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What Are Powered Access Platforms?

Posted by Charles Wilson 31st October 2018

Powered access platforms have revolutionised the business of working at height, but you might now be wondering what powered access platform you actually need for your project. There are many variations of these machines, although many of them fall into one of three categories: scissor lifts, boom lifts, or specialist.

Here at Charles Wilson Engineers Ltd, we have a lot of experience in access platforms – specifically powered access platforms – so we help you understand what you need with a guide in our latest blog post below.

Scissor Lift

an image of two scissor lifts

Many of us will be familiar with a scissor lift, so-called due to their ‘x’-shape mechanism reflecting the movement of a pair of scissors. Scissor lifts are generally quite versatile, although they only extend vertically, so are not as useful where obstacles have to be cleared.

Scissor lifts can often be used for jobs both indoors and out, thanks to their slim profile, yet sturdy stance. They can also come equipped with extendable decks that help with reaching further away from the centre of the scissor lift. The manoeuvrability of scissor lifts is another one of their strongest benefits.

Generally, scissor lifts are suited to construction projects. These include lighting, decorating, and surveying.

Boom Lift

an image of a boom lift

A boom lift, also known as a scissor lift, is another type of powered access platform. They have articulated ‘arms’, which means they can generally move vertically and horizontally to allow for better access to hard-to-reach places.

Boom lifts are also generally used for construction projects, specifically for power and telecommunication work (such as on overhead powerlines). There are even special versions used by firefighters as their nimble nature allows good access.

Specialist

Tracked Boom

Naturally, with things generally centred around construction, there are many variations that have been designed to help with different – and often very specific – situations. A prime example of this are ‘spider’ lifts or tracked boom lifts, which are usually very thin to fit through small gaps, but then have hydraulically extendable arms that allow for stability and balance when working at height.

There are then other variations that include truck-mounted, van-mounted, telehandlers, and more. All of these have been designed with certain situational criteria in mind, such as accessibility or ease or use.

Suitable for Most Projects

While this has been just a quick overview of the three main types of powered access platform, hopefully, it has shed a bit more light on what might work for you and your project in showing the strengths of the two main types.

In terms of specialist powered access platforms, there are countless variants designed for specific jobs, so if neither of the two main categories work for you it’s best to explore your options as there is always something for everyone.

Charles Wilson Engineers Ltd

If you’d like to hire powered access platforms, look no further than Charles Wilson Engineers Ltd. We have depots up and down the country that can help with boom lifts, scissor lifts, and other access platforms. You can contact us by calling 01582 763 122 or filling out our simple contact form.