While the access market in the US is becoming more diverse and growing beyond its routes as a high-volume scissor and boom lift market, the current climate in the rental industry is reported to be strong from many of the large players.

There is another side of the coin, however, with users and smaller rental houses pointing to more expensive equipment and higher financing, which is making times tough.

On the equipment side, the US market is changing as fleet owners and operators adopt of more European products.

These trends and more were discussed and on display at the The ARA Show, Feb. 19-21, in New Orleans, US. Following is a summary of some of the news, insights and product offerings gathered by KHL staff at the show last month.

Genie’s plan for growth and meeting demand
Jared Hicks, GM of Bootheel Parts & Equipment, won this Genie GTH-5519 at The ARA Show. (Photo: Genie)

“We’re very optimistic about the next couple years, especially in North America,” says Genie’s President Josh Gross. “We’re doing everything we can to build as much as possible, ramping up production in Monterey [Mexico] and trying to make sure we deliver and pull in as much equipment to 2024 as we can for our customers.”

Despite improvements across the supply chain, and a slight easing of labor shortages for the company, Gross says today’s challenges aren’t much different than they were a year ago.

“It’s still the same thing, largely,” Gross says. “We’re still working with key suppliers as they try to catch up from Covid, and they’re pulling in their production and ramping up their capacity. You think about engines, you think about electronic components, you think about things like that. Those are the things that we’re still working on fine tuning, making sure we’ve got enough, trying to get as much as we can.”

Genie’s hope is that the company’s new manufacturing facility in Mexico will help ease some of Genie’s backlog, which currently stands at roughly $2.6 billion.

“Monterey is continuing to ramp up, and more of the facility’s coming online,” Gross says. “We’ve been continuing to invest and expand the facility.”

As Genie irons out the operational details of its Mexico plant, it also is keeping its eyes focused on the company’s current manufacturing around the globe, while “constantly looking and evolving” its footprint, according to Gross.

Currently, Genie’s plant in Italy supplies Europe and North America, among other regions, and according to Gross, the company is looking to increase its telehandler manufacturing capacities there. As for its facility in China, Gross says, “operations [there] have been successful for a long time.”

“We continue to look at how we build the right models with the right configurations to export them to key markets or sell domestically where there’s demand,” he says.

MEC’s global footprint and product expansion

MEC hosted a range of innovative products and highlighted the fact it has moved away from being a specialist access equipment producer and moved into the mainstream with a range of

Gary Crook, left, vice president of engineering, and David White, president, MEC, stand in front of the company’s new dual boom. (Photo: KHL)

products that are designed for series production.

One of its newest launches is the DualReach 85-J Boom, with the ability to switch between telescopic and articulated mode.

The company also presented its NetZero range of vertical mast and scissor lifts. The NetZero nomenclature represents fully electric lift, steer and drive, resulting in zero hydraulics, zero leaks and zero emissions.

MEC offers 10 NetZero models now available, ranging from 10ft (3m) to 45ft (13.5m) platform heights and including the Nano10-XD, 1330AE, Micro13AE-XD, MMAE16, Micro19AE, Micro19AE-XD, Micro26AE, 3346AE, 4046AE and 4555SAE lifts.

Machines are powered entirely by AGM or a Lithium-Ion batteries and all have all-electric actuators that replace the traditional hydraulic system.

MEC also showed its newly launched 38ft slab scissor that can drive at full height. 

“This was our biggest year we’ve ever had,” says David White, president of MEC Aerial Work Platforms. “We have a precedence on a lot of new product development.”

The California-based company has undergone massive changes over the last year, including the news that China-based Dingli further invested in MEC to see its total ownership come to 49.8%. Dingli and MEC have been manufacturing partners since 2016, with Dingli officially taking minority ownership in 2018. The plan moving forward is for Dingli to buy the outstanding shares of MEC and take entire ownership of the company.

MEC’s new owners will afford the company not only a wider product portfolio, but new manufacturing and selling opportunities – globally – as well.

“We’ve had a lot of success with mega jobs, data centers, etc., with partners here in the U.S.,” White says. “We have had requests by some major dealer customers to replicate that success, if you will, in Europe. And so, we are exploring that. We’re in those beginning stages.”

White said MEC’s potential European facility would be a MEC base for support parts, service and sales on the ground.

“We envision a limited product range to start, and we’ll grow it from there,” White says. “But it would be supported with our existing manufacturing operations.”

