By Rafael Nunez
The electrification trend that has been a topic of conversation for some time is now catching on in various vehicle segments, most notably in the automotive space. Following the recent advances in the auto industry’s speed of introduction of electric cars, construction equipment manufacturers, typically fast followers of the automotive industry, have continued to iterate and launch electrified machines with varying degrees of electrification technology. The focus is around potential environmental and productivity advantages. A recent report published by IDTechEx Research predicts that the majority of new construction vehicles will be electrically powered by 2029, less than ten years from now.
Electric scissor lifts have been in production for decades. Since that time there has been rapid adoption and growth in utilization of scissor lifts in a wide range of applications. Many new categories with different shape and size scissor lifts have been created to respond to unique end-user jobs. Throughout the decades, innovation has been relatively incremental, adding new height classes and few differentiating features. The market has focused on low-cost innovation and there have been shifts in customer preference accordingly.
One of the most popular configurations features an electric drive system which offers fewer hydraulic hoses, therefore fewer leak points. In recent years, as talk about electrification has ramped up, and environmental regulations have become more stringent, advances in electrification have continued to move forward. As more manufacturers add varying levels of electric technology, be it DC (direct current) or AC (alternating current) drive motors, the improvement in duty cycles and reduction in potential leaks through fewer leak points has been notable.
Benefits & Evolution of Electric Powered Scissor Lifts
Electric powered scissor lifts are more environmentally friendly than their engine powered counterparts and they are especially useful for working in enclosed spaces. The simplified nature of batteries compared to engines, especially as engine regulations have continued to evolve adding aftertreatment, Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) and other technologies that have driven engine costs higher. The result has been and will continue to be increased demand for electric products since they reduce the number of service calls related to engines, aftertreatment, and likely drive reduced fluid leaks on jobsites, a common type of scissor repair technicians is called upon to fix.
Depending on the make and model selected, the upcoming ANSI 92.20 regulations have required specification changes on some models, more or less capacity in certain categories and clear distinctions for operation parameters in indoor vs outdoor use. The JLG ES Series, has been the industry benchmark for electric scissor lifts due to its highly efficient electric drive system and strong return on investment. The batteries in the ES Series deliver up to 200% more life per charge for improved performance on the job. They tend to last longer, allowing rental companies to extend the life of batteries, the single highest cost driver for scissor lift ownership. The expanded ES line features a wide range of models from 13’ – 32’ platform heights and was launched with new productivity and digital features that will make it the continued market leader in the scissor lift category for many years to come.
Evolving to All Electric
Though there is no shortage of battery powered scissors on the market today, the next generation of electrification is upon us. Some manufacturers are highlighting that they are “battery-powered” or “electric,” or in some cases “fully-electric” while still maintaining hydraulic cylinders for actuation. When JLG launched the new Davinci-series scissor lift at ConExpo, the AE1932 is a true all-electric lift, a machine that features zero hydraulics and eliminates leaks altogether. This new, all-electric scissor design fully optimizes every component including the lift, drive and steering systems on the machine for reduced energy consumption. The unit is the only scissor lift in the industry to recover energy when the platform is being lowered, contributing to a 70% decrease in power consumption and allowing for the use of a single lithium-ion battery.
The simplified design of an all-electric lift makes it noticeable at first glance when working at height. Traditional battery powered lifts have hoses routed throughout the scissor stack, whereas an all-electric model with no hoses has a clean, modern appearance. Without hoses and with fewer moving mechanical parts the result is a reduction in maintenance and service needs. The unit features an AC-drive system which results in a 2x faster travel speed and the lithium-ion batteries and charger combination allow for 3.5x quicker charge time for huge gains in overall productivity on the job. An optional high-capacity charger further reduces charging time to 2.5 hours for a full charge increasing utilization of lifts on jobsite. When paired with a battery system that can be opportunity charged without damage to the battery, customers will find new ways of using this versatile machine.
While most electric scissor lifts operate using multiple batteries which are typically changed every 24-36 months depending on servicing, the newest all-electric scissor lift on the market, the JLG Davinci™ AE1932, operates on a single lithium-ion battery. This battery can last up to 120+ months and will drive a reduced amount of service calls improving total cost of ownership. This means that the battery should not need to be replaced, and requires minimal maintenance, from the point of sale until the point of disposal.
Comparing Lithium Batteries
Lithium ion battery technology has and continues to evolve rapidly. Many different types of these batteries are used, each having different characteristics depending on their specific chemistry and form of design and manufacturing.
Lithium cobalt oxide (LCO) batteries have been used in a variety of products, including the computer and telecommunications industry in laptops and cell phones. However, they have been plagued from time to time with safety recalls due to overheating as well as sometimes less than ideal reliability.
Lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries offer greater thermal and chemical stability compared to LCO batteries. They also have a cycle life three to four times higher and offer a constant discharge voltage to deliver virtually full power as they are discharged. Additionally, a smaller battery size, pack weight, and faster charging maximizes proficiency during operation. Many new and evolving electric lifts are turning towards lithium iron phosphate as a power source.
Reducing Total Cost of Ownership
One major concern with traditional electric-powered lifts is uptime since battery life depends on recharging for the machine to remain operable. The JLG Davinci all-electric scissor offers a quick charge option that allows the machine to charge in 5 minutes or less, so if a machine is called off rent, but not charged when the rental company arrives to pick it up, they can do a quick charge to get it onto the truck with full torque instead of either plugging it in and returning hours later or winching it on a trailer.
In addition to having the most sophisticated all-electric scissor on the market, the Davinci machine features an advanced battery management system that analyzes the machine’s charge and usage, while providing detailed diagnostic information about the battery and charge systems. Advanced electric components log charge history improving fleet management and enhance machine diagnostic information and is accessible via a mobile phone.
The Davinci AE1932 is an intelligent machine that conducts self-diagnostics and allows operators to test most systems on their mobile device. This eliminates the more traditional hand-held analyzer and allows the owner to proactively keep track of a machine’s health.
Applications for All-Electric Scissors
The newest all-electric scissor lift is manufactured with sustainable technology that drives a high value over the lifecycle of the machine. It is ideal for applications such as data centers, clean rooms, hotels, casinos, museums, big box stores and in urban spaces where stringent environmental regulations related to noise and emissions must be met.
As JLG continues to push the envelope in innovation around the entire ecosystem from our rental partners to jobsites. This new machine unlocks new possibilities and applications where these types of machines could not be used in the past due to leak opportunities. We look forward to partnering with users to help them maximize productivity and continue to help build and maintain the infrastructure in the world in more sustainable ways.
Looking towards the future, the JLG Davinci delivers an environmentally friendly innovation without unmatched machine performance. The AE1932 raises the bar and sets a new industry benchmark for productivity with minimal maintenance.
about the author
Rafael Nunez is senior product manager, scissor & vertical lifts, with JLG Industries, Inc. For more, visit www.jlg.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, August 2020
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