New Onboard Lithium Battery Lets BlueLift Aerials Work Fast Without Exhaust | Construction News

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A new onboard lithium battery option now lets BlueLift compact tracked lifts work as fast on battery power as they do when using the onboard internal-combustion engine.

Ebbe Christensen, president of ReachMaster, Kingwood, Texas, which is North America’s exclusive distributor of BlueLift aerials, says that the new battery not only delivers comparable operating speed to that from a gasoline or diesel engine, but also has the staying power to work a full shift, then recharge with just a few hours of plug in. Christensen also notes that the lithium battery requires no maintenance, other than charging.

The standard BlueLift power arrangement combines a Honda gasoline engine for outdoor use with a 110V plug-in electric motor for use any time quiet, exhaust-free operation is needed. Customers can also choose a Hatz or Lombardini diesel engine in place of the Honda gas engine.

The optional new lithium battery can complement any of the internal-combustion engines to provide an alternate power source that can be tapped when a job demands quiet or no-exhaust operation. Christensen says that the lithium/internal-combustion combination is a first in the market for aerial lifts in this size range.

ReachMaster had previously offered a battery pack that was towed behind the lift on a trailer. The new design puts the battery right aboard the lift and reduces the overall weight by eliminating the trailer. The new battery also offers more power in less space.

The onboard lithium battery is available for all four BlueLift models, which provide maximum platform heights of 33 ft., 40 ft., 47 ft., and 66 ft., and maximum basket capacities of 440 lbs., even at full height or full horizontal outreach.

In addition to the new onboard lithium battery option, the BlueLift line offers: the compactness to fit through a single or double doorway; automatic outrigger setting and leveling; the ability to set up on uneven surfaces; umbilical or wireless remote control; CANbus computerized controls, individually adjustable tracks, a two-person basket; and the stability to work in winds up to 28 mph. Their overall weights range from about 4,000 lbs. for the smaller models, to 6,600 lbs. for the 66-ft. B72.

North America’s first BlueLift B72 with the onboard lithium battery is now working in the Atlanta, Ga., rental market. During just more than a month of operation, the new machine is performing quite well, according to its owner, Sunbelt Rentals.

“We’ve had it out on rent since the day we added it to our fleet—and we already have three more rentals lined up,” says Billy Page, manager of Sunbelt’s Atlanta branch. “The customers tell us they are very happy with it.” So far, the BlueLift B72 is changing light bulbs, replacing lighting fixtures, and replacing damaged drywall in an upscale hotel.

Page reports, “The B72 operates just as fast and well on the lithium battery as it does on the gas engine. It works a whole shift, and recharges on a five-hour plug in.”

Page says good experiences with previous BlueLifts helped him decide to add the new B72 to Sunbelt’s Atlanta fleet. But he also mentions a few key features beyond the lithium power that were important. “For a lift of its reach and capacity, the B72 is compact and fits into atriums easily,” he said. “Also, I like the easy-to-use controls, the auto-leveling feature, the machine’s stability both on tracks and on outriggers, and the covers that protect the cylinder rods.”

Page says that although the B72 is compact and light enough to be towed on trailer behind a pickup truck, Sunbelt prefers to transport and deliver it on a rollback truck.