The specialist Spanish aerial lift manufacturer Mecaplus is currently testing a new fully electric 50ft articulated four wheel drive self-levelling boom lift, the E-SL 17.2.
The new machine has no hydraulics, using electric screw actuators in place of hydraulic cylinders and wheel mounted electric motors for drive. As with more traditional Mecaplus boom lift the E-SL17.2, which boasts a working height of 17.2 metres, dynamically levels while travelling at heights of up to 12 metres even with the boom over the side. Maximum outreach is 7.5 metres at an up & over height of 7.8 metres. The platform capacity is 230kg unrestricted, and the wireless controller can be removed from the platform and used as a remote.
The cylinders are regenerative pushing power back into the battery pack when descending. The lift mechanism configuration is somewhat classic in that it features two long risers in a sigma type configuration, plus two section telescopic boom, although due to the lift cylinder location the telescopic section is shorter than usual.
The new machine has an overall length of 6.2 metres, an overall width of 2.2 metres and an overall stowed height of 2.25 metres. Total weight is 6,600kg. The unit is on test with production likely to start later this year, depending on how well the test programme goes.
In the meantime the following videos will provide a good overview of this innovative new machine.
While this looks like a very interesting machine, and we know that Mecaplus’ dynamic levelling systems are very well proven in tough applications such as tree pruning, this machine looks too ‘different’ and compromised to become a mainstream 4x4 boom lift product in its current configuration. Although, it may well set other engineers thinking and it will have its applications.
The biggest challenge with this type of lift are the function and reliability of the electric lift cylinders, they tend to be bulky, more sensitive and therefore less rugged than their hydraulic cousins. They are improving all the time however and will certainly take over at some point... but not for a while on this type of machine, although there will be a number of applications where it is the ideal machine.
It will be very interesting to see what sort of reception it receives once it goes into production. Regardless of what you think, or it becomes a success, the effort and engineering that has gone into it should be applauded.