California based aerial lift manufacturer MEC has launched a new Leak Containment System, or LCS if you prefer, for its machines, for which it has applied for a patent.
The company carried out a detailed investigation into hydraulic oil leaks and found, to no particular surprise that the majority of leaks come from the hydraulic motors on the front wheels where the hoses to them are constantly stressed by the steering function. MEC says that its entire slab scissor line now has direct electric drive, eliminating the drive wheels as a source of oil leaks. With its LCS initiative MEC has employed a system of trays integrated into its scissor lifts that will contain leaks, a vital thing for machines operating on sensitive surfaces or in ‘clean rooms’.
The trays are integrated into the machine in order to avoid any potential interference with critical machine functions including the deployment of the pothole protection system, static strap utility, and front wheel operation.
It also uses pre-cut absorbent pads in the bottom of the trays, for quick replacement, while strategically placed inspection holes, help detect a leak before it becomes too bad. It says that the absorbent pads can be easily removed and replaced.
Vice president of engineering, Gary Crook said: “MEC thrives on learning our customer’s pain points and creating a better solution to eliminate them. LCS is the perfect result of that. With LCS incorporated inside the machine, instead of attached around the chassis, there is unrestricted access to the emergency stop button, emergency lowering functions and the base controls. The integrated trays are protected from damage due to jobsite debris, forklift handling and weather elements that can compromise leak containment.”
Hydraulic leaks were far worst in the past when good quality hydraulic fittings and components were not available or at least exceptionally costly. They still occur though and can be highly disruptive and expensive to deal with. Trays under hydraulic components is nothing new, Holland Lift for example had drip trays under its hydraulic wheel motors many years ago, even though the quality of its componentry was better than most at the time.
This is though certainly a better and neater solution than the diapers that are strung under the machines when working on sensitive floors etc… It is nice to see such attention to solving real life issues.