Access International delves into the trends and choices in the fast-moving electric- and hybrid-powered access equiment sector
Access equipment, powered by alternative sources to the traditional combustion engine, is already part and parcel of the industry, with slab scissors, for example, traditionally powered by batteries. But it is the advance into electric-powered rough terrain equipment that has sparked the imagination of equipment producers in recent years.
The common view is that hybrid and electric will continue its surge as emission regulations across the world expand, furthermore they offer more flexible machines for use indoors, outdoors and across a range of applications.
Then, there is the debate as to whether electric will trump hybrid long term and the issue of what type of battery to use. The use of lithium is increasingly popular and seemingly now has the edge over lead acid batteries in the rough terrain product categories.
One of the longest standing users of hybrid and electric technology is the tracked platform. Accordingly, Hinowa is one of the pioneers in this area and has launched a number of products that are pushing the boundaries of hybrid and specifically electric technology.
As Davide Fracca, sales and marketing director at Hinowa, says, “The regulations governing CO2 emissions and noise levels are becoming increasingly stringent and, in the near future, many cities will no longer allow access to vehicles with diesel engines. Consequently, bi-energy and electric technology is a revolutionary approach, responding to the need for high performance and efficiency with low emissions.”
Most recently, the Italian manufacturer launched the TeleCrawler13 – the first tracked aerial platform offering full direct electric drive, without the use of any hydraulic oil. While other equipment types have already moved into this area, this advancement in tracked platforms for general outdoor use highlights the direction in which the industry is moving.
The electric track motors used on the TeleCrawler13 have an IP67 protection factor, meaning the machine can work in muddy and dusty environments. The absence of oil on the translation system also eliminates the risk of leakage.
Other features of the 13m working height compact model is automatic control of the telescopic boom, go home and go back functions. Without the basket it measures just 3,695mm in length, 1,947mm in height and 748mm in width. Moreover, the stabilization area reduces to 2450mm x 2901mm, smaller than a single parking space. The company plans to expand the TC electric driven series by adding further models.
Hinowa has used lithium-ion battery packs on its aerial platforms for more than 10 years. Its decision to use lithium batteries instead of lead acid, or other types, is that lithium requires no maintenance, and the machine can be used during recharging, as well as there being the absence of memory effect. When it comes to the argument for total cost of ownership, Fracca says, “When you consider you can allow between 2000 and 3000 complete discharge-recharge cycles, therefore for the full life of the machine, it means that its viability abundantly exceeds the investment return time.”
Germany-based tracked specialist Teupen is fairly emphatic about which battery option it prefers. It’s most recent electric/hybrid launches are the LEO13GT, LEO30Tplus and the battery-powered LEO35Tplus. They are designed for cost-effective lifting, using lead acid batteries with 8V cells that are available worldwide, and used in golf carts. Company CEO Martin Borutta says, “Lead acid batteries are easily available, cheap, reliable and use non-hazardous materials.”
The manufacturer plans to launch further electric and hybrid models in the future. The will be, “Fully electric models with electric drive motors and hybrid models that are gas and battery-powered,” says Borutta.
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