Equally comfortable working indoors or outside, spider lifts are increasingly recognised as the superheroes of the powered access world. Construction Plant News takes a look at the reasons why.
Tracked booms – also known as spider lifts – are highly prized as problem-solvers for working at height.
Garry Buck, founder and owner of Viking Access, says his Hinowa tracked booms have enabled him to win business after other hire companies said the job could not be done.
B&E Boys Ltd, based in the Rossendale valley in Lancashire, required an access platform in order to erect a sign, do some pointing, and inspect some guttering at a former mill. The task required 14 metres of outreach at 15m height to reach a chimney – and in order to reach the job site, the machine had to climb two ramps and pass through an opening just 3m high. The access platform also had to be dual fuel, so that it could work in and around the building.
Two well-known access rental companies both said it couldn’t be done. However, Garry Buck of Viking Access assessed the site and came up with a solution – the Hinowa Lightlift 26.14 tracked boom.
Garry said: “This is the reason why we run Hinowa tracked booms – they really can achieve things that would be impossible for other boom lifts.”
Based in Kent, Instant Access has supplied boom lifts, tracked booms, scissor lifts, and truck mounts for more than 20 years.
The company recently acquired the first 18m hybrid Ommelift tracked boom in the UK and is getting superb returns on its investment. It has found a great niche for the Ommelift 18.40 RXJ, which is frequently used for NHBC standard inspections on new-build housing.
Colin Sutcliffe of Instant Access said: “The key advantage of using this boom is that its reach means it doesn’t have to be close to the house in order to inspect the roof. It has effectively replaced the need for scaffold, which was more time-consuming and costly. It has more ‘up and over’ capability and the most outreach of machine in its class.”
The 18.40 is what Ommelift calls a true hybrid, with a combination of diesel engine and battery-powered motor. When using diesel, every operation actually charges up the battery, meaning it can effectively do two shifts. Chris Park, Operations Director at Instant Access, says this versatility is delivering superb utilisation rates.
“The beauty of the Ommelift is that it can be working outdoors in the day time on the engine, then at night it can switch to battery power for work indoors, such as a shopping centre.”
Eight reasons to choose a tracked boom
1. Tow and go
Most tracked booms are compact and lightweight enough to fit on a trailer, making them low-cost and easy to transport compared to standard boom lifts.
2. A bit of rough
Tracked booms are designed to cope with rough terrain and soft ground – they can tackle most slopes and even set up on soft or uneven terrain.
3. Double up
The baskets of most tracked booms – such as the Hinowa range – are designed to carry up to two people with tools. This helps to improve productivity.
4. Tight fit
These machines have incredibly compact dimensions when in the stowed position – almost all will pass through a garden gateway or through a standard doorway.
5. Under pressure
The crawler tracks ensure that the weight of the machine is well dispersed, meaning it doesn’t damage expensive interior flooring or tear up manicured lawns.
6. Up and over
Articulated booms such as the Hinowa range provide superb “up and over” reach, enabling you to access areas over obstacles such as fences and walls, as well as rivers and streams.
7. Power options
Most tracked booms have a diesel or petrol engine and the ability to work off mains electricity. However some such as Hinowa also offer Lithium battery models which are great for contracts requiring zero emissions.
8. Flexible friend
True hybrid machines such as those available from Ommelift break new ground when it comes to utilisation rates – they can work outside on the engine in the day time; then inside in a shopping centre at night.