3 Aerial Work Platforms that First-Time Construction Contractors Must Know

Aerial work platforms are heavy machinery that enable workers to complete tasks at extended heights without the need for scaffolding. The machines are common in warehouses and construction sites, but they can also be used in cleaning exterior surfaces of hard-to-rich places in skyscrapers. For the safety of workers, an aerial work platform is equipped with a safety belt and guard rails to prevent falls. The equipment, which includes scissor lifts, articulating boom lifts, and cherry pickers, can be mobile or static depending on the type of task. Beginners wishing to buy the machinery must choose the right equipment for the job since there are several types. This article highlights some differences between various aerial work platforms available on the market.

Scissor Lifts -- When you need a straight lift for outdoor and indoor construction projects, then a scissor lift is the equipment of choice. The lift receives its name because of the cross-braces, also known as a pantograph, which pushes up and down as the lift moves akin to the motion of a pair of scissors. The platform is surrounded by guard rails to offer a safer working environment at heights. Although you might find narrow-width scissor lifts, industry experts recommend that they should not be used in tighter spaces because of their large platforms. The best thing about the equipment is that some are designed for working in rough terrain. Besides, you can choose either an engine-powered version or an electric-powered type. The lift is limited to vertical movement only, and thus, must be positioned directly below the worksite. Notably, a scissor lift can achieve a height of 20-50 feet, which is lower than most lifts.

Articulating Boom Lifts -- Sometimes, operators might be forced to work around and over obstacles and barriers at a construction site. A boom lift will provide such functionality due to its versatility and ability to work in hard-to-reach areas. The enhanced maneuverability is provided for by the hydraulic arm. Therefore, boom lifts are great for confined job-sites such as indoors. Unlike scissor lifts, articulating boom lifts can extend to heights of up to 130 feet. However, the lifts are quite pricier and can only carry a limited number of workers due to a smaller platform.

Cherry Pickers -- A cherry picker is similar to a boom lift. However, there are several variants of cherry pickers, including truck-mounted and articulated booms. The aerial platform can be mounted on panelled vans, flatbeds, or other platforms to provide stability. Those that are installed on large platforms are ideal for outdoor applications such as building maintenance. Cherry pickers are powered by electricity or diesel engines for versatility.