Equipment Type

How Access Use Grew Through Recession

Bargains on used machines orphaned by defunct manufacturers lured new AWP users, and surviving manufacturers can't keep up with orders since the economy's recovery

August 01, 2005

 

Genie
Genie's 33-foot GS3390 will lift 2,500 pounds. Optional oscillating axles can handle very rough sites. Genie expects more RT-scissor use because of indications of a shift in tilt-up methods to raise the walls and roof before pouring the floor. "It makes some sense to pour the slab after the roof is on," says Brad Allen, product manager.
JLG
JLG invested in remanufacturing used work platforms in 1991. "Thirty-five percent of our total business will come from the aftermarket-services area within five years," says Craig Paylor, JLG's senior vice president of sales. He estimates that the operation has achieved about one quarter of that goal.
 


 

This century started with a recession that sounded the death knell for venerable names such as Manlift, saw Terex put its brand aside to advance Genie, and chased UpRight's manufacturing out of North America. But tough times also primed the pump for unprecedented growth in the use of aerial-work platforms (AWPs).

"Recessions always look negative when you're in them - you don't see the silver lining until they're over," says Craig Paylor, senior vice president of sales, marketing and customer support for JLG. "During the last downturn, we had so many machines traded back to us -- machines whose manufacturers had gone out of business -- that we were reselling some of them at $1,000 to $1,500. It brought a lot of users into the market that wouldn't pay $5,000 for a used AWP, but for $1,500 they put their aluminum ladders and scaffolding away.

"And once you set your ladder aside, you're not likely to climb on it again," says Paylor. "So the recession was pushing the product down to different tiers of users who weren't users before."

Bad times came at an opportune time. A few access-equipment manufacturers were finding out that taking old AWPs on trade and reselling them is one of the uniquely profitable remarketing schemes in the construction-equipment industry.

"Dirt equipment, and most other construction machinery, is typically operated in rough working conditions and gets beat up on the jobsite," says Craig Beymer, operation manager for Genie Access Services. "AWPs are designed to put somebody up in the air where they can work. It's not beating itself up and because it's lifting people, the necessary safety factors give it structural integrity that is going to last a long, long, long time.

"You replace wear items -- hoses and cylinders, controls and platforms," Beymer continues. "But a lot of the original value of the unit is in the material and the structure, and there's typically very little structural work necessary to put the machine back in top shape."

JLG made its first major remarketing effort way back in 1991. Paylor himself headed up that venture, which employs factory technicians to recondition machines -- restoring and enhancing them to customer-approved appearance and performance specifications. By 1996, the JLG Equipment Services division had become a $50 million revenue stream. Paylor says JLG has remanufactured "well over a couple thousand machines."

Genie launched its Access Services program in 1999 with three levels of service. Annually Inspected machines are brought up to Genie standards. Refurbished Units get the annual-inspection treatment plus new controls and rubber parts, a new platform, and fresh paint. Genie also contracts with lift owners to remanufacture units.

Skyjack and Snorkel jumped on the aftermarket-services bandwagon after the turn of the century. But sales of used AWPs provided early adopters a timely stream of revenue during the recession. Everybody suffered, but the market leaders had money to invest in market share.

JLG bought the rights for all Grove Manlift products as part of the deal for Manitowoc's Toucan line. The move kept the Manlift product line away from competitors.

Before Grove's exit from the AWP market early in 2004, though, JLG and Genie had already been slugging it out for Manlift market share. Leaders of both marketing organizations claim their most significant product introductions of the past two years-JLG's Ultraboom Series, and Genie's Z-135/70 and its Superboom family.

"We found that there were certain specifications in many buildings that were designed around the capabilities of the Grove 131," says Brad Allen, product manager and team leader at Genie. "We'd ask designers why they put things where they did and they'd say, 'Because this is how far the Grove can reach.'

