15.10.2001

Vertikal Check!

Vertikal Check is designed to allow users and buyers of lifting equipment to directly compare like with like. A team of independent experts was assembled for the tests in which all the principal dimensions and specifications of the machines were measured according to strictly defined criteria. The results make interesting reading as they highlight the fact that some phrases which are widely used in the industry can mean very different things to different manufacturers.

The test took place in Germany at the end of the annual Platformers’ Days meeting. This informal gathering of Germany’s access industry takes place in the rural grounds of a hotel/equestrian centre – ideal terrain in which to test the machines. The six machines were checked by Joachim Metzner, managing director of Bertram Access Platforms, Adrian van der Geer, head of engineering at Mateco (one of the largest platform hire companies in Europe), and Reinhard Willenbrock, managing director of Willenbrock Concept. Recording their findings were Tim Whiteman and Ruediger Kopf of Cranes & Access and Kran & Bühne.

Our test subjects were articulating boom platforms with a working height of around 16 metres. Participating companies were: Genie; Haulotte; JLG; Manitou; Snorkel; and UpRight. The intention was to compare like with like - there is no winner or loser, but there is concrete information to help readers with purchase or hire decisions. Machines were checked in strict alphabetical order and our report is also in alphabetical order. Naturally a whole host of additional factors affect any purchasing decision, notably after sales service, availability, relationship with the supplier and, of course, the price. These factors were not tested – we did ask for list prices, but not all manufacturers were prepared to release these and so they have been omitted from the tables.

The difficulties of comparing like for like, and the need for an impartial check, are shown by the possible interpretations of maximum working radius that we encountered:

* The distance to the end of the basket in its “normal” operating position.
* As above, but with the basket rotated through 90 degrees to give the longest possible measure
* As above but with 50 centimetres added to give the maximum possible working radius that an operator can reach with outstretched arms (similar to the standard practice of adding 2 metres to the platform height to give working height).

Our solution was to agree definitions which are set out in the table and were applied to all the machines. Our test ground was a field rather than a laboratory and so it is worth noting that a tolerance of two centimetres either way and/or two seconds should be allowed. It is also worth noting that measurement of the turning circle took place in a field rather than on concrete.

Our tables summarise our results against those that were in the official catalogues supplied to us in Germany. For completeness we have also included some relevant data that was not tested on the day.

* To read the full story, complete with tables and photos, download the article from this month's issue of "Cranes & Access".

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