The new JLG 1500AJP – said to be the tallest and furthest reaching articulating boom lift in the world – is now available in Africa for the first time following its recent launch by the Eazi Group, and will offer new work-at-height capabilities in applications where massive height, reach and power over obstacles and barriers are of priority, writes Munesu Shoko.

 The most common work-at-height conundrum is still how to safely and efficiently access working areas over obstacles and barriers, but even more so when extended vertical reach and horizontal outreach are of utmost significance. These are some of the concerns that informed the design of JLG’s new 1500AJP articulating boom lift. Apart from multiple boom sections that hinge, or articulate, allowing operators to gain access to work areas over obstacles and barriers, the 1500AJP offers industry-leading reach at height – 300% more working envelope than the closest competitor.

Having made its global debut at CONEXPO-CON/AGG earlier this year, the first 1500AJP unit in Africa has just hit the South African shores through none other than the authorised distributor, Eazi Group, Africa’s market leader in the rental, sales, servicing and training of work-at-height and material handling solutions. Capital Equipment News was recently afforded an exclusive opportunity to put the new unit through its paces, which has since been introduced in Eazi Access’s ever-growing rental fleet.

Brett Fleming, CEO of Eazi Group, says the 1500AJP articulating boom lift ticks all the right boxes for customers seeking greater vertical reach and horizontal outreach across a spectrum of applications such as mining plants, heavy industrial facilities, petrochemical plants, aluminium smelters and construction of multi-storeyed buildings, among other uptime-conscious, but confined working spaces.

“It is ideal for any production plants. We see it being a great fit in construction, too, especially on the back of a major trend towards multi-storeyed buildings,” says Fleming. “The beauty of an up-and-over machine is that, in confined working areas, the machine is able to get closer to the structure due to its market leading up and over clearance.”

 Competitive edge

With its 48.15 m working height, up-and-over height of 18.4 m and working outreach of 23.5 m, the new 1500AJP is said to reach over 63% more work space than the closest competitive articulating boom in the market. The new boom lift also features an industry-leading work envelope – offering platform capacity of 270 kg unrestricted and 450 kg restricted – allowing it to take more materials to heights than any other articulating boom on the market.

“We have already seen considerable demand for the product. The key reason being that it’s the first time in the industry we have had this much up-and-over and outreach capability in an articulating boom lift,” says Fleming. “Operators will also appreciate the 450 kg platform capacity which is available throughout the vast majority of the working envelope.”

The machine also features a standard 2.4 m jib that raises and lowers 130⁰ to provide additional reach, up-and-over capability and the ability to position the platform independent of the main boom. In addition, the jib pivots 125⁰ horizontally to provide extra manoeuvrability at elevated worksites. “The jib can pivot vertically or horizontally for better access at elevated worksites. The major advantage is that it can be rotated left and right, up and down, allowing for the movement of the basket without having to move the whole machine, which certainly improves productivity” says Fleming.

Another key innovation of the 1500AJP is its Quick Stick feature that enables the machine to move from the ground to maximum platform height of 48.15 m in 2 minutes 15 seconds and return to the ground exactly at the same speed and time. This is said to be an industry-leading lift speed, allowing operators to spend more time working and less time positioning the machine.

Innovations abound

The other benefit of the 1500AJP is its below-grade access capability, said to offer 63% more working envelope than the closest rival. This feature allows the machine to work below ground level. “You can boom down, which is actually quite unique for a product of this nature,” says Fleming.

Operators of the new 1500AJP articulating boom will also appreciate the LCD panel that clearly communicates the position of the boom in the work envelope and the status of its operating systems. They can also be assured of a smooth, comfortable transition from full function speed to full stop, thanks to its end of stroke cylinder dampening. “The LCD display shows you exactly where you are in the working envelope,” says Fleming.

The LCD display also shows the operator exactly which boom they are moving. “It makes the operator comfortable knowing that they are moving the right articulation point,” adds Fleming.

With serviceability in mind, JLG incorporated an innovative swing-out engine tray that provides easy access to key service points. This is complemented by a hydraulic system that simplifies hose routings and reduces leak points. In addition, an LCD panel located at the ground control panel uses text and fault codes to improve troubleshooting and reduce the number and duration of service calls.

For a long time, manufacturers of this kind of equipment had to overcome the Achilles’ heel of boom lifts: ease of transportation. Previously, making boom lifts stable at height required a wide wheelbase, extra counterweight or outriggers, all of which can hinder efficient transportation. But JLG’s design addresses these concerns with axles that extend or retract in less than one minute for this particular purpose. Built on the same chassis as the JLG 1850 telescopic boom lift, the 1500AJP has a maximum transport length of 12.10 m, width of 2.5 m, machine height of 3.1 m, as well as maximum transport weight of 26 027 kg, doing away with the need for any oversized load permit during transportation.

Improving market conditions

Despite the challenging economic conditions, Eazi Group reports steady growth of its business, especially on the rental side – showcased by the recent biggest JLG machine order to date. Fleming reasons that when times are this tough, businesses are looking for solutions to help boost productivity, generate cost savings and improve safety on sites.

The new 1500AJP forms part of Eazi Group’s recent investment in its largest order of JLG machinery for both its rental fleet and sales divisions. The massive US$9 million deal for a total of 178 JLG machines represents the company’s largest machine order to date, eclipsing the previous purchase by a whopping US$2.7 million.

“Our strategy is to always bring new innovations and technologies to the local market to assist our customers achieve significant productivity improvements in conjunction with improved safety and overall risk management,” says Fleming. “Operating conditions are calling for ways that significantly enhance productivity and safety. As a result, we see renewed interest in new, innovative work-at-height solutions and material handling technologies such as ours.”

Fleming reiterates that Eazi Group’s vision is to make a difference in the lives of its customers, especially when times are this hard, by giving them solutions that save them time, improves productivity, reduces risk and keep people safe at job sites.

He adds that the spin-off of Eazi’s continued growth is that the business is able to grow its workforce, significantly contributing to the country’s economic growth. Eazi started out with only two people back in 2003, and now has 700 employees within the organisation across sub-Saharan Africa.

The company recently opened its Eazi University, “This is all about constant education for our employees to equip them with the necessary skills they need to better service our customers,” says Fleming. “It’s also part of our skills retention strategy, which aims to keep our people in the business by creating opportunities for them to grow and progress within the company.”

“Since the launch of Eazi University at the beginning of April this year, three sales-related, as well as two technical courses have been completed to date,” concludes Fleming.