Light-Footed Transformer

Although the spider-like, compact track-mounted aerial lifts produced by Teupen (pronounced toy-pen) are just now beginning to gain a level of recognition in the United States and Canada, they've long garnered a reputation in Europe for being high quality and unique.

Last time, I discussed the unique design of the LEO 23GT. I spent some time with this new-to-North America product following its delivery to the Phoenix area by U.S. distributor Extreme Access Solutions/Teupen America, Reading, Mass. This particular unit was being installed at VIP Window Cleaning, Tempe, Ariz. Scott Akroyd, a representative for Extreme Access Solutions/Teupen America, was in town to orientate, train, and certify the VIP staff.

Tracking the land

As I mentioned last time, the LEO 23Gt measures 38.5 inches wide and 78 inches tall in travel mode, making this machine quite compact. In addition to its trim size, the unit weighs only 6,800 pounds • impressively light for a machine capable of reaching 76 feet vertically. In the past, jobs where staging may have been the only possible choice, the Leo 23GT's slender 38.5-inch stowed width allows this lift to easily enter virtually any building, courtyard, or facility through a single 42-inch doorway.

Besides the ability to drive up steps or crawl across soft landscaping, the track drive system on the light-footed Leo 23GT has another unique trick up its sleeve. Note that the tracks are mounted in a way that allows them to be individually adjusted hydraulically at a 45� angle. This patented track-adjustment system not only allows the operator to modify the Leo 23GT track's width from 38.5 to 56.4 inches, but it also enables the machine to drive with one track higher than the other, allowing it to traverse laterally along slopes with an incline of up to 30 percent. The operator has the ability to run the machine on the side of an embankment without the fear of tipping the lift over.

Once properly located, the chassis-mounted outriggers must be manually pivoted into the ready position, a simple task that requires a lever release to horizontally rotate each leg into position. This step is only required when the outriggers are being deployed from the fully stowed 38.5-inch-wide position. This step does not need to be repeated unless the outriggers need to be returned to the fully stowed position.

When in the ready position, the system self-levels the unit automatically. To ensure safe operation, the Leo 23GT's CPU not only monitors the levelness of the machine but also keeps tabs on all four outriggers to make sure they are properly loaded. The entire process is accomplished in less than 25 seconds • even on steep or uneven terrain.

In maximum configuration, the outrigger footprint is 13.5'x13.5', but the microprocessor-based system is designed so it can be set up in a variety of heights and on a myriad of sloped and angled applications. If needed, the outriggers also can be set up on a structure such as a retaining wall, for example, that is raised by as much as 39 inches higher than the surface the unit sits on. Of course, you would want to make sure this structure was capable of providing proper support.

With the ability to work in more areas, including difficult and rough-terrain locations not accessible by most other aerial work platforms, the Leo 23GT provides a safe and productive way to work in these environments.

Transportability is a real benefit of the unit's low weight and compact dimensions. Any properly equipped low-bed trailer with a 3/4-ton pickup truck or van will not only move this unit economically, but it also means that you may not necessarily be required to have a commercial driver's license.

At $147,600, the Leo 23GT is a no-nonsense, durable, fast, light and nimble, multitasking lift with a 76-foot reach that craftsmen, facility managers, and rental yard owners will find to be easy to use and transport. We also want to commend Teupen for its utilization of a vegetable-based hydraulic oil in this machine, adding environmentally friendly to the Leo 23GT's list of many benefits.