AXCS from Hy-Brid
The new range of products from AXCS. (Photo: KHL) 

One of the biggest announcements at ARA came from Hy-Brid Lifts by Custom Equipment, which is significantly expanding its equipment range into larger scissor lifts, vertical masts with and without jibs, articulating booms and telehandlers under its new brand AXCS.

Hy-Brid Lifts, tradtionally a producer of low level access equipment, was part acquired by Turkish group Asko, which is now a majority shareholder.

Asko is also the owner of Turkish lift manufacturer ELS Lift and MST Construction Machinery, which produces telehandlers, among other construction machinery.

Following the deal, Hy-Brid Lifts is rebranding ELS aerial platforms and MST telehandlers under the new name of AXCS and selling them to the US market. All of the access equipment, ranging from scissors to booms will be electric-powered, complementing the low level access range. The scissors are also electric drive.

The new scissor lifts have working heights up to 51 feet, along with a large lifting capacity and working area and electric drive. The new line will also be outdoor rated.

“ELS Lift is working on some prototypes of scissors and other machines for the market, too,” says Justin Kissinger, vice president, marketing, Hy-Brid Lifts. “We’ll have more introductions next year, for sure.”

The vertical mast lifts will be compact and have working heights up to 19 feet, again with large lifting capacities and electric drive. In addition, there will be mast lifts with jibs ranging up to 32 feet working height, with 10 feet of horizontal reach, offering the same wider features as the standard vertical masts.

The company’s first articulating booms will result in new models with working heights up to 49 feet and outreaches of 28 feet, along with the customary large basket capacity and electric drive.

Finally, the company will produce a series of telehandlers with lifting heights up to 56 feet and capacities up to 12,000 pounds, powered by a 134-horsepower engine. The company has six telehandlers in development, according to Kissinger.

“These will be North American machines,” he says. “We’re going to identify all the features customers want, update the machines accordingly and get some field testing done so that full production can happen in 2025.”

To oversee these changes, Eric Liner has been appointed president and CEO at Custom Equipment.

“We are diversifying the portfolio so there is more attraction for larger rental companies,” says Liner, who has experience in the US access market, having previously been CEO of LGMG North America and ending his 19-year stint at Skyjack as executive VP, Americas.

According to Liner, Asko, through its acquisition of ELS, has the current capacity to meet demand the US market.

As time goes on this will translate to some level of manufacturing or assembly of the Turkish-based products in the US. “They have available capacity but there are plans to share some of that, and the closer to market the better,” says Liner.

Efforts are also underway to integrate the Hy-Brid Lift line in Europe with ELS and MST products. 

Availability of the ELS-produced products under the new AXCS brand name will be in a couple of months once they are officially ANSI certified. The telehandlers will follow later this year, with six models in the range up to 56ft.

“Our plan is to be a full line provider,” Liner says. “That was always one of our goals and the acquisition has allowed us to do that.”

Hyrax debut

Netherlands-based manufacturer Hyrax made its debut in the US at ARA, showing its range of track-based boom lifts. The company currently offers four models that range in working heights

Hyrax’s display at ARA 2024. (Photo: KHL)

of 41 to 52 feet. The units are mounted on rubber tracks, allowing them rough terrain capabilities, and also feature automatic leveling. The machines can be driven on slopes up to 45 degrees and feature ground clearances between 10.9 and 13.8 inches. Lastly, machines weigh between 6,000 and 10,700 pounds.

The company also announced its new electric telescopic boom lift for markets in Europe.

Tracked boom lift manufacturer Hyrax has been in the European market for six years and this was the first time it had shown its products in the US. The company has already set up a hub in the country offering service and spare parts. On show were two products, the ATD 50.47 and ATD 27.41, both of which have Kubota diesel engines. By 2025, the company plans to introduce larger equipment to the market.

JCB introduces T65D

JCB continued its commitment to growing its position within the access equipment sector with the addition of its 65-foot diesel-powered T65D aimed at the North American rental market.

JCB’s new T65D boom lift at the 2024 ARA Show. (Photo: KHL)

The machine features dual-zone lift capacity and the ability to carry three people throuhout its range. The T65D can handle 1,000 pounds in the basket through 80 percent of its range and 600 pounds through 100 percent of the range. The platform’s basket height reaches 65 feet, 4 inches, and maximum outreach tops out at 56 feet, 6 inches.

Powered by a 74-horsepower JCB 444 EcoMAX engine, the T65D offers 360-degree continuous rotation, an 8-foot basket, and three access points for operators and users. 

“The North American market in general for access is massive,” says Connon Stanmore, JCB’s product manager for access equipment.

