A boom lift is an aerial work platform that enables workers to perform tasks safely at high elevations. It is used during many applications, such as cleaning windows on tall buildings, electrical and cable repair, and other tasks in which workers need access to high areas.
What Types of Boom Lifts Are Available?
Many types of boom lifts are available, including:
1. Articulating Boom Lifts
Also called a “knuckle” boom, this type of lift uses a bucket on a swiveling turntable at the end of an articulating arm. The unique design provides vertical and horizontal flexibility.
An articulating boom has a max vertical reach of 125 ft. and can extend horizontally to 75% of its height. The boom can also be extended in sections, allowing workers to maneuver up and over obstacles.
Articulating booms can be used for indoor and outdoor jobs. Indoor models are electrically powered and tend to be smaller than their outdoor counterparts. Outdoor knuckle booms are usually diesel-powered or can be towed to a worksite.
2. Telescopic Boom Lifts
Telescopic boom lifts provide more vertical height than other boom lifts. Like knuckle lifts, telescopic boom lifts have a bucket situated on the end of a telescopic arm, but the arm can only extend in a straight line. During use, the arm goes straight out horizontally, then goes up and down as needed. Because the arm can only move in one direction, telescopic booms are sometimes called “stick” booms.
With platform heights that range from 40 ft. to 80 ft, telescopic booms are ideal for work at tall buildings and other elevated work environments. However, the biggest telescopic boom lifts can reach up to 185 ft. in vertical height, which makes them ideal for a wide range of industrial projects.
To support working safely at heights, telescoping booms tend to have wider bases than articulating lifts. Rough-terrain telescoping booms that use stabilization require a work surface of 10 ft. or more. Yet, because they have a single boom, telescoping booms are easier to operate than articulating booms.
3. Atrium Lifts
Atrium lifts are a special type of articulated boom lift, since they don’t have wheels. Instead, atrium lifts use tracks (like those on excavators) for mobility. This ensures atrium lifts are safe to use on different terrains.
In terms of size and weight, atrium lifts are narrower and lighter than other boom lifts. This lets atrium lifts reach maximum heights up to 60 ft. In addition, atrium lifts can handle heavy loads and use folding outriggers to keep them anchored in place.
Also, the low ground pressure of atrium lifts allows them to be used indoors and outdoors. The chassis disperses an atrium lift’s weight over a wide area, so it can safely be used on lawns, pavement, marble, and other surfaces. Atrium lifts can be deployed in tight areas and where steep surface inclines make it unsafe to use self-propelled or scissor booms as well.
How to Evaluate Different Types of Man Lifts
As you evaluate different types of man lifts, there are three factors you need to consider to find the right lift, for the right job:
1. Maximum Height of the Workspace
Certain types of aerial lifts extend further than others. So, you need to select an aerial lift that corresponds to your worksite’s height.
2. Maximum Weight the Boom Can Support
Some types of man lifts can support more weight than others. As such, you need to consider how much weight your lift will need to support.
3. Whether the Boom Can Be Angled or Simply Lifted Straight Up and Down
Whereas some types of boom lifts can be angled, others only allow you to go up and down. Thus, you need to consider the task at hand — and which types of aerial lifts will help you complete this task.
When You Evaluate the Different Types of Aerial Lifts, Ask the Right Questions
With many types of boom lifts at your disposal, you need to make an informed decision. Now, let’s examine several factors you can use to evaluate different types of aerial lifts:
1. Job Site Terrain
Are you indoors or outdoors? Is the terrain smooth and level, or bumpy and inclined?
2. Access to the Job
Is the worksite easily accessible or hard to reach? Will you be working head-on, overhead, or underneath?
Will the job require both horizontal and vertical mobility? Or, do you only need to go straight up and down?
4. Work Requirements
How many workers will need to be on the platform? What kind of tools and equipment will the job require?
5. Job Site Access
Do you need a boom lift that can transport itself to the jobsite? Or, will the location and job conditions require a towable lift?
6. Weight Considerations
How much weight will you need to lift? How much weight can the job surface support?
Sign Up for Aerial Lift Safety Training from CertifyMeOnline.net
Regardless of which type of boom lift you choose, be sure to train and certify each operator on the specific model in use. In doing so, you can foster a safe work environment and guard against aerial lift accidents that can lead to injuries and fatalities.