What’s MEWP? Let’s Catch Up with Trends and Products in the Aerial Lift Market

Genie GS 1932m lift

Mobile elevating work platforms, also known as MEWPs, enable crews to carry out high-reaching tasks — whether they’re accessing tall shelves in a warehouse or washing windows in between buildings. There are many machines that fall under this category, such as scissors, telehandlers, boom lifts, etc., and there are a variety of manufacturers. Just like any equipment category, there are trends to watch in the MEWP industry. Here are three.

Electrification

As more and more construction, remodeling and maintenance tasks shift to crowded cities and indoors, MEWPs are needing to conform to meet noise and air pollution requirements. Electrification helps achieve that.

“Electrification continues to be one of the biggest trends in the industry,” says Zach Gilmor, Genie product manager. “Although hybrid and electric technologies certainly aren’t new anymore, the pace of adoption is accelerating as jobsite regulations become more stringent, as electrified equipment offers better and more efficient performance, and as costs to implement the technology continue to come down. Finding the place where these factors — performance, cost and demand — come together is really at the heart of Genie’s approach to electrification. We want to be sure we’re delivering the right technology, on the right products, at the right time so we’re delivering the performance equipment operators need and greater value for equipment owners and their businesses.”

About five years ago, Genie introduced its FE hybrid boom that allows operators to work for a full day in all-electric mode, recharge the batteries in hybrid mode and work a full week on a single tank of gas. Genie recently included the AC electric drive (E-Drive) on its slab scissors in November 2020. Gilmor says E-Drive provides more runtime per charge, reduced maintenance costs, a lower total cost of ownership and industry-leading jobsite performance.

JLG has been an advocate for electrification for many years and continues that support with its DaVinci AE1932 all-electric scissor lift (more to come on that later).

“Electrification is not new — in fact, many JLG products, including our slab scissor lifts and vertical lifts, have been electrified for more than 20 years — but mainly in industrial applications,” explains Rick Smith, director of global product training for JLG. “Today, demand for more eco-friendly products is pushing for the adoption of electric products into heavier construction applications, where our rough terrain scissor lift models, as well as our boom lifts are used. Over the next decade, that’s where we anticipate seeing significant growth in the industry’s portfolio of electrified machines.”

Micro Machines

Skyjack SJ12 E lift

Need to reach high in a small space? You’re not alone. The demand for low-level/micro MEWPs will continue to grow as operators find themselves in applications where ladders don’t quite cut it but a full-size work platform is too big. Skyjack has new micro scissor lifts coming to market this year: the SJ3013 for the ANSI market and the SJ3014 for the CE market.

“Designed to easily access tight spaces, with quiet and swift electric drive and low floor load ratings, Skyjack’s micro combines low cost of ownership with Skyjack’s renowned product support — all at a price that means business,” says Malcolm Early, VP of marketing for Skyjack. “In North America, the demand for a wind-rated machine was greater, so platform and working height were reduced to accommodate that with ANSI SJ3013. This has a platform height of 13 ft, working height of 19 ft and is wind rated for one person.”

Both the SJ3013 and the SJ3014 include variable speed rear-wheel electric drive, a 20-ft roll-out extension deck, consistent torque even at its maximum 25 percent gradeability and is rated for two people. The compact size of the new models allows them to fit on most standard elevators and confined workspaces, and the SJ3013 easily fits through a standard doorway without folding its rails.

Introduced in May 2021, Genie’s GS-1432m and GS-1932m micro scissors wow with their performance, improved battery life and a lower total cost of ownership. With a 500-lb capacity, the Genie GS-1432m and GS-1932m micro scissors feature a 32-in.-wide platform and 2-ft extension deck, ensuring good access to low level work locations. They can drive through doorways with standard fixed guardrails, be transported in standard elevators and feature front-wheel drive with a zero degree inside turning radius. AC electric drive (Genie’s E-Drive) means brushless, fully-sealed and maintenance-free AC E-Drive motors, delivering 30 percent more run time on a single charge. The GS-1432m weighs less than 2,000 lbs with a max indoor height of 14 ft, 1 in. (outdoor 12 ft). The GS-1932m has a weight of 2,600 lbs and features a max indoor height of 18 ft, 2 in. (outdoor 15 ft). Fun fact: These versatile machines earned a 2021 Compact Equipment Innovative Iron Award.

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Telematics

Crews and rental houses need to keep track of their machines, and telematics provides a variety of digital monitoring services from maintenance to geofencing for equipment. Skyjack created its ELEVATE telematics product to specifically address MEWP concerns.

