Light-Footed Transformer: Part One

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.

In order to learn first-hand how these new-to-North America products are put together and how they operate, I took the opportunity to spend some time on a LEO 23GT that was recently delivered 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.

LEO's Unique Design

Initially, I was impressed with the Leo 23GT's compact size, which is largely due to its unique boom design. A key feature is the way the two individually operated telescopic booms are supported. The lower section is mounted so it can rotate on a vertical plane from a horizontal position to almost 90 degrees vertically. A real benefit of this design is how low it allows the two-section articulated boom assembly to be stowed.

With a 38.5-inch width and a 78-inch height in travel mode, the Leo 23GT is quite c ompact. 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.

The main lower boom is designed so it can telescope and articulate at the same time, limiting tail swing and facilitating platform elevation in tight confines. Working at a vertical height of 50 feet, the unit still provides 36 feet of clear horizontal reach capabilities (see image at left). A corner-mounted, two person, 440-pound capacity rotatable basket allows the operator to turn the platform 90 degrees in either direction. Maybe it's just my klutzy 6'5” height, but once I was inside the fairly high-stowed platform, I found it a bit of a challenge to exit to the ground.

Pivoting this corner-mounted platform adds to the maneuverability of the machine as it is driven, further allowing the Leo 23GT lift to weave itself through a narrow 90-degree turn. The unique platform mount allows for work around corners. All operations can be controlled from the platform or the lower control station. For tight positioning and loading, drive can be controlled from a remote control box, such as the one shown at right.

Equipped with dual power options and non-marking white tracks, the Leo 23GT finds itself at home indoors on surfaces like marble floors where it measures 5.9 psi when set up on 12”x24” outrigger pads and 8.8 psi when traveling on tracks. Inside, the machine can run continuously on 110-volt AC electric power without stopping. During outdoor operation or where engines are allowed, operation is powered by a virtually silent 16.8-hp Kubota diesel. The engine is extremely easy to access for preventive and breakdown maintenance.

In Part Two, I will discuss the Leo 23GT's unique operating abilities.