market remains very strong for MEWPs, due to strong levels of construction activity in all market segments. Manitou analysts expect this level of demand to remain strong over the next several years.  

Manitou officials continue to see growth im the rental market and Manitou will work to produce more machines focused on rental customer needs. For example, Manitou introduced a new diesel-powered MEWP, the Manitou Man’Go 33, which features design elements based on input directly from rental companies. This unit has the engine located inside the chassis that lowers the center of gravity to improve performance and reduce overall machine weight.  

Rental customers are also looking for machines that are easy to use and transport, so this means machines must be compact without losing functionality. At just 5 feet 10 inches wide and 9,100 pounds, the Man’Go 33 is the smallest and lightest machine of its category, but it can still reach up to 32 feet 6 inches. Another component of the Man’Go 33 that makes it ideal for the rental industry is its quick and nimble operation. This machine fits the North American rental demand for machines that are compact, easy to maintain and straightforward to operate.  

For rental houses, it’s important that sales professionals match the right equipment to the customer’s needs. It’s critical that rental houses gain the trust of their customers by providing expert advice and pairing equipment characteristics with the work. As the new ANSI A92 standards are implemented, it will also be especially important for rental centers to provide equipment training for MEWPs.   

With the ANSI A92 standards, new machines must have a basket overload system that will prevent boom and drive operation until the platform weight is reduced to the allowable limit. This standard also benefits rental companies because it ensures customers are operating equipment within designed capacity limits.  

Many of these changes with the new ANSI standards follow established European standards. This is an advantage for Manitou machines because the safety features have already been incorporated in work platforms sold in the European market. The new ANSI standards have been incorporated into all five Manitou MEWP models introduced this year to North America. These include two electric models, the AETJ 49 and AETJ 43, and three diesel models, the ATJ 46, ATJ 46+ and the Man’Go 33.  

Training and education are critical with the new ANSI standards, not just for operators, but also occupants and supervisors. Proper training will advise on the new safety systems and demonstrate appropriate equipment use. Manitou has a train-the-trainer program in place to help educate MEWP dealers.   

Gary Crook, MEC
MEC boom lift
MEC offers the 45-AJ, a 45-foot articulated boom lift.  With a 48-horsepower diesel Kubota engine, sources report it is the only machine in its class to offer 360 degree continuous rotation.

Renters demand productive options
Gary Crook, vice president of engineering, MEC

Rental customer demands have evolved in recent years to expect productivity options on any boom lift they rent. Specifically, the 7.5 kW welder-ready generator option provides on-board mobile power that can be a three-phase power supply for a 275 amp-sized welder and dual 120-volt single-phase outlets. This gives a range of power choices to use tools in the work platform and avoid the dangerous and inefficient practice of hanging cables from the platform.  

Having a choice of three platform entry positions, with one of them being a full swing gate, makes any entry or exit easier and less fatiguing. The choice of three entries also allows the use of productive options such as glazier racks that cover the long side of the platform. For rental owners, 4WD and cold weather package options give complete flexibility to move equipment around the country for maximum utilization. The MEC 60-J telescopic boom and MEC 45-AJ articulated boom come standard with these features. 

Most boom lift advances from MEC are focused toward safety. As engineers developed the MEC 60-J, they studied the ergonomics of positioning the platform and discovered the footswitch needed to be relocated to help assure safe operation. Further, all MEC boom lifts use a hand-actuated enable switch on the drive- and lift-control handles. This allows operators to turn sideways to control the unit with a natural posture and an unrestricted view of the direction of platform travel.

In response to industry requests, MEC has developed a platform-mounted system of sensors that acts similar to a back-up alarm on a car and warns the operator of an approaching hazard. This has an adjustable stop distance that requires operator acknowledgement before further travel toward the obstacle can proceed. This system, called Proactive Platform Safety System (PPSS), is available on all MEC lifts.  

Once the ANSI A92 standards take effect, rental customers need to be educated on normal boom lift operation. The most significant training will need to be about platform overload sensing. Any platform load that exceeds the safe maximum will be restricted, ensuring that machines cannot be overloaded in the event of a math error or because the cumulative total platform load is over limit. 

