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Self-Propelled Boom Lifts

A Quick Guide To Self-Propelled Boom Lifts

The best way to understand self-propelled boom lifts is to first understand what purpose they serve. As the name suggests, the aim is to provide a working platform for gaining access to areas beyond normal safe reach. The other part of the name describes the fact that these are mobile platforms, designed to be moved from one location to another using their own automotive capabilities.

Typically, a self-propelled boom lift is operated by a single user who has full control over the platform's positioning and movement. It is common though to find two sets of controls: one mounted in the platform "basket" itself so that the operator can move himself to the required location; and one mounted on the ground unit, which sometimes incorporates a static control cab allowing the platform to be controlled from the ground by a second operator.

The platform is lifted and guided using hydraulic booms and there is also the ability to rotate the platform in order to maximize its effectiveness in most situations. They come in a bewildering variety of shapes and sizes and use a number of different basic techniques to attain working heights from as low as 10 meters to well over 20m.

Self-Propelled Boom Lifts

Self-Propelled Boom Lifts

Common mechanisms include: telescopic (extending and retracting booms); articulated (where the booms are jointed and folded/unfolded); vertical mast (a form of vertical only telescopic); and scissor (a mechanism that expands and compresses like a trellis).

The power requirements for self-propelled platforms is equally as diverse, with units that can run on electricity (either mains or battery) and petrol or diesel. There are even some hybrid versions that are capable of running on either electricity or fossil fuel.

By definition, these are heavy duty machines that are mostly used in construction and industrial environments. Accordingly it is the law in most countries that any self-propelled platform operator be fully trained and competent in their correct use.

So who makes them? Well, some of the best known suppliers include: access platform specialists Niftylift; the Japanese Aichi Corporation whose core business is aerial platforms and John Deere (best known of course for tractors).