Choosing the right lift, or mobile elevating work platform (MEWP), for your job site shouldn’t have to be a painstaking task. There are a few questions you should ask yourself when making the decision, so we’ve put together this quick guide to make it that much easier.
A big question to ask before picking the right lift for the job at hand is: how accessible is the site? Job sites with many obstacles, whether they be on the ground or in the air, present additional challenges and may exclude certain machines. Another factor on this topic is that the accessibility of a site can dramatically change based on the stages of a project. So, when you know this will be the case, it’s important to choose a versatile machine. Straight, vertical reaches may require a scissor lift only while job sites requiring reach over, under or around access most likely will require an articulating or telescopic boom lift.
Articulating refers to a lift’s ability to hinge, or articulate, allowing increased accessibility to the needed areas. Articulating boom lifts are ideal for projects requiring access to tight or hard-to-reach areas. These lifts are ideal for confined work areas, indoor spaces, versatile projects and can be placed in numerous positions.
Telescopic refers to lifts which are engineered to extend up and down and resemble high-reach forklifts but include attached booms. Telescopic boom lifts are perfect for projects requiring materials be lifted to very tall heights, like roofing projects. These lifts are ideal for smaller job sites, when working from a distance, versatile projects and can be used on rough terrain areas.
Job Site Conditions
Job site conditions are an integral factor in choosing a machine that will effectively complete the necessary tasks involved on your site. Each MEWP is designed for specific conditions or are created to accommodate versatile job sites. It’s important to understand the job site and the related conditions before deciding on a lift. Certain lifts are ideal for rough terrain while others are more versatile or specific to smoother surfaces.
For example, Genie recently introduced the release of two “high float,” ANSI-compliant boom lifts. The lifts are engineered to avoid damaging soft ground surfaces while maintaining high lift capacities. Designers created the S-80 HF and S-85 HF machines to “float” on more frangible surfaces like sand and turf. The new boom lifts protect softer surfaces during operation that could be damaged by more aggressive tread on regular rough terrain machines.
Once you know the conditions of your job site, it will make the decision-making process much easier: indoor versus outdoor, rough versus smooth terrain and the needed reach capacity are details which will help you determine what lift best matches your needs.
Smaller compact lifts are great options to choose when completing work indoors, according to an informational article published by Genie. They offer maneuverability, compact size and can be manually or self-propelled. Also, power accessibility is important. Indoor job sites without power may require a gas/LPG engine or hybrid power source lift. These early stage job sites often have limited indoor lighting, so a platform lights package will help get the job done and keep workers safe, according to the article.
Depending on the site’s terrain, outdoor jobs may require machines with fully rough terrain capability. Rough terrain lifts enhance productivity by providing traction, speed and gradeability. Job sites which require work on rough surfaces initially and smooth surfaces later may require a versatile machine or multiple lifts.
Specific requirements and restrictions are necessary considerations when choosing the lift that’s right for your job site. If there are noise or emission limitations, those will be major factors in what machines can be used. In some cases, hybrid, 4×4 or oscillating axles may be features that are required on the lift that is ultimately chosen.