“The company has achieved excellent results with its scissor lifts and articulated booms and aims to surpass its customer expectations with this new product line. The addition of this telescopic boom fills another key segment of the market, making JCB a comprehensive provider of solutions for our customers.”

Stanmore says North America is central to the strategic business plan for JCB’s access business, hence the company’s new factory being constructed in Texas, which will produce access equipment for both the North and South American markets. Telescopic and articulated booms will both eventually be manufactured in Texas, as well as the company’s scissor lifts for the local regions. Manufacturing operations should kick off within two years, the company says.

Manitou range of telehanders

Manitou Group expanded its range of telehandlers dedicated to the North American market with the launch of a new compact model at the ARA Show.

Almost a year after the launch of a range of telehandlers at the ConExpo show, the ultra-compact MTA 519, also available under the manufacturer’s North American Gehl brand as the Gehl

Manitou’s compact MTA 519. (Photo: KHL)

TH5-19, has a height of 6ft 4in and a width of 5ft, 11in.

The telehandler can be easily transported to different job sites, with slinging points located at the front and rear of the machine. It has been designed to be compact and highly maneuverable in confined spaces, such as basements, city centers or through garage doors, with a turning radius of 10ft, 10in.

The MTA 519 now also comes with a universal skid-steer quick attach system that is supported with a full power ground engaging telescopic boom. It is equipped with a hydrostatic transmission and provides a high level of performance, with a maximum load capacity of up to 5,500 pounds and a maximum working height of 19ft, 1in.

Its outreach of up to 11ft, 2in is ideal for loading and unloading materials on the second floor of a house, particularly during renovation work. The ground clearance of 13in. allows the MTA 519 to be used on all types of terrain.

Access to the cab is simple and step-free for ease of access. Once inside, the operator benefits from an ergonomic dashboard and wide visibility. A single joystick in the cab simplifies boom operations, making it easier to operate the machine.

As the attachment system is a universal skid-steer mount, the MTA 519 can be used with a very wide range of attachments. This allows rental companies to reuse attachments that work with their loader ranges. An automatic parking brake is also standard on the MTA 519. Components are easy to access, so users can carry out maintenance operations with greater ease, thus reducing the total cost of ownership.

Ruthmann Reachmaster looks at trailer mounts
Ruthmann Reachmaster’s booth at ARA. (Photo: KHL)

ReachMaster, which has traditionally represented European manufacturers of specialist equipment in the US, and to a great extent was the pioneer of specialist access in the country, has gone through some changes in recent times. This follows its acquisition by Ruthmann, and then Ruthmann’s acquisition by Time Manufacturing. The company now focuses on Ruthman’s large truck mounts, along with its Ecoline and spider lift producer Bluelift – all under the wing of Time. It also represents Almac and Winlift, which are not part of Time.

On the stand at ARA was Almac’s latest lift, the Bibi 33BL-W Evo. The adjustable track system will auto level both in driving and set-up position and features 33ft working height, a wider basket and a strong Kubota diesel engine. It also offers an inclination control system, 25° gradeability and 21° side slope.

EuropeLift, based in Italy, was appearing for the first time at the show. The trailer-mounted specialist is seeing the advantages of this product type in North America. The company had been sought out by National Equipment Wholesale, which is based in the US and was on the look out for a trailer mounted lift producer that it could represent in the country.

The company told AI that it saw there was a high value proposition for this product type, which are currently mainly represented in the market by Niftylift and Haulotte, as well as Genie and JLG.

On the stand were 13m, 18m and 21m machines, which are on average larger than found in Europe. There is also a greater interest in simpler machines in the US, with the onus being on larger quantities due to the relative size of the market.

Dinolift is also introducing trailer mounts to the US rental market through its distributor RBG Inc. in New Hampshire, with the 52XTB being one of them.

In the past, the Finland-based company has put its main focus in tree care and end user markets but with equipment cost inflation in the US market, smaller companies are finding it harder to invest. However the rental market, says Dinolift, is in a better position and with the 50ft class (16m in Europe) being a standard rental trailer size in the US, it makes sense to focus on this product, which it was introducing at the show for the first time in North America.

The model offers continuous rotation, easy entry and short tail swing and is the shortest lift in its category, says the manufacturer, for transportation. It also comes standard with three years of telematics through MyDino and a three-year warranty.

The concept behind Dinolift is lightweight products with outriggers, which, as the company told AI at the ARA Show, is a sector that it says is increasingly sought after by US rental.

Teupen goes bigger

There are trends in the tree care sector that don’t stop for the economy. According to Teupen, which was at the show, customers are looking for larger lifts. The next step up from its 69AJ plus, a popular unit in the country, is the new 82AJ Plus, which is also being shown at Intermat in April.

