Units of the WolfLifT, that unique-looking aerial lift developed by Wolf Haessler and his team at Haessler Inc. in Guelph, Ontario, are now heading to the field.
The all-electric lift uses no hydraulic oil at all and features a solid-sided telescoping tower that raises and lowers the platform with an electrically driven rack-and-pinion system. Travel and steering are also powered electrically.
Haessler reports that the first five units of the WolfLifT 3020, which can lift 650 lbs. to a platform height of 19’7” yet measures just 30 in. wide by 60 in. long, shipped to the field in late July.
More shipped in early August, and by the week after next, some 16 units will have arrived in the field.
The first 50 units are all slated for delivery to Ken Tolton, an engineer and 30-year veteran of the aerial industry who owns Duke Aerial Equipment, Inc., headquartered in Atlantic, Iowa. Duke also operates 10 other offices in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
Separately from his Duke Aerial operations, Tolton has partnered with Haessler to develop and distribute the WolfLifT. “I’ve invested in the WolfLifT because my experience tells me it is the right product for aerial applications, particularly those that require totally clean operation with no chance of oil leaks,” said Tolton.
As a small sample of examples, Tolton lists stores, schools, hospitals, offices, warehouses, and other locations that have carpeted or bare concrete floors that would be stained by oil leaks. He also mentions places that require clean operations, such as food-processing plants, pharmaceutical makers, biotech companies, dairies, computer rooms, and electronics manufacturing plants.
Although the first units are shipping to Duke Aerial facilities, Tolton and Haessler are in the process of developing a separate network of dealers to sell and support the WolfLifT. Companies interested in becoming WolfLifT dealers should contact Wolf Haessler at the WolfLifT factory in Guelph.
Haessler Inc. introduced the WolfLift concept and prototype in October 2014 and then continued to refine the design until November of last year, when Haessler decided it needed a partner in order to continue. Wolf Haessler found that partner and co-investor in Tolton, who had worked for him at Skyjack from 1986 until 2000, when Tolton left to start Duke Aerials.
Between last November and this July, Haessler Inc. continued to refine and test the WolfLifT 3020 and to look for ways to improve its manufacturability and reduce its production cost.
One of the largest improvements was switching from DC motors to three-phase, fully enclosed AC motors with programmable controllers.
Wolf Haessler says that the AC motors require virtually no maintenance and deliver far better performance. They also use less electricity, so the machine gets 30% more working cycles per battery charge than a similarly sized scissor lift. The company has verified the performance by running several sets of Hird tests, the aerial industry’s standard yardstick for testing a machine’s battery life.
One Hird cycle sees a lift raise its platform to full height, lower it fully, travel 100 ft., raise the platform to full height, lower it fully, and travel 100 ft. back to the starting point. A lift’s efficiency is gauged by how many cycles it completes before the batteries run out of charge.
Haessler also notes that the AC motors’ programmable controllers let the lift operator tune the WolfLifT’s operating speeds and responsiveness to match his or her preferences or the special needs of the job.
The company has also run several tests to verify that the WolfLifT concept provides the same solid stability whether the tower is fully retracted or extended to full height. It has also tested the WolfLifT’s stability versus a scissor lift’s. Haessler says that the design of the telescoping tower, the tower’s mounting low on the chassis, equal weight balance over the length of the chassis, and the platform’s location inside the sides of the tower’s top section give the WolfLifT 3020 much better stability than a conventional scissor lift.
Even though it is quite stable, the lift weighs only 2,950 lbs. and puts only 149 psi of pressure on the floor. The steering system delivers a near-zero turning radius, and the machine can travel with the platform fully elevated.
Currently, Haessler Inc. has applied for WolfLifT-related patents in eight countries, including China and Japan.
Haessler and Tolton both say that product refinements and improvements will naturally continue, based on comments from users. As the first fifty machines go to work in the marketplace, plenty of users will have the opportunity to provide that feedback.