Safety and sustainability - the move to non-powered access
08 January 2024
Access equipment manufacturers of conventional equipment like scissors and boom lifts have been showing a greater interest in the pusharound and low level access sectors in recent times. For example, JLG has placed significant prominence on its Power Towers brand and Haulotte has announced its launch into the sector.
Looking at the trends of pusharounds, Baptiste Roland, Haulotte product marketing manager, says more companies that require working at height below 6m are taking measures to limit the use of ladders and scaffolding in the workplace, to reduce accident-related costs.
“Demands from customers of low level access and pusharound products are for lighter units and an even greater reduction in the need for maintenance, as well as a standardisation of AGM batteries, with the possibility of the lifting movements being carried out manually too”.
Power Towers unveiled its latest innovation, the Nano35 this year. The model is the first pusharound vertical mast product that can reach 5.5m working height, said the company.
It is designed to offer enhanced flexibility in tight working environments and comes equipped with a maintenance-free AGM battery and an electro-hydraulic pump. With self-locking front wheels, the Nano35 can provide stability when the platform is raised.
One of the standout features of the unit is that its contact area is just 1.205m x 0.76m, which allows it to reach into tight spaces. It is designed for a variety of users; for example, mechanics, electricians, ventilation installers and painters, as well as beyond construction in cleaning, painting, decorating and general maintenance.
Richard Puglia, sales director of Power Towers, described the Nano35 is a game-changer and says, “Its compact design and advanced features make it an ideal choice for a wide range of industries and tasks.
“We are confident that the Nano35 will significantly enhance the productivity, ergonomics and safety of operators.”
Returning to Haulotte, the company launched into low level access and push around products last year with its Quick Up range with working heights from 8m to 14 m. The non-powered units include the Move Up models which are mast lifts and combine compact dimensions with light weight and working heights of 4.6 m and 5.6 m.
The range’s Swift Up models have a scissors offering higher load capacity and a wider working platform with working height of 3.8m or 4.5m.
Expanding on the point about push around units finding traction as the industry turns to zero emissions, Roland says that, “while in the short term, we’re not planning any new push arounds products, in line with our blue strategy, Haulotte is focusing on the electrification of its all-terrain models.” This will result in more models appearing in the 100% electric Pulseo range.
As Roland points out the advantages of this product type is time saving, as low level access is quick to install and easy to manoeuvre, with a narrow turning radius and compact dimensions. Additionally, they are suitable for sensitive floors and being lightweight apply limited pressure on the ground.
A big advantage is greater safety and comfort compared to ladders as pusharound units significantly reduces operator fatigue by providing an ergonomic working position - operators to work at 360° and carry more tools and materials, as well as reducing the chances of falls. Then there is the enhanced productivity, compared to ladders and low maintenance compared to powered access.
From a low level access specialist’s point of view UK-based Alp Lift, which offers several push-around products, says the ambition to work more sustainably is an important development in the sector and will help push a growth in the product type. One of the main advantages says Alp Lift’s CEO Jacob Goeman Borgesius, is that they do not require a battery or electricity.
The company focuses on data centres, shopping malls, retail branches, facility managers with its products. They are also widely purchased by the rental industry because of their ease of use and 24-hour availability.
Borgesius adds, “With a push around product, the user is more in control. Accidents are less likely to occur than with electric aerial platforms, for example due to improper use; a push around is much easier to use.”
He adds that standards are determined more by the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidelines than by the user. This requires a different approach to product innovation, he says. “The need for more sustainability and non-electric, non-oil products is increasing.”
The HSE requirements state: use of high-quality materials for sustainability, user friendliness, flexibility with multi-functional products and bumpers on the outside to limit damage during work, as well as oil and electricity free products.
Alp Lift’s latest innovations are the Navigator push around scissor lift, launched in March 2023, alongside the Desksurfer, a push around vertical mast lift launched in 2022. This product has been available for a while, but is now being sold throughout Europe.
Then there is the PL200 material lift with platform, launched in 2022. It has a separate work platform combined in one, so it can also be used as a one-person MEWP. This makes it a simple, safe and innovative alternative to ladders, scaffolding and other MEWPs.
Borgesius adds, “There is a growing interest on pusharound machines as they are lightweight and compact. More and more rental customers are asking to customise this type of machine with paintwork, stickers, etc.” AI