JCB Monday introduced nine all-new models of electric scissorlifts as its opening foray into the aerial work platform business as a manufacturer. JCB has been developing and engineering a lineup of aerial work platforms for the past few years. By the end of 2017, JCB Access will be offering 27 new aerial machines, including rough-terrain scissorlifts, articulated boomlifts and telescopic boomlifts, going to a maximum height on the booms of 135 feet.

The powered access industry is an $8 billion industry that sells about 130,000 units per year.

“We’ve been working on the project for more than three years,” said Richard Butler, JCB managing director, at the Rental Show. “The project has really been derived from our customers. Over the past decade, our customers have said to us, ‘Why aren’t you in aerial?’ And we said we would have a lot to do to bring them up to a full line. But just over three-and-a-half years ago, the noise got so loud from our customer base saying ‘You’ve got to be in aerial.  You’re number one around the world in telescopic handlers and aerial sits side by side with telescopic handlers.’ So today we launch our presence in the North American aerial market for the first time. In the 1950s we developed backhoes in the U.S., and in the 1970s we developed telescopic handlers.

“When we first looked at this the aerial market was worth about $3 billion. Today it’s worth $6 billion.”

Butler said JCB operates in a global marketplace with a global customer reach. “Many of our customers operate in many continents, many countries,” Butler said. “And they want a global product with global reach. When we looked at aerial compared to construction, construction has far more suppliers in it, many more people competing for the same level of business. When you look at the aerial market, there are three major competitors. It’s not as dense. We saw there was an opportunity to add a credible manufacturer into that mix.”

Butler said JCB spent a lot of time looking at the product to ensure the customer gets maximum uptime. “We have a new product introduction process where we go through a series of gated events to make sure we are completing each stage