UK rental powered access company AFI-Uplift has launched a new security system for aerial work platforms called the Key Zone.
The system which constitutes a stand-alone keypad on the side of the machines upper control box, is intended to eliminate unauthorised use of the lift. After three months of trials it is now available as a pre-fitted option on all of the company’s lifts.
While traditional keypads used on aerial lifts usually take a maximum of four digits, the Key Zone can take an eight digit password code, allowing for 100 million possible combinations. Operators also do not have to share codes because the unit can be set up to take individual codes for up to 200 users.
The unit is said to be fully waterproof, vandal resistant and has an auto lock time-out facility.
The field trials were made with four different customers, one of the companies that took part, MGS Electrical Installations, said: "It was very easy to use and we never had any problems with it. It was good to know that no one could use our machine when we were not around and it would always be where we left it. The other benefit is never finding your machine’s battery was flat because someone else had been using it."
AFI projects manager John Robertson added: “The problem with the traditional four digit keypads on machines is that for ease of remembering, people either give all their machines the same code or use the machine type or fleet number as a code. This practice negates any benefit of fitting a security system in the first place, once the code is known.”
The Key Zone joins another recently launched card reader system, the Smart Zone, a more sophisticated card reader system, which controls access to machines whilst also monitoring operator competence and providing live information via GPRS. Click here to See AFI trials safety system
Unauthorised use of aerial work platforms is growing and was one of the most common issues raised in our recent rental surveys. The total cost of this issue is hard to calculate but is almost certainly much larger than most people realise.
They include: Down time caused by low battery power due to unauthorised use overnight – this includes the rental company’s call out cost, which might also include a credit note to the customer for the lost time, the users lost productivity- which in some cases can be huge and the cost of the extra wear and tear on the machine.
This looks like a simple economic option to solve the problem, although in the long run the more sophisticated telematics based systems will possibly with a PAL card chip recognition device is likely to become the norm.