In the last few months, Genie has released a range of innovative new products and safety systems, all of which have a particular focus on hybrid systems and operator safety, in light of market demand for more multi-faceted and environmentally-friendly machines for the construction industry.
With hybrid systems, at least two separate energy sources are present – such as fuel and electric batteries – that can be used independently and combined to achieve different operating characteristics for the machine. In recent years, aerial work platforms (AWPs) have offered a great opportunity to use these types of systems to increase the machine’s efficiency and productivity, while also reducing its emissions.
Genie recently released the Genie Z-60/37 fuel electric (FE) hybrid articulated boom lift into the Australian market, which Genie national sales manager Kurt Kinder says has been hugely successful thus far.
The 4-wheel drive Z-60/37 can climb 25 per cent faster than typical diesel-powered units and comes with up to 45 per cent gradeability and all-terrain foam filled tyres standard, which makes the machine ideal for both indoor and outdoor work. Operational benefits include minimal noise, clean operation, light machine weight and compact dimensions. The vehicle’s non-marking tyres are ideal for work in narrow aisles, on sensitive surfaces or fragile upper-level floors.
“As a global business, we are putting a strong focus and effort at the moment into our range of hybrid systems, which we are also looking at rolling out into our other product lines across the globe,” Kinder said.
“We see hybrid systems as a game changer for the sector – the system is based on the technology used in the Prius, which is a market-leading hybrid powertrain technology.”
The Z-60/37 FE provides the choice of two modes of operation – a fully electric mode (charged in one night for more than eight hours of operation) and hybrid mode (more than one week of run time on a single tank of fuel).
In the hybrid mode, the machine uses its environmentally-friendly 24hp Tier 4 Final/Stage IIIB engine-powered generator to maintain the battery’s state of charge or to supplement the battery power to get boost in machine performance.
To keep productivity high and maintenance costs low, its engine-powered generator constantly monitors the battery state, keeping them topped off for maximum run time, then automatically shutting off to minimise fuel consumption.
For extreme usage conditions or after heavy full-electric operation, the high-power hybrid system can provide a bulk charge within approximately four hours.
The Z-60/37 FE features terrain capability, which seamlessly transitions from an off-road hill-climb to quiet and emission-free indoor use. It also delivers the drive performance that is expected from a fully diesel-powered machine, while also providing a 20.16m working height, 7.39m of up-and-over reach, and 2268kg less weight than its diesel equivalent.
The 1.83m or 2.44m platforms, with a capacity of 227kg, enables two people to access the entire working envelope. The 2.44m platform comes with an additional side sliding mid-rail, opposite the standard swing gate, for a total of three entry points. In addition, the 1.52m jib provides a high-range of motion – 70° up and 65° down – and comes with 160° platform rotation. Thanks to a quiet, low emissions design, the Z-60/37 FE is a great asset for malls, construction sites, sport arenas, manufacturing plants, and challenging pedestrian areas with the demand for low noise and clean performance.
“We are finding a greater call for multi-faceted machines, which is what you will get with the hybrid Z-60/37 FE,” Kinder added.
“It is user friendly and can be operated safely and efficiently in both indoor and outdoor working environments, which allows the machine to be the first one on a jobsite and the last one off it.
“A strong focus of Genie has always been on the efficiency and usability for the operators, as well as to develop and innovate products that are designed to produce stronger return on investment. Where possible, we also take into consideration how it will affect the environment.”
The hybrid articulating boom lift recently won the Rental Product of the Year 2017 award from the European Rental Association (ERA).
“The Z-60/37 FE is a machine that focuses on sustainability and low fuel consumption,” the ERA said.
“From changing a light bulb, checking surveillance systems, verifying sprinklers, changing signage, painting and cleaning to general refurbishment or industrial maintenance and job inspections, Genie has the solution to help perform facilities management access tasks easily and rapidly.”
In May, Genie also unveiled its Lift Guard Contact Alarm prototype for its GS range of slab scissor lifts and GR, GRC and QS series vertical masts at the HIRE18 show in Brisbane.
The prototype is an electronic secondary guarding solution, which is designed to activate when an obstruction contacts the activation whiskers which are mounted to the lift’s platform guardrails – one at the front and one at the rear – alerting operators, occupants and ground personnel to a potential hazard.
When the system is activated, all machine motions will stop, an alarm will sound, beacons will flash, and the operator will be able to continue driving or elevating the platform into the desired working position only after acknowledging the activation system and machine conditions. A free-movement zone also exists between the activation whisker and guardrail to allow mobility for operators and occupants after the system is activated.
“The prototype is an industry-driven initiative and it is proving to be very popular with the marketplace and our customer base,” Kinder said.
“It is a simple design that is very user-friendly, and is definitely a stronger and safer and system, especially with the implementation of the free-movement zone for the machine’s operators.”