A versatile new aerial work platform now in development promises to provide people who work at height with easier and more efficient access to places that are awkward or difficult to reach.
Lombardi Lift’s Versatile Work Platform features two side platforms that can be moved in and out laterally and extended forward to form a custom-fit platform for work around the corners of buildings or completely around vertical work areas like chimneys, steel columns, power poles, or even palm trees.
The versatile work platform is the brainchild of Don Lombardi, an owner of Lombardi & Son Masonry, Manchester, Mass., who came up with the concept as a more efficient way to perform masonry work around four sides of chimneys.
Lombardi created the concept and design, which is protected by patents in the U.S. and abroad. He has enlisted engineering and product development experts at Diversified Product Development, Waco, Texas, to develop a prototype, which is expected to be complete by year’s end.
Lombardi says the Lombardi Lift will allow workers to reach aerial work sites more quickly and safely than using scaffolding. He also believes the customizable shape of the Lombardi Lift will make it more efficient than today’s common platforms by allowing workers to reach multiple sides of a vertical work area without repositioning the platform.
In addition, when the platform is configured completely around a vertical work surface, such as a chimney or vertical riser, workers will not have to work through or over an internal guardrail, so the work area will be more accessible.
The lift could be mounted on a self-propelled boom lift, or the tip of a boom truck or telescopic crane boom, but it is particularly well suited for telehandlers.
Lombardi foresees a wide variety of applications for the adjustable platform, from residential construction, to masonry, pressure washing, tree care, sign work, commercial construction, industrial maintenance, utility work, welding, painting, and municipal work.
Ray Fritel, president of Diversified Product Development, an engineer with more than 30 years of experience, says that the unit could be fully self-contained with its own power and hydraulic system, or that it could be powered by hydraulic lines run up the boom, depending on the user’s preference.
The platform consists of a main section that mounts to the lifting vehicle’s boom, two 18-in. wide side platforms that can be slid in and out laterally, and also extended forward. Setting up around a four-sided work area, for example, would consist of sliding the side platforms out, extending the boom until the main platform was against the work area, sliding the side platforms in until they were tight to the sides of the work area, and then adding an 18-in. wide back section either manually or hydraulically to complete the 360° work platform.
Fritel says that engineered anchor points and safety harnesses would keep users safe during setup, and that the Lombardi Lift will be engineered and tested to comply with ANSI and OSHA standards, something with which Diversified Product Development is well experienced. Fritel says the company routinely designs, engineers, and tests attachments for cranes, digger derricks, and other lift equipment for clients in the construction, mining, electrical utility, and oil field industries.
The platform capacity has not yet been solidified, but Don Lombardi says it will be at least in the 400- to 600-pound range.
Lombardi says that the Lombardi Lift will provide a 360° walk-around work area for vertical structures up to 6’ x 6’. It can also be configured in an “L” shape to simplify work around the 90° corners of buildings.
A prototype is expected by the end of 2012, and Lombardi is seeking a manufacturer to produce the platforms under license.