“Traditional telematics systems have been taken from on-road products which has created barriers to adoption for off road fleets,” says Early. “Barriers such as monitoring too many and not the right data points, excessive data costs, monthly license fees and more. Combining customer feedback and the expertise of our Skyjack engineering team, we have identified and optimized the most important data for our machines.”

Skyjack’s latest digital offering is ELEVATE Live, and it provides access to critical machine information to operators including the machine’s current state of health, pre-use inspection guides and familiarization materials through a simple QR code. Early adds that putting this information into the operators’ hands gives them more resources than ever before and reduces the workload for rental companies.

JLG’s ClearSky telematics got a productivity boost when the company introduced its new remote analyzer reader (RAR) in February 2020. According to JLG, the RAR allows service departments to remotely assess a machine’s set-up and personalities to diagnose qualitative operational issues, check the on/off status of its connected technologies or review its last 25 fault codes. Owners and operators can view the info in a single sheet summary format through the ClearSky portal for most JLG boom, scissor and telehandler models equipped with a CAN device.

Late last year, JLG unveiled a Bluetooth Analyzer and Bluetooth Analyzer Reader feature which is integrated into the JLG Mobile Control App and is supplemental to the RAR. Users can view and edit machine parameters on their mobile device with the new Bluetooth Analyzer. JLG says the Bluetooth Analyzer Reader gives users the ability to view a summary of requested machine analyzer menus, as well as the ability to download and share files through a user’s smart device. Another telematics offering is the Genie Lift Connect program.

“Leveraging the Genie Lift Connect telematics solution, we launched a new add-on feature to control machine access, called Access Manager,” says Anja Groebner, director of connected assets and value-added services for Genie. “Through Access Manager, rental companies have the capability to remotely manage access to their fleet and assign only authorized operators to a machine. This significantly improves the security of the equipment on the jobsite and can ensure only trained operators can use the equipment.”

Sinoboom is hopping on the telematics train and will be announcing a new partnership in the coming months for North America. Sinoboom Europe recently announced a partnership with Trackunit. The company is confident this move will give rental companies peace of mind knowing they can monitor their Sinoboom fleet no matter where their equipment is located.

“Similar to other technology trends, telematics is increasingly important in running your fleet efficiently and aiding in remote troubleshooting when needed, so Sinoboom is excited to partner with a leader in the industry,” says Trevor Collins, Sinoboom North America service manager.

In Demand: MEWPs are Needed in So Many Applications. JLG’s Shashank Bhatia Pairs Them with Their Ideal Jobsites.

JLG Davinci lift

Electric machines like the JLG DaVinci AE1932 scissor lift are ideal for indoor applications.

All product classes are in high demand at the moment, but there are a few key trends causing specific category growth in the coming year, including urbanization, the rise of warehouse construction and data center growth.

  • Urbanization — Population growth and a larger percentage of families gravitating toward city centers is resulting in buildings that are taller with narrower space between them. With that, the demand for compact equipment, higher capacity models and higher reaching machines is on the rise — everything from micro scissor lifts to our ultra boom lifts. JLG’s smallest scissor lifts, the 13-, 15- and 19-ft models, as well as our mid-sized boom lifts, the 40-, 60- and 80-ft models, are ideally spec’d for work in urban areas, and we continue to see high demand for these products year-over-year.
  • Warehousing — One only needs to drive down any major Interstate to observe the increase in warehouse construction. Going back even a few years, online shopping was not what it is today, and the pandemic further accelerated online demand. Warehouse construction often requires continuous placement of utilities at a fixed height along the length of a building. To match this application, electric machines, particularly higher lifting scissor lifts like our 40- and 47-ft models, offer this capability.
  • Data Centers — The world continues to become more and more connected. That means data center construction is also on the rise. Indoor work at data centers, requires lightweight, environmentally friendly machines that can be operated in confined areas or on suspended floors with weight restrictions and in between sensitive storage systems, servers and application delivery controllers. This is one type of application where electric machines, like the DaVinci all-electric lift shine.

Exciting Products Galore

A new year brings excitement for new things: A vacation, a long-awaited home renovation, chips and queso after wisdom tooth extraction (just me?). Well for MEWP manufacturers, the excitement comes in showcasing products that they have designed, engineered and built with so much care and expertise. Let’s see what JLG, Genie, Skyjack and Sinoboom are anxious to share with potential users.

JLG

Early last year, JLG officially brought its DaVinci AE1932 all-electric scissor lift to the market after debuting the machine at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020. The first of its kind in the industry, the DaVinci lift offers operators a 20 percent greater, 600-lb platform capacity for both indoor and outdoor work. The lift can travel two times faster and charges three and half times faster than a standard lift.

