Elevate Your Rental: Four Tips for Renting the Right Scissor Lift

JLG scissor lift

When your crews need to access overhead work — hanging drywall, installing plumbing or performing electrical work — a scissor lift is one of the most effective tools to help them get the job done. That’s because this type of MEWP (mobile elevating work platform) offers workers the unique ability to move the machine into place and then ascend/descend vertically to complete a task — eliminating the need for more cumbersome tools like scaffolding and ladders.

Scissor lifts available in the market today come in various models and sizes, all designed to match different work environments. For example, rough-terrain scissor lifts are well-suited for work on unfinished, uneven ground, as well as on projects that need higher capacity machines and larger platform sizes, while “slab” scissor lifts are intended for operation on flat, level surfaces and are ideal for indoor work.

As a contractor, you must match the machine to the work, but you also need to think about your customer’s and the operator’s needs. What does the project owner need from the equipment your crews are using? It may be different. For example, they probably don’t want oil leaks on the jobsite, and they might not want diapers on the products — what they do want are clean machines.

You also need to consider the needs of the crew members who operate scissor lifts on the job. They probably don’t care about the same things as your customer. Instead, they want a safe machine that’s easy to use.

So, how do you know which scissor lift is the right one for your next project?

Here are four tips for selecting a scissor lift that will allow your crews to complete overhead work efficiently.

Tip #1: Know the Work

Choosing the right scissor lift is influenced by what the machine will be doing — and where it will be doing it. Before renting one, you should be able to answer the following questions about your project:

  • At what height do your crews need to work?
  • How much weight do they need to carry to the work area?
  • Are there any space limitations to consider, such as a door frame that the machine needs to fit through?
  • What type and size of material are the crews elevating? Is platform size important?
  • Will the machine be working inside, outside or both?
  • What kinds of surfaces and ground conditions will the machine be working on?
  • Will there be a power source available onsite to charge the machine?
  • Are there any restrictions for indoor use of the machine?
  • How long does the machine need to run based on your crews’ shift schedules?
  • Are there specific tools or accessories that would help your crews get the work done?
  • Are there additional environmental regulations that you need to comply with (i.e., noise or emission pollution)?

Tip #2: Understand Your Choices

Most scissor lift models allow operators to complete a specific task, but the model selected will impact how efficiently a task is accomplished. When you head into an equipment provider, you’ll quickly discover that there are several differentiating factors among various models that will impact your rental choice. That’s why it’s imperative to do your research ahead of time so you can choose wisely.

First, consider the machine’s drive system (i.e. the system that actuates movement). Choosing a machine with the right system — hydraulic or electric — for the job depends on where the machine is working (inside, outside or both), as well as the types of surfaces and ground conditions the machine will be working on.

Hydraulic-drive systems take electrical energy from the batteries and convert it to hydraulic flow to power the machine’s lift, drive and steer functions. This requires hydraulic oil, hoses, fittings, manifolds and other components that need to be frequently inspected and maintained. So, although these types of lifts can be less costly to rent, they are not always less expensive to operate over time.

Electric-drive systems have batteries connected to the drive motors to drive the wheels, which makes them more efficient overall and significantly reduces the number of leak points. This is because they are engineered with fewer components than their hydraulic-drive counterparts.

As scissor lifts are often used in environmentally sensitive work areas, like clean rooms and data centers, leak protection systems for these machines are increasingly important. That’s why many OEMs, including JLG, have introduced leak containment systems that capture leaks and drips from the power unit and the steer cylinders, replacing the need to cover the underside of the machine with a diaper.

But, JLG, for example, isn’t focused solely on leak containment — we’re focused on eliminating leaks altogether. Advancements in technology today make it possible to design and engineer products differently, enabling us to bring hydraulic-free products, like all-electric scissor lifts, to market. All-electric systems are highly efficient, and the power required to run them is significantly less. As an example, power consumption on the JLG All-electric DaVinci lift is cut by nearly 70 percent.

The scissor lift’s drive system also impacts the second thing to consider: runtime required. Understanding how long a machine needs to run to complete the work is essential to renting the right machine. For example, will the scissor lift need to run on continuous shifts, or will your crews have the opportunity to charge the machine regularly?

