17.12.2007

New Aichi lifts

Aichi has released further details of some of the new products that we reported earlier this year.

The new products include two new narrow aisle electric slab scissor lifts aimed at the international market and new 40/ 46 ft straight boom. No details have yet been released on its new articulated boom which is expected to be unveiled later in the year.

The two new electric scissor lifts, the Skytower SV06CNL and SV08C NL in Europe - the SV2032C/SV2632C in North America, offer a 20ft (6m) and 26ft (8m) platform height with 820mm overall width and 360kg and 230kg platform capacity.
The new Aichi SV08C NL - 26ft skinny scissor lift.

The new models join JLG and Iteco in using direct electric drive on this size of machine for extended battery life, but the Aichi differs in that it incorporates AC wheel drive motors rather than the DC drive on the others.

Genie was the first company to introduce AC drive on its Z40/23N launched at this years rental show in February. Aichi has said previously that these new models will be “priced to sell in volume” in Europe and America.

The new 40 and 46ft straight booms will be designated the Skymaster SP12C and SP14CJ in Europe or the Skymaster SP400C and SP460CJ in North America. The 40ft model is a plain straight boom while the 46ft features an articulating jib.

As we announced at the end of August one of the advantages the new models offer is a three section boom that offers a significantly shorter overall stowed length, at around six metres. Most competitors use a two section boom resulting in stowed lengths of around 7.5 metres.

The 40ft model offers up to 10.9 metres (35.9ft) of outreach while the 46ft offers 12.7 metres (41.8ft), making them both best in class.
The new Aichi SP14CJ 46ft boom lift

Platform capacity is 250kgs with the 1.8 metre (6ft) platform but drops to 227kgs with the 2.4 metre (8ft) basket. Aichi has also said that the overall height of the new booms is close to two metres, while most units in this class are over 2.3 metres.

One new feature on these booms is a “Cartridge system” for the hydraulic hoses and electrical harness within the boom’s power track. Aichi says this helps prevent damage to hose and cables but also makes it very quick and easy to replace them when they are damaged.

The main cover is steel with a swing-out engine and other ease of maintenance and inspection features.

The new models will be officially launched at this years Rental show in Las Vegas in February, when further details will be available. The first units for Europe have already been ordered by Doornbos in Holland who has purchased 200 units of each. See Aichi sells first new units

The new models are part of Aichi’s plan to increase its market share in Europe and North America and will almost certainly be produced in a new plant that the company is building in Indiana. Depending on the exchange rate they may also be slated for production in Holland at a later date. A review of the new models will be included in the next issue of Cranes&Access

Vertikal Comment

Aichi has not won its position of market leader in Japan nor its sales overseas on the back of innovation. Yet these two model ranges offer some new interesting new features such as AC direct electric drive on the scissors and a three section boom on the telescopics.

The company is best known for producing tracked self-propelled booms when no one else did and for incredible reliability on all of its products. This has helped it boost European sales of its two principle straight booms to around 500 units a year with minimal distribution coverage.

Buyers generally consider its products to be, if anything slightly old fashioned in terms of looks, but they also recognise that they perform exceptionally well and are far and away the most reliable booms on the market. Aichi has so much confidence in this that it offers a five year warranty on its wheeled booms and says that the cost of doing so is minimal.

This high specification and exceptional reliability comes at a cost and Aichi aerial lifts are typically expensive, however those selling them will offer proof that over a five year working period they will cost less than most less costly marques.

The company’s scissor lifts have never gained a serious foothold in Europe or North America due to the specifications being too tailored to the Japanese market and their high prices. The two new scissor lifts have been designed specifically for the international market with specifications that go head to head with those of Genie, JLG, Skyjack, UpRight and Haulotte.

We have been told that the company intends to price the new models competitively with the above mentioned producers in order to win a larger share of the world market at a time when it expects its share in Japan to slip a few points.

It is surprising then that the company has adopted AC drive on the scissor lifts, the current offerings from the other producers are seen as acceptably reliable while the DC drive systems offered by JLG and more recently Iteco, offer more than adequate battery life. Some buyers might be put off by what they see as an unnecessary complication? The absence of a 19ft elevator scissor, a wider 26ft and a 32ft electric scissor lift in the family might also deter some.

In terms of the booms, price will be an important factor, the three section boom is nice, but it does carry a cost and will normally have a higher maintenance and inspection cost than a simple two section boom.

The fact is Aichi makes a fantastic product, and you can be fairly certain that these new models will have been tested until perfect. Their success now will depend on pricing and distribution, it will be very interesting to watch the progress of these new models and the effect that they have on competitor’s offerings.


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