Aerial work platform (AWP) is an equipment used to provide temporary access to normally inaccessible areas and spaces at height, mostly powered by hydraulics or pneumatics. Aerial work platforms are designed to lift limited weights, that rarely exceed 1000 kg, which differs them from cranes. AWPs are usually designed to be operated by a single person, although they may be able to carry two or more persons. They are suitable for construction works, emergency services and maintenance of buildings and other structures. Moreover, apart from applications in the transport and access sectors, aerial work platforms can be equipped with electrical outlets or compressed air connectors for power tools. There are various types of aerial work platforms such as articulating boom lifts, telescopic boom lifts, scissor (spider) lifts, truck-mounted AWPs, trailer-mounted AWPs or vertical lifts, designed for various applications.
Articulating (knuckle) boom lifts are very flexible, versatile and suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications as well as hard-to-reach places as they combine high reach with articulating boom enabling specific positions. They are particularly optimal for jobs involving obstacles. Articulating boom lifts are usually diesel or battery-powered, but there are also hybrids. Moreover, articulating boom lifts are self-propelled, which reduces the transport costs. Some articulating boom lifts are so narrow, that the operator can drive them through standard doorways.
Telescopic (straight) boom lifts offer excellent work height and greatest horizontal reach. They are equipped with robust wheels, which makes them suitable for rough terrain. The self-propulsion enables easy movement and transport. Telescopic boom lifts extend telescopically and standardly offer working height between 10 and 60 metres, moreover, moving at full height is allowed. There are two basic kinds of drive; diesel and electric. The diesel-powered telescopic boom lifts are suitable for outdoor use as they are very flexible. The electric, battery-driven telescopic boom lifts are optimal for indoor use (warehouses, factories, shopping centres), because they do not emit any harmful substances and the run quietly. Rental companies offer telescopic boom lifts, for example, to cleaning companies, painters, fitters and construction companies.
Scissor lifts are designed for vertical movement. Their platform is supported with the “X” scissor mechanism. The scissor lifts are primarily designed for works in tight spaces including maintenance and installation applications. They can be powered either by batteries (electric) or diesel. Electric scissor lifts are environmentally-friendly, provide low noise levels, better maneuverability and non-marking tires optimal for indoor use. Diesel-powered scissor lifts are also called rough terrain scissor lifts and they are designed for more rigorous outdoor construction applications and heavy equipment transport. They are well-equipped to challenging environment such as transverse slopes and uneven rocky terrain.
Truck-mounted aerial work platforms belong to the largest of their kind. Their biggest advantage is a great mobility, but also the enhanced stability may come in handy. Moverover, the car can serve as a mobile workshop or store. Truck-mounted AWPs are suitable for maintenance of wind turbines, tree care or windows and large buildings cleaning. Trailer-mounted aerial work platforms can be easily towed behind a pickup or SUV, on the other hand, they are depended on another vehicle that transports them. Some models are equipped with hydraulic outriggers for better stability.
Crawler and spider lifts are equipped with caterpillar tracks, which enable them to travel almost everywhere. They are specifically used for horticultural and greenhouse jobs in all weather conditions. Spider lifts are designed for works in restricted indoor areas such as swimming pools or staircases as they offer a narrow working platform, which is optimal for hard-to-reach places. Vertical lifts provide a comfortable reach as they are equipped with smaller vertical aerial platform which can be operated sideways as well as up and down. Vertical lifts are designed for cleaning works and applications in confined spaces such as ceilings.