"When we designed the Z-135, the target was not just to beat JLG," says Allen. "We designed it to meet or exceed every part of the envelope of the Grove machine."

Genie applied boom-controlling concepts refined on its Z-80 to the 135-foot articulated boom. The X-Chassis addresses durability issues associated with telescoping axles. Axles pivot around four vertical kingpins mounted under the carrier to extend to working position.

"With the Ultraboom Series, we took the lessons learned and basic design from our 80-foot boom lifts and applied them to new, larger models," says JLG's Paylor. "As a result, the operator has the feel of operating an 80-foot lift at heights up to 135 feet.'"

JLG's 1350SJP ties the controls to computer-operated safety limits, "The 1350SJP automatically adjusts the reach limits for the operator, while providing the greatest total work envelope in this size of boom," says Paylor.

Accessories have become significant in AWP marketing. JLG builds all of its 80-foot-and-larger booms with SkyPower as standard equipment. A generator rated at 7,500 watts is built into the machine, and leads run inside the boom to supply power to the operator. (Genie includes a similar generator on its Superbooms.) Paylor says SkyPower is the most popular of JLG's Workstation In The Sky accessories, and SkyWelder is No. 2, with about half as many sales.

"With the Workstation-in-the-Sky concept, we passed through an important transition," says Paylor. "We first sold aerial-work platforms because they are safer than ladders and scaffolding. With the accessories, while work platforms are still very safe, people are buying them because they can help do work a lot faster."

Paylor says customer surveys support continued accessorized lifting. "And you also have to look at the bottom line -- profitability," he says. "Any time we sell a machine with one or more Workstation items on it, JLG recognizes somewhere between 2 and 4 percent increased revenue with greater profitability. The good news is that the machine can rent for 5 to 8 percent more, too."

Of course, strong non-residential building construction will drive sales of AWP accessories, but Genie's Allen predicts that accessorized lifting is a market shift that will outlast this economic cycle.

"Accessories that give the renter a real financial advantage -- welders, generators, panel-handling attachments -- they generate a return on investment and meet a customer need," says Allen. "I believe that in five to 10 years, every boom will have some kind of generator on it.

"And many more of them will have hybrid systems -- electric drive and batteries with a generator on board," says Allen. "I think, as electric motors in the sizes we need become more common in transportation, they'll become more affordable and we'll be able to offer them on more lifts.

"When the electric-motor companies catch up with the automakers' demand, they're going to start looking around to see where else they can sell their technology. We're starting to see it happen already."

Allen also reports growth in the number of scissor lifts used to fit high-tech buildings with wiring and other infrastructure. With most lifts -- articulated boom, telescopic boom, and scissor lifts -- from most manufacturers currently on backorder, there's little doubt that use of AWPs has increased dramatically. In time we'll know if it's a shift that will raise the industry's watermark.

In the meantime, the most competitive manufacturers are stretching their technologies and services in the hope of increasing their share of the expanding market. It's not a bad time to be a buyer.

 

Scope of the Product Lines

             

Articulated Boom Aerial-Work Platforms

Manufacturer

Number Models

Platform Height

Horizontal Reach

Up-and-over clearance

Capacity (lbs.)

Weight (lbs.)

Bil-Jax

5

34’5”-50’0”

21’0”-30’6”

N/A

300-475

3,112-5,181

Genie

13

28’10”-135’0”

10’8”-29’9”

12’6”-75’6”

500-600

14,600-44,900

Haulotte

7

32’10”-98’5”

21’11”-69’11”

17’3”-37’3”

500-551

3,006-45,853

JLG

19

30’0”-150’0”

20’0”-79’3”

13’1”-80’0”

500

14,600-57,000

Niftylift

13

25’3”- 65'3"

11’6”-43’4”

N/A

265-500

1,870-13,425

Snorkel

3

40’10”-60’0”

23’7.5”-43’1”

16’2”-19’3”

500

11,200-24,600

Ui Distribution

5

37’7”-62’0”

18’4”-35’0”

17’8.6”-30’0”

475-500

7,470-23,700

Telescopic Boom Aerial-Work Platforms

Manufacturer

Number models

Platform height

Horizontal reach

Capacity (lbs.)