A typical hydraulic- or electric-drive scissor lift takes eight to 10 hours to fully charge. This is a big deal for crews because it means the time between machine use has to be carefully calculated. By contrast, all-electric scissor lifts can go much longer. For example, the JLG DaVinci lift, which is powered by a single, lithium-ion battery, can go from not charged to fully charged in three and half hours, delivering substantial productivity gains. This means your crews could use this scissor lift for nearly 20 hours a day.

Additionally, lithium-ion battery technology offers opportunity charging. With as little as 20 minutes of charging, an all-electric scissor lift, like the JLG DaVinci model, could provide up to a couple of hours of power for your operators to finish their work.

Tip #3: Think About the Options

Understanding what other technologies and features are available on a rental scissor lift can also deliver significant jobsite benefits.

For example, is the scissor lift you plan to rent equipped with full drive at height capabilities? This functionality allows your operators to continue working at a fixed height, which comes in handy when running cables inside or outside along the length of a building or when changing light bulbs across individual lighting units in a parking lot. Without this capability, your operators will need to ascend and then descend each time they move the lift to the next work area.

Also, did you know that traditional slab scissor lifts cannot elevate when working on a side slope more than 1.5 degrees? But, some manufacturers, including JLG, now have technology that gives your operators a larger working envelope. For example, JLG slab scissor lifts are equipped with variable tilt technology, which shows your crews the maximum height they can achieve, before elevating. This is based on side-to-side tilt angles, as well as the current capacity in the platform, so it removes any guesswork that often results in having to descend and try again.

To offer even more versatility, many scissor lifts can be equipped with accessories in specific applications, making it a little bit easier for your crews to get the work done. Optional accessories and application-specific packages, such as panel carriers, pipe racks, machinist vices and on-machine welders, to name a few, should be evaluated as part of your rental.

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Speaking of accessories, does the rental unit come with a battery monitoring system? It’s not unheard of for machine batteries to die during the workday, causing a huge efficiency problem. Knowing how much charge is remaining in a machine’s battery pack and what can be done with it can drastically improve the machine’s efficiencies and performance on any jobsite.

To address this, some OEMs, including JLG, offer battery monitoring capabilities on their products. JLG’s technology, for example, is sophisticated enough to analyze the machine’s battery charge and share information, via a mobile app, on battery usage and diagnostic information on the battery and charger system.

As digital technology is continuously developing, you should ask your equipment provider what other apps are available on the machine you plan to rent. For instance, the JLG Mobile Control app allows operators to use their smart devices to load and unload a stowed scissor lift from a distance, rather than being next to or inside the platform of the machine. It also allows operators to remotely control the lift when positioning the machine into areas with low clearances, giving them a better view of the jobsite while moving equipment. Advances in technology like this help improve safety conditions and reduce potential damage to the working environment.

Tip #4: Recognize the Differences

Many believe scissor lifts are a somewhat commoditized product, but as you have read, they are far from that. Key features and technologies drive tangible jobsite benefits. Many of the scissor lifts available in rental fleets today may be similar, but they are not the same, which can make a big difference in a rental experience.

So, even though selecting the right scissor lift for a job will depend on you identifying both the type of work to be done, as well as the conditions where the work will be done, before renting, it’s best to investigate the models available. It’s important to not only review the specs, but to also know what features and technologies your crews will need to accomplish the task at hand — in the most efficient and productive manner possible.

Bob Begley is director of product management for scissor lifts, verticals and low-level access for JLG.

Rental for a Good Cause: EquipmentShare Unveils Patriotic Telehandler to Support Veterans Organizations

Equipment Share patriotic telehandler

EquipmentShare recently added a patriotically wrapped telehandler to its rental fleet to demonstrate its commitment to hiring and supporting veterans and service members. The Genie GTH-1056 telehandler is nicknamed “Tele-Hero” and is wrapped in camouflage and stars-and-stripes. Ten percent of the Tele-Hero’s rental proceeds will be donated to Welcome Home Inc. and Hire Heroes USA, two organizations that help veterans find safe housing and employment resources. EquipmentShare expects to donate more than $3,400 annually from the Tele-Hero’s rental proceeds alone. EquipmentShare’s philanthropic mission and workforce development initiatives both include supporting and hiring those who wore the uniform. The Tele-Hero is the first initiative of its kind that EquipmentShare has launched, and the company is excited to kick it off with one of its equipment partners, Genie, a global OEM of mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) and material lifts used in a wide range of industries around the world. For more info, visit equipmentshare.com.

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