Rising Out of the Turmoil - Market Focus
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Rising Out of the Turmoil

By Mary Seaman and Pam Gruebnau

Article Date: 04-01-2005
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.

Much belaguered, aerial-lift manufacturers are really enjoying the recovery.

Few suppliers have experienced as much change in the last 10 years as aerial lift manufacturers with demand, sales and prices rising and falling precipitously; companies consolidating, being purchased, filing bankruptcy, dropping lines or closing North American manufacturing operations; and large fleets of aerial lifts appearing on auction sites at bargain basement prices.

Whether the current "recovery" that aerial lift manufacturers and dealers are experiencing is yet another sharp upturn that will be followed by an equally steep decline is yet to be determined, but for now aerial lift prices are up - both new and used - and manufacturers are smiling.

"Aerial-lift sales are as good as I've seen them in 25 years," says Craig Paylor, senior vice president of sales and marketing for JLG Industries. "Used aerial-lift prices are up and rental rates are up.

"Rental fleet utilization rates are up because demand is so high that contractors are keeping the rental machines on the jobs longer for fear they won't be able to get the lifts back when they need them. Contractors are buying more aerial lifts for the same reason."

However, he warns dealers to resist the temptation to sell the aerial lifts in their rental fleets.

"It can be very tempting to sell aerial lifts from your rental fleet, especially when the machine has been depreciated down to 25 percent of original value and you're being offered 60 percent," says Paylor. "It seems like a great opportunity but if dealers give in and sell the machine they deplete the rental fleet. Then what happens when another customer wants to rent an aerial lift? You'll lose that customer.

"Don't sell your rental machines until there's a replacement on your lot."

With so much turmoil in the marketplace, you might expect aerial-lift manufacturers to expend little effort and money updating their product lines. That has not been the case, however, and manufacturers are reporting important changes in technology, capacity and performance.

For example, Genie's new Z-135/70 articulating boom model has box-design axles that extend from the 8-foot transport width to 13 feet, which makes it possible to transport a machine with a 135-foot work height and 69-foot outreach without special permits.

Genie improvements also include more reliable control systems that automatically control platform position based on the boom angle and length.

JLG has introduced a new Tow-Pro series of towable boom lifts with platform heights of 35 and 50 feet. The towable lifts feature joystick controls, electric high-pressure air and water lines routed through the boom to the platform, highway towing speeds of 65 mph, automatic self-leveling hydraulic outriggers, and bolt-on material-handling hook.
Also new, Haulotte has introduced an articulated boom lift with a side reach of nearly 70 feet for excellent "up and over" performance at great heights. And NiftyLift is offering two aerial lifts with 60-percent gradability to take aerial-lift convenience to areas where typical four-wheel-drive aerial lifts can't reach.

Work Platforms Reach 38 Feet With 1,300 Pounds

Skyjack's SJIII aerial-work platforms offer unsurpassed performance and functionality, reaching work heights of up to 38 feet with capacities of up to 1,300 pounds. Other features include 25 percent gradability, spacious 57 inch x 84 inch platforms. 

Models SJIII 3220, 3226, 4620, 4626, 4632, 6826 and 6832 have variable rear-wheel hydraulic drive, can be moved at full height on a firm level surface, use a proportional drive-lift joystick control system and feature positive traction. The aerial-work platforms have a 10V GFI protected AC outlet on the platform; solid rubber, non-marking tires; and Skyjack's scissor design for maximum rigidity and stability.

For more information, visit http://www.skyjackinc.com/.

Towable Boom Lift At 65mph

JLG introduces the new Tow-Pro towable boom lifts. The T350 has a 35-foot platform height and 20-foot horizontal reach. The T500J has a 50-foot platform height and 3-foot-6-inch jib with 130 degrees vertical motion and a 31-foot horizontal reach. Both can be towed at 65 mph and have automatic self-leveling hydraulic outriggers. Electric, high-pressure air and water lines are routed through the booms to the platform and can be used from the platform without the danger of lines hanging down. The joystick control replicates the controls on a self-propelled boom lift. Both feature 370 degrees of non-continuous turntable rotation and 500-pounds unrestricted capacity in the 30 x 48-inch aluminum platform.

For more information, call 717-485-5161 or visit http://www.jlg.com/.

Looking For Dealers

Custom Equipment is looking for dealers. The company's HB2030 Hy-Brid Micro Scissor Lift is just 30-inches wide and delivers a working height of 16 feet. According to the company, it's ideal for applications where maneuverability and a compact lift are required. The HB2030 has a 750-pound platform capacity, a platform extension, non-marking tires and a quiet steering system.

For more information, call 866-334-0756 or email custequip@yahoo.com.

Maximum Height of 34-Feet

Niftylift's new TrackDrive 34T is available with standard or narrow width (TD34TN) platform. The TD34T offers a wider track capable of handling rough terrain, while the narrow version will pass through a 2-foot-6-inch opening for jobs in tight spaces. Both models provide a platform height of 34 feet and outreach of more than 20 feet. Hydraulic outriggers controlled from the platform allow the 34T and 34TN to be unloaded, set up and operated without the operator leaving the platform.

For more information, call 630-858-0822 or visit www.niftylift.com.

Powerlift Elevating Assembly

With a patented Powerlift II elevating assembly, MEC Aerial Lifts are the only lifts on the market with this type of rigid support, according to the company. MEC lifts have large pins and a single pivot point. Scissors are "line bored" for a very close tolerance, and the single scissor design also provides easy access to service compartments. 
 Both the 33 series and the new MEC 47 series have the longest extended platform deck in the industry, according to the company. The 33 series and 47 series offer a low entry height, due to scissor arms that are mounted low in the chassis. MEC scissor have specially designed swivel fittings, a non-skid surface stamped into the floor, and keyless operation. The lifts satisfy the ANSI requirement by using a master lock out switch.

For more information, call (800)387-4575 or visit http://www.mec-awp.com/.

Jib Extends to 20 Feet

Genie's new Z-135/70 Articulating Boom uses swinging arms on an "X-Chassis" base (patent-pending) to widen the base from 8-to 13 feet, transforming the mechanism for extending and retracting axles. The new telescoping jib not only swings up and down, but it extends from 12 to 20 feet. The design provides access to applications inaccessible by a traditional model. The Z-135/70 has a platform height of 135 feet, an outreach of more than 69 feet, and an up-and-over reach of more than 75 feet. The Z-135 is easily transported, features smart steering with a choice of front wheel, rear wheel, crab or coordinated four-wheel steer.

For more information, call 800-536-1800 or visit http://www.genieind.com/.

Working Height of 26 Feet

The UI 2032/2048 scissorlift is a highly maneuverable lift with a rigid scissor-set, a low stowed height, fully proportional controls and a steel deck with slip-resistant surfaces. Working height is 26 feet, and platform capacity is 750 pounds. UI is Upright International's North American distribution group.

For more information, call 559-268-2433.

New Telescopic and Vertical Mast Platforms

Haulotte's 100 articulated telescopic aerial-lift platform, the HA100JRT, provides up and over at extreme heights and a tremendous amount of horizontal side reach - close to 70 feet. Standard features include four-wheel drive, four-wheel steer, and an oscillating axle. 

Haulotte has also introduced its first vertical mast aerial-work platform, the Star 13 (shown right), with a maximum platform height of 13-feet-2 inches, and a working height of 20 feet. This aerial-lift has a low entry height, is lightweight and has a tight turning radius. Other features include white non-marring tires and smooth proportional controls.

For more information, call 410-712-4403 or visit www.haulotte.com.

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