After many years of test marketing and careful consideration, the Haulotte Group, L'Horme, France, officially entered the North American market in September 2001. Responding to North American demands, the company introduced the 40-foot HB 40 and the 44-foot, jib-equipped HB 44J in February 2002.
The demo machine at the Boom Lift Showcase was the HB 44J, which is equipped with a 4-foot 11-inch jib, offering a 140-degree range of motion (±70 degrees). Haulotte machines feature a CPU-based operating system. This electronic-management control system is common across all the company's IC scissor and boom lifts. With the assistance of a hand-held analyzer, a technician can manipulate both input and output functions, such as setting control thresholds and ramping. The CPU also provides diagnostic information for easier troubleshooting and repair.
Hall-effect joysticks (for drive and lift functions), supplied by DeltaTech Controls, have eliminated the need for contact points inside the control system. Output is directed to Sauer-Danfoss proportional control valves, which feature the ability to be manually overridden.
Haulotte is the only manufacturer still utilizing a worm drive to rotate the superstructure. Today, the more common method is to use a planetary drive with an integral brake.
Although the HB 44J at the Showcase was equipped with an air-cooled Deutz F3L 1011 diesel engine, Haulotte said it would soon make way for a Perkins engine. The model has yet to be determined. Few can argue with the service record of this highly efficient Deutz engine (saying that it is bulletproof may even be an understatement), but a water-cooled option is important. The current offering produces 38 horsepower at 2,400 rpm and turns a single Bosch Rexroth variable-displacement hydraulic pump, which provides a maximum flow of 22.4 gpm at 4,000 psi. The optional 49-horsepower GM 1.6-liter, water-cooled, dual-fuel engine is offered as a no-cost option only in North America.
Nearly all service points can be found below the high-swinging fiberglass cowlings. And if you can't reach something, the fixed cowling sections are designed to slip on and off the machine. The cowlings' steel framework seems to provide adequate support for the fiberglass skin. Beyond the CPU, the remaining features of the machine are less technical. Common to modern aerial work platform design, the engine swings out for servicing. Four-wheel drive is standard, but there is no oscillating axle option at this time.
The HB 44J has three drive ranges, one of which is a differential-lock mode for maximum traction. In this mode, the unit's hydraulic drive is taken from a series to a series-parallel hydraulic flow configuration. Changing drive modes requires that the machine come to a complete stop before the operator can shift from one range to another. Haulotte feels this is a safety feature to prevent the operator from accidentally bumping the range selector switch, because doing so would produce pronounced deceleration. Also note that foam-filled tires are standard.
The HB 44J's boom assembly utilizes a single hydraulically extended telescopic boom section. Large hockey-puck-style slide/wear pads are located on the bottom and sides of the boom tubes. The pads can be adjusted from the outside of the boom and are located for easy inspection and replacement. The HB 40 family is Haulotte's first to use an external power track, which features a simple, open design.
Although Haulotte has grouped the gas and hydraulic-oil filler tubes together (usually a no-no), the use of a bolted flange over the oil cap should prevent filling mistakes. The 8-foot-long platform on the Showcase unit is optional; the standard platform measures 31x70 inches and has 180 degrees rotation. Rotation speed can be adjusted via manual flow valves located between the tip of the boom and the platform mount.
Haulotte delivers a couple of mainstream straight-boom lifts that seem to adhere to the company's philosophy of building machines that are robust, reliable, and easy to maintain.