The TB42 telescopic boom lift from Snorkel, St. Joseph, Mo., first landed on jobsites in 1977. Although the company has not made any major changes to the TB42 since its introduction, this workhorse has experienced a series of subtle upgrades over the years.
One such update was the new platform option that Snorkel displayed at the Boom Lift Showcase. While some operators prefer a swing-gate entry and others a slide-bar entry, Snorkel gives the option of having both — plus the ability to enter at three different places.
Snorkel was the only manufacturer at the event to utilize a three-section boom. The mid and tip sections of the boom feature the company's hallmark extruded aluminum alloy construction. The use of aluminum alloy allows the company to reduce the gross vehicle weight of the TB42 base model to a low 10,600 pounds by incorporating a 30-x60-inch platform. If you opt for the larger 30-x96-inch platform, an additional 960 pounds must be added to the chassis.
The three-section boom also translates into an overall stowed length of 23 feet 6 inches — the shortest in its class. A seldom-mentioned fact about the TB42 is that with just a little bit of extra effort, three of these machines can be loaded on a truck.
The machine's power track is external and totally enclosed, never exposing the internal track sections on the top or bottom. Service and inspection are made simple, as the single-piece side-panel can be dropped by loosening a few bolts.
Engine placement on the TB42 is also unique. It does not swing out like most current designs — but then again, it doesn't need to swing out. Mounted in the center rear of the narrow superstructure, the engine is easily accessed from either side of the machine via metal swing-up doors. The engine location also adds for better stability, allowing it to replace some of the counterweight. The radiator is mounted at the rear and can be reached simply by removing the rear cover.
The Showcase machine was equipped with a 65-horsepower Cummins B33 diesel engine, which can be swapped with an optional Deutz air-cooled diesel or GMC-supplied gas engine at no extra charge. As with all the units at the event, this machine was equipped with an optional four-wheel drive system.
Snorkel was the first to utilize flow- and pressure-compensating variable-displacement pumps. It also has clung to a proven relay-based electro/hydraulic control system, which utilizes HAWE-supplied valves that are metered through tried-and-true rheostat controls. The only microprocessor on the unit is the engine management system. Controls input comes from a pair of large omni-directional joysticks — one controlling drive and steer, and the other controlling lift and rotate.
Moreover, Snorkel was also the first to use visual-cue directional arrows. These bright yellow and blue arrows on the upper control station and the chassis are clearly visible and offer immediate directional orientation.
In addition to the standard TB42, Snorkel offers a high-capacity model and a sister machine with a jib. The high-capacity TB42 offers 650 or 700 pounds of unrestricted capacity, depending on the platform size, and incorporates added ballast to achieve this rating. The TB47J features a 5-foot jib, which extends the platform height to 47 feet. A glazier package is a popular option on the TB42.
Although the TB42 continues to be a popular workhorse, the purchase of Snorkel by the Tanfield Group gives the company additional capital to do some long overdue modernization.