David Kesser, Teupin
Teupen AWP
The Teupen TL72A compact track lift has a working height of 78 feet and side reach ability of 39 feet and a 551-pound basket capacity. It can be powered by a diesel engine or battery to power its electric motor.

Users want safety and intuitive operation
David Kesser, Teupen president

Rental customer demands are changing for boom lifts because rental centers and contractors are facing
issues where they need to get to a higher elevation and with more access. They also seek lifts that are safer and more intuitive for the operator.

Teupen has always been asked to go higher and have more side reach but customers, at any height, need to be confident in operator safety with the unit. To do this, the industry requires fail-safe equipment design.

One trend in boom lifts is increasing height while making lifts more compact. For example, the Teupen TL72A boom lift has a working height of 78 feet, yet fits through a standard commercial double door.

Another need is flexible power. The Teupen T54AJ-AGM has a working height of 60 feet, fits through a single doorway and has a dual power system. It can run off an AGM battery or an electrical outlet. It also has an independent operable jib for maximum flexibility and offers operators smooth and easy control of the lift.  

Another way Teupen encourages safe equipment operation is through its Teupen Operator Protection System (T.O.P.S), which will shut off the machine, sound an alarm and back up the lift to help get the operator away from an obstruction.  

The imminent ANSI A92 standard changes will create challenges and opportunities for manufacturers, rental centers and users. The ANSI changes will help provide additional security precautions and establish responsible regulation to the aerial lift industry. The ultimate goal of these changes is to keep operators safe while providing increased productivity and operator efficiency.

Lenny Polonski, All Access Equipment

Track-driven units gain popularity
Lenny Polonski, All Access sales representative

Customers want efficiency and versatility. All Access Equipment has been selling CMC compact track-mounted aerial units exclusively for the past 14 years and the market has grown immensely as more contractors realize that these lifts are often much faster than existing available methods.

All Access regularly gets calls across the United States from contractors asking where they can rent these smaller units. However, few rental houses have realized the large market that exists for these lifts. Users want a unit they can take themselves with a pickup truck, not one of the larger units that are too big, too heavy and useless to the average contractor or homeowner. 

CMC tracked lifts offered by All Access Equipment have been incorporating load-sensing capabilities required in the coming ANSI standards for almost a decade and are already equipped with the next generation of even more advanced redundant safety devices.

Mathew Elven, Snorkel
Snorkel boom lift
The Snorkel 660SJ delivers 66 feet maximum platform height, 58 feet 6 inches maximum outreach and can lift up to 600 pounds. It measures 8 feet wide and its 34-feet 5-inch stowed length can be reduced to 28 feet for transport.

Evolving designs open opportunities
Matthew Elven, Snorkel CEO

Rental customers demand boom lifts that offer safety, productivity and efficiency. Snorkel continues to support safety changes with product enhancements such as Snorkel Guard secondary guarding that is standard on new Snorkel booms and available for retrofitting legacy models.

Snorkel has also introduced an inline generator option on its new mid-size telescopic boom lifts for customers that require power on the job site but don’t want a generator on the platform due to limited space. The inline generator is designed to run off the engine crankshaft and does not place demand on the hydraulic systems.

The largest advances in boom lift design involve changes in power sources for electric-drive and hybrid machines, as well as increasing capacities. As diesel engines continue to become more complicated, the attractiveness of smaller, simpler engines that are below the EPA power limits for aftertreatment increases. Electric units with diesel generators or charging units can be operated quietly and cleanly indoors and then charged while outdoors. Electric-drive technology is becoming much more efficient and can deliver more power. Demand is also growing for increased capacities in boom lifts as jobs are getting larger and more advanced.

Snorkel is not anticipating the ANSI updates to have a major effect on the market. The requirement for a load-sensing platform on lifts built after a certain date helps protect equipment from overloading, reducing downtime and repairs. There are mixed feelings from rental companies toward this change, as it has the potential to increase the number of service calls, at least initially. However, this is mostly being viewed as a positive change because it can help protect equipment from overloading, resulting in less equipment damage.