Last year, Teupen introduced insulated products to the US market, including the TC67AIC, which has just been upgraded with the new TC67AIC, again reflecting the need for larger machines.

In fact, the said the main uptick in that sector is now for insulated machines.

Teupen also launched its articulated LEO27GTplus based on Teupen’s existing design, which sees all cable and hydraulic hoses stored internally, to protect against environmental conditions, such as weather, dirt and dust, the latest compact model also includes flexible set up in confined spaces, including between rows of seats.

The LEO27GTplus has a maximum working height of 88 feet and a maximum horizontal outreach of 46 feet.

XCMG puts down roots in North America

On the subject of new facilities, XCMG has a new head office in Georgia. Plus the company has a rental concern in Las Vegas and an R&D center in Chicago. The company also opened its plant in Mexico in 2022, which focuses on the production of scissor lifts.

Although the increasing number of factories in Mexico from MEWP producers can be directly connected to the introduction of the tariffs on Chinese-produced MEWPs entering the US, XCMG told AI that its tariff of 90% was manageable, and to obtain market share its was prepared to take on some of the cost.

The company added that having too heavy reliance on the Mexico facilities might be a mistake because there is a risk that the US might impose tariffs on goods produced in Mexico.

XCMG is currently upgrading its models and carrying out extensive testing in China before introducing them to the US.

New on the Sinoboom stand was the oil free 0608ME All (1932ME All), with zero hydraulic components. The unit has an electric lift and steer cylinder, and already had electric drive in the previous version. The are AC drive motors on the front wheels, drawing less amperage than before and therefore reducing running costs.

The model has previously been available in China and is now launching globally. Next up will be the 2732ME All that will offer the same features, along with the increased platform height to 27m and two actuators to lift the larger scissor stack. In three to five years the company will look to have a completely electric, oil free scissor line, it said.

Skyjack micro scissors

Skyjack launched a new micro scissor line tailored specifically for the North American market at this year’s ARA.

The SJ3213 and SJ3219 feature 13- and 19-foot platform heights, respectively, 500 pound platform capacities, AC electric drive performance, a 20-inch rollout extension to increase work area

A look at Skyjack’s new micros on display at ARA. (Photo: KHL)

and provide up and over capability, low floor loading, and telematics allowing for remote diagnostics reduces site visits and operational footprint.

“This is an exciting launch for Skyjack,” says Skyjack President Charlie Patterson. “Our team understands the importance of maximum uptime and we pride ourselves on providing machine features that combine durability, quality and serviceability. Our new micro line is no exception, combining low cost of ownership with our world-renowned product support for easy accessibility into tight spaces, earning the mighty micros moniker.”

“Rental companies and major contractors face increasing demands for sustainability information,” the company said. “Skyjack has introduced its ECO mark to support our customers by providing products that deliver benefits in environmental performance and long-term sustainability.”

Targeted at the North American market, the SJ3213 micro and the SJ3219 micro will replace the previous SJ3013 model in North America. The SJ3014 will remain available in Europe.

Snorkel electric scissors
A look at Snorkel’s display during ARA 2024. (Photo: KHL)

Snorkel showed two new all electric scissor lifts with lithium batteries, the S3013 Mini and S23220 Mini with 600 pound platform capacities. The S3013 Mini features a working height of 19 feet and is  powered by Lithium batteries. The 60ft Snorkel 600AJN has been designed with unique steering and compact dimensions for exhibition installation work.

Magni fixed-boom telehandler

Telehandler manufacturer Magni showcased its range of material handling solutions, including its TH 5,5.19P fixed-boom telehandler and new the RTH 8.46.

Magni’s stand was packed with fixed-boom and rotating telehandlers. (Photo: KHL)

The RTH 8.46 rotator is the result of the restyling of the first-generation 6.46 model and provides a new boom, allowing lifting capacities up to 8 tons (17,600 pounds), which makes it the second largest in its class, says Magni, just behind the manufacturer’s range-topping 6.51. The new model also adopts the M1 and M2 extension modes.

Sinoboom shows North American range

Sinoboom showed its range of products specifically for the North American market at The ARA Show.

Sinoboom’s booth at ARA. (Photo: KHL)
Zoomlion launches electric scissor

Zoomlion launched a new no hydraulics 19-foot scissor lift, essentially the same as its

Zoomlion’s booth at this year’s ARA Show. (Photo: KHL)

standard 19 foot unit, but with electric actuators in place of hydraulics.

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