“Every component of the machine is optimized, allowing it to be powered with a single lithium-ion battery without a compromise to performance,” says Jennifer Stiansen, director of marketing, JLG. “It even recovers energy while the platform is being lowered, which contributes to a 70 percent decrease in power consumption and a longer battery life per charge. Its single lithium-ion battery is backed by a class-leading warranty and is expected to last 120+ months, so owners should never have to replace a battery during the machine’s lifespan.”

Each wheel on the DaVinci AE1932 is controlled independently to reduce tire wear and limit damage to sensitive flooring — making it perfect for indoor operation. The AE1932 also features an intuitive steering system, allowing operators to easily maneuver the machine into and around, narrow-access and space-restricted areas to get work done where it’s needed. The exclusive DaVinciGO app, which comes standard on the DaVinci AE1932, can be used on iOS and Android devices to view, diagnose and troubleshoot JLG’s all-electric machine in real time, from any location.

Genie

In 2021, Genie launched the GTH-1056 telehandler, giving operators the ability to lift 5,000 lbs at a maximum height of 56 ft, 7 in. and 3,000 lbs at 42 ft. Operators can choose between three powertrain options — a 120-hp Deutz engine with four-speed powershift transmission and a 74-hp Deutz Tier 4 Final engine with three-speed powershift transmission or with continuously variable transmission. Genie says the 74-hp, DEF-free engine option is a low-maintenance solution that’s perfect for rental applications. Genie also introduced its S-80 J boom lift in 2021, complete with a leading unrestricted platform capacity of 660 lbs and 55 ft of horizontal reach for access at the top of the envelope.

“The S-80 J is equipped with the exclusive Genie 4-point TraX system — making it the first and only 80-ft boom lift to be available as a tracked option,” says Sean Larin, Genie’s senior product manager, booms. “Genie TraX provides exceptional terrainability and lower contact pressure for a smooth drive on rough ground conditions and reduced damage when operating on sensitive ground surfaces, such as wet grass, mud, sand and snow, as well as on harder, uneven gravel, rock, concrete or asphalt-based surfaces.”

Skyjack

New from Skyjack in 2022 is its SJ12 E and SJ16 E vertical mast lifts. The all-new SJ12 E and SJ16 E lifts feature working heights of 18 ft and 21 ft, 6 in., respectively, and are modeled off the company’s award-winning SJ20 E vertical mast lift. These zero-emission machines also have an improved duty cycle which means less charging, less power consumption and a lower carbon footprint.

“Both units feature the new green ECO label accompanied by an ECO Matrix that details additional sustainability benefits over previous models,” says Early. “The E in the product names signifies electric drive by means of dual direct drive AC electric motors and gearbox combination which provides up to 30 percent improvement in duty cycles. Both units also feature up to 70 percent less hydraulic connections.”

Another exciting machine is Skyjack’s SJ9664 RT rough terrain scissor lift. The new model makes work at seven stories possible without asking customers to jump to a specialized class. Skyjack’s SJ9664 RT boasts a reinforced scissor stack that promotes increased rigidity, simplified e-lowering and an on-board diagnostic display.

“Using an axle-based four-wheel drive system and SmartTorque technology, the SJ9664 RT offers an optimized balance of engine horsepower, torque and hydraulic performance, creating a cost-effective solution for emission regulations and controls,” says Early. “The SJ9664 RT uses a smaller Tier 4 Final Kubota engine, while delivering the same on-site performance as higher-powered units.”
Sinoboom

The TB660J Plus telescopic boom lift from Sinoboom made its grand debut at the ARA Show in October 2021. Collins says the company has received great customer feedback with many compliments about the machine’s smooth controls. The TB660J Plus telescopic booth lift uses a Rexroth brand controller that provides precise controller monitoring giving the operator better control and stability of the lift. Another feature includes an industry-leading 7-in. LED display at the base of the machine, providing the operator or technician with easy-to-read live data monitoring.

“Our TB660J Plus telescopic boom lift features 1,000-lb restricted/661-lb unrestricted capacity,” says Collins. “Designed for strong off-road performance, this boom lift features patented anti-skid technology and a full-time oscillating axle, coupled with 45 percent gradeability. Our favorite technology feature is the 7-in. intelligent display screen that stands out from the crowd. The vibrant screen allows for easy checking of machine status and fault diagnosis, reducing downtime. You can expect to see additional boom models in 2022 coming to the North American market.”

Pam Kleineke is managing editor of Compact Equipment.

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