Aluminium scaffold tower manufacturer Instant UpRight is launching a range of small scissor lifts under the UpRight brand.
The initial five product range includes the 13ft MX1330 push around scissor lift and three self-propelled models - the 14ft MX1430, 19ft MX1930 and 26ft X2632 - all of which feature direct electric wheel motor drive, a high standard specification and a high commonality of parts and components. In addition to the scissor lifts the company is also launching the ML3330 - a 33ft single person, AWP type push around mast lift.
Among the self-propelled models the MX1430 stands out as a good looking machine, with its 1.49 metre overall length and 810kg overall weight and a good standard specification. Meanwhile the MX1930 will stir memories of the original UpRight MX19 that helped kick off the micro scissor revolution back in 1994, although as with other machines in the size range, it weighs almost 1.5 tonnes and has an overall stowed length of 1.85 metres.
The new platforms are manufactured for the company by an undisclosed Chinese manufacturer - almost certainly standard Mantall machines - and will be branded as UpRight. The machines will be available in Europe from an inventory at a new European warehouse and distribution hub in Venlo, the Netherlands operated by Seacon Logistics. The facility will also stock a full range of replacement parts, along with the company’s range of tower related access products and be home to a technical help desk. A further technical support team will be based at the company’s Dublin headquarters at its new 10,000 square metre manufacturing facility.
Managing director Joe Oxley said: “It is an exciting time at Instant UpRight as we diversify our product line. Initial interest in the new machine range has been high and we have already delivered the first few units which are out working and showing great results. The company is no stranger to the aerial work platform market, and there is still a strong brand awareness present - the return of Instant UpRight blue machines presents us with an exciting challenge which is welcomed by the whole team."
“We will initially focus on the European and Asian markets selling to small and medium sized rental companies, end users and dealers looking for an alternative choice of provider.”
“The market continues to develop, and the market for low level access products has probably expanded 10 fold in as many years, opening up opportunities that are almost limitless. This company has built its reputation for providing quality products for working safely at height for more than 70 years, based on a foundation of great engineering design innovation and a loyal global distribution network - we intend to continue along this path.”
While this news is no great surprise - it has been rumoured for a while - it is an obvious addition given the growing market for low level power access which has to be taking sales away from ladders and towers.
It also adds to the growing Chinese domination at this end of the market but will also help increase the uptake of this type of product among end users as more salespeople knock on doors. It will be interesting to see how this end of the market develops and pans out. It is entirely possible that the low level market fragments dramatically with a host of suppliers offering branded products to their customer base. While some mainstream manufacturers may be concerned that this is the thin end of the wedge and that these new players will creep up the height range, it is unlikely as buying and running a big scissor or boom lift is an entirely different purchasing and operating decision than that required for a 15ft scissor lift which is replacing a small tower or step ladder.
For the confused
UpRight did not go bankrupt, the US based company went through a chapter 11 process in the late 1990s and emerged smaller and leaner but went on to make some disastrous commercial decisions in terms of poorly thought through offshoring and manufacturing strategies and loosing focus on product support etc...
The European company - based in Ireland - continued to do well throughout although had to downsize its powered access master distribution operations due to a severe reduction in the volume of machines built the USA. The company eventually consolidated its headquarters in Ireland, having moved American production to Mexico.
In 2006 it sold the downsized powered access business,including all of its intellectual property and the right to use the UpRight name on powered access products to Tanfield. But retained the UpRight name for its non-powered production which predates the powered access business. It rebranded the business to Instant UpRight, reflecting the change of focus towards its Instant scaffold towers and other non-powered access equipment.
Tanfield acquired Snorkel in 2007 and ran the UpRight and Snorkel brands alongside each other until August 2012 when it decided to merge the two product lines, to rationalise products and save costs - under the Snorkel name - chosen due to the declining reputation the UpRight brand had in North America See UpRight is no more.
In 2013 Tanfield sold, or rather gave, 51 percent of the Snorkel business to Don Ahern in return for him investing in it and saving it. He continues to own and rebuild the company.
Moving on to the present day and with the UpRight brand no longer used on powered access equipment, Instant UpRight has the chance to dust it off and use it for its new range, which is in fact technically branding as Instant UpRight.
All clear? If so amazing as the last 15 years have, at times, been something of a soap opera for two famous brands that simply refused to die.