Width, stowed

Weight (lbs.)

Genie

10

40’0”-125’0”

31’8”-80’0”

500-750

7’6”-8’2”

11,650-44,640

Haulotte

7

39’7”-75’5”

34’9”-57’4”

500-790

7’6”-8’1”

13,227-30,522

JLG

19

40’0”-135’0”

34’0”-80’0”

500-2,000

7’8”-8’2”

12,525-44,750

Man Lift Engineering

4

40’0”-151’0”

N/A-80’0”

500

5’9”-8’2”

17,500-45,000

Scanlift

2

54’0”-72’0”

N/A-36’1”

500-507

6’4”

6,657-9,471

Snorkel

12

37’0”-126’0”

32’0”-76’8”

500-600

7’11.5”-8’6”

10,500-41,840

Ui Distribution

4

40’0”-80’0”

33’6”-72’0”

500-600

7’11”-8’0”

12,300-32,500

Scissor-Lift Aerial Platform

Manufacturer

Number of models

Platform height

Capacity (lbs.)

Width, stowed

Wheelbase

Weight (lbs.)

Genie

17

15’0”-53’0”

500-2,500

2’6”-7’6”

4’4”-9’4”

2,563-16,616

Haulotte

11

14’7”-53’0”

500-1,980

2’5”-7’5”

4’6”-9’1”

2,976-15,070

JLG

12

18’9”-50’0”

500-2,500

2’6”-7’10”

5’3”-10’2”

2,750-17,200

Lift-A-Loft

16

15’0”-31’8”

750-2,250

2’7”-7’10”

N/A

1,960-7,650

MEC

7

15’0”-32’0”

500-1,250

1’7.5”-3’11”

4’2”-5’11”

2,725-5,900

Skyjack

16

15’0”-50’0”

500-2,500

2’8”-7’8”

4’7”-9’11”

2,400-14,820

Snorkel

7

19’0”-39’10”

500-1,750

2’6”-7’0”

4’6”-7’5.5”

2,950-9,300

Ui Distribution

18

15’0”-50’0”

500-1,500

2’6”-7’6”

N/A

2,300-13,653

To compare the specifications of individual models of articulated-boom and telescopic-boom aerial-work platforms as well as scissors lifts, go to ConstructionEquipment.com.

 

Average Access-Equipment Costs
Platform Height (feet) List Price Hourly Rate*
* Monthly ownership cost (based on list price and 4.25 percent interest) plus operating expenses (including fuel at $1.98 per gallon and $38.11 per hour for mechanics' wages) divided by 176 hours
Source: EquipmentWatch.com, 800-669-3282 or www.EquipmentWatch.com
Articulating-Boom Aerial Platforms    
31 to 50 $60,330 $19
51 to 70 $102,680 $30
71 to 100 $164,610 $44
Telescopic-Boom Aerial Platforms
31 to 50 $73,300 $26
51 to 70 $114,430 $37
71 to 100 $166,060 $53
Scissor-Lift Aerial Platforms
31 to 50 $55,640 $20
51 to 70 $85,200 $27


Web Resources
  Bil-Jax www.biljax.com
Genie www.genieindustries.com Haulotte US www.haulotte.com
JLG Industries www.jlg.com Lift-A-Loft www.liftaloft.com
Man & Material Lift Engineering (MLE) www.manliftengineering.com MEC Aerial Work Platforms www.mec-awp.com
NiftyLift www.niftylift.com ReachMaster www.reachmaster.us
Scanlift www.kesla.com Skyjack www.skyjackinc.com
Snorkel www.snorkelusa.com Ui Distribution www.uidistribution.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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