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What is an Articulating Boom?

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An Articulating Boom Lift is a type of Powered Access machine engineered to allow safe working at height and to enable access to hard to reach areas. 

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Boom lifts are an ideal choice of equipment for applications where you need to lift workers, tools and materials to extended heights to complete a task. Unlike Telescopic Booms (also known as Stick Booms), an Articulating Boom has multiple sections that hinge, or “articulate”, allowing the operator to gain access to work areas over obstacles and barriers.  Articulating Booms are also sometimes referred to as “knuckle booms” or “up-and-over booms,” and are perfect for tight access and hard-to-reach areas.

Boom lifts are used across a range of industries and are routinely hired by facilities maintenance companies, construction contractors, cleaning companies and mechanical and electrical engineering businesses. Articulating Booms can be hired in a range of sizes and specifications to suit the work being undertaken, providing a maximum working height of 48.15m and a maximum outreach of 23.55m.

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Read on to discover:

  • How Articulating Booms are powered, and which is the right option for you?
  • Top Tips on what to consider when hiring an Articulating Boom Lift.
  • What is a Secondary Guarding Device?
  • How to hire from A-Plant Powered Access and Plantfinder (Scotland).

How are Articulating Booms powered, and which is the right option for you?

Articulated Boom Lifts are powered in a number of ways and it is important to assess where the boom lift will be used and for what purpose, in order to select the correct option for your project:

  • Electric (Battery Powered): Electric Booms are perfectly suited for indoor working, generating low levels of noise and a fume- free solution. They are also available with non-marking tyres to protect indoor surfaces.
  • Bi-Energy booms: Bi-Energy Booms utilise a small diesel engine which can power the machine or charge the battery, making them suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Bi-Energy Booms are perfect for working in large areas because the diesel engine can be used to drive the machine and move from location to location, and the operator can then switch to battery once stationary for zero fume and low noise applications.  
  • Diesel: Well suited for outdoor use, the Diesel Boom provides the largest vertical, horizontal and diagonal reach.  They are capable of travelling over rough or uneven terrain to the place of work. Consideration must be given to the ground conditions to ensure the weight of the machine is fully supported.  
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Top Tips on what to consider when hiring a Boom Lift.

Articulating Booms provide greater versatility to reach up, over and out to access work areas. It is important to select the right specification of boom lift for your application and our team will need to understand the details of the work you are undertaking and the specific location in order to select the right piece of equipment. Things to consider when planning include:

  • What height and outreach do you need to achieve to complete the task? Check for anything in the way, suchasbike shelters or benches, or even gardens and landscaping which need protecting, to ensure the boom lift has a sufficient total reach.
  • Is anything hidden obstructing the work area? If using an Articulated Boom to access a hard to reach location, check for objects which could cause an obstruction, such as a hidden wall that the boom will need to reach over.  The ‘knuckles’ of the boom will need to be higher than the obstruction, influencing the size of machine required.
  • Are you working in a confined area? Narrow models are ideal for the tightest, most congested spaces. The 12.2m Narrow NiftyLift Bi-Fuel Boom, for example, has great reach performance whilst also having a narrow chassis, making it ideal for working in places where space is restricted, like warehouses and factories.
  • What is the route that the Boom Lift will need to take to get to the location? Are there any height or weight restrictions on the way such as bridges or archways?
  • What are the ground conditions that the Boom Lift will park on and are there any weight restrictions? Check for manhole or utility covers beforehand and ensure a suitable method of additional support and coverage is in place.
  • Check for overhead obstructions such as telephone cables and electricity power lines. Ensure there is a clear working radius.
  • Have the operators undertaken the IPAF 3b training required to operate an Articulated Boom? Alongside our range of equipment, A-Plant can also advise on training and our fully accredited courses provide a one stop shop solution for Powered Access.

What is a Secondary Guarding device?

A Secondary Guarding Device is a piece of equipment which can be fitted to the cab of a Powered Access machine in addition to the primary guarding systems. The device is designed to provide an alert that an entrapment situation has occurred and that the operative could be in danger. The device does not affect the normal operation of the Boom lift or change the profile of the machine, but if activated under pressure it will stop the function in use and alert a horn and optional blue flashing beacon.

At A-Plant Powered Access we offer a range of secondary guarding systems and many of our new booms are fitted with Secondary Guarding as standard. If Secondary Guarding is not already fitted to a machine, it is usually able to be fitted upon request, and our team can provide further details if required.

Of course, Secondary Guarding does not replace the operator's responsibility to be aware of their surroundings and the need to following safe working practices.

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How to Hire from A-Plant Powered Access

To hire Articulated Booms and all other types of Powered Access equipment, you can visit our service centres and leave a deposit relative to the equipment value, or alternatively you can set up a credit account. This is a simple process that can be completed via email or in a service centre location. You will need to provide references and confirmation of insurances and then your credit account can be approved and activated within 24 to 48 hours!  Once your account is set up, you can hire from any of 33 dedicated Powered Access service centres across the UK, and also access the thousands of other products available to hire from across the specialist A-Plant divisions. 

We constantly invest in the newest equipment on the market, and so hiring from A-Plant Powered Access or Plantfinder (Scotland) means you get the reassurance of reliable and safe equipment which meets all current LOLER and PUWER requirements.  You can browse the full range of equipment supplied by A-Plant Powered Access and Plantfinder (Scotland) here, and www.plantfinderlimited.com.

A-Plant also offer the full range of IPAF courses, including the specific IPAF 3B training required to use our range of Articulating and Telescopic Boom.  We were named IAPA Training Centre of the Year in 2018 for our accredited training. Call our team for advice about your training requirements or find out more about our courses here.

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