One factor that is under consideration is how anchoring an ANSI A92-compliant boom lift on a truck the wrong way can put adverse loads against the platform load-sensing system, which could cause failures or errors. Rental customers may place more demand on pre-A92.20 equipment, which may bolster the auction and used equipment sales temporarily. However, manufacturers are working on reliable solutions for platform load sensing and soon the market will move past it, much like the release of Tier 4 final-compliant engines.

Rental houses can expand their current customer base by looking beyond the construction sector. Hospitals, arenas, schools and shopping centers are examples of facilities that require compact boom lifts. Many rental companies focus on the initial construction, however,s building maintenance is a huge rental opportunity and products such as compact booms can be used year-round for facility maintenance.

Alain Pare, UP Equip
Up Equip AWP
The UpEquip 87-48AJ can carry 265 pounds 48 feet away from center as high as 40 feet, yet can fit through a 36-inch door.

Tight-space boom lifts interest grows
Alain Paré, UpEquip president

Almost all job sites now use MEWPs as a first choice. MEWPs offer safe, productive and versatile performance and are much more affordable and accessible than they were 20 years ago.  

Today, the benefits provided by a MEWP are required where it is impossible to fit a standard boom lift. As contractors become more educated and face greater efficiency and safety challenges, customers need solutions and naturally, their first reflex is to ask rental centers for advice and guidance.  

Users are demanding overall and relative ease of use in tight places, even indoors. They want more height, greater outreach, lower ground pressure and more options that can be used on all types of flooring. It’s increasingly difficult for manufacturers to reduce overall unit size yet reach greater heights. For example, the UpEquip 87-48AJ can carry 265 pounds 48 feet away from center as high as 40 feet, yet can fit through a 36-inch door. 

Rental houses can leverage this trend toward narrower, smaller units by being proactive. Walk job sites, understand customer challenges and keep in mind that nothing is impossible. Simply listen. Remember how slow users were to adopt using boom lifts. The ultra-narrow boom lift market is almost virgin territory and promises profit far greater than larger models.  

UpEquip’s EZLift models have been equipped with basket weight limitation for many years. Some manufacturers will be challenged to meet the deadlines and will need to adjust their pricing structures. 

From the rental house standpoint, there will be challenges meeting profitability markers that measure the amount of time employees spend on equipment delivery due to greater training requirements. However, time invested in training immediately translates into opportunities. Workers know how they can get the most out of the unit; it prevents calls based on operation; it prevents damages or repairs on units and should help get the unit back out on rent faster. 

Corey Connolly, Snorkel

Market: Steady as she goes
Corey Connolly, Skyjack product manager

Skyjack has seen very strong growth from 2016 and into 2017 and we expect to see that continue in 2018. With last year’s launch of the SJ85 AJ, Skyjack now offers a full line of booms for the core 40-foot to 80-foot classes, which will help maintain this positive growth. 

In North America, the new ANSI standards will impact buying patterns at the latter half of 2018 and early 2019 as all manufacturers prepare for the date that new machines must be ANSI A92-compliant.

The new standards will create challenges and opportunities for rental companies. Any time there is a major set of design changes, there is a period of adjustment as operators get familiar with the equipment and how it operates differently.

The new standards will capture several changes and updates to existing testing and design requirements. Some of these changes will be quite noticeable to the operator while others will not. Introducing new technology can often be met with apprehension, and Skyjack recognizes that will be the case with some of these changes. Skyjack has taken this as an opportunity to make the changes to meet the new standards while helping mitigate the impact to performance and cost. 

While the operator is always responsible for the amount of weight he or she puts in the basket, load-sensing technology will prevent machine operation if the load is greater than rated capacity. To address this, Skyjack booms will feature increased platform capacity to help ease any trepidation operators may have when operating a machine with this new technology. Skyjack has also developed an app that reinforces load capacity guidelines, aptly named Capacities. It demonstrates what can result from an overloaded platform. 

Skyjack is making improvements to its control boom system with its new Elevate telematics that can add more data points for tracking operation and troubleshooting.

This article originally appeared in the May-June 2018 issue of Pro Contractor Rentals magazine. ©2018 Direct Business Media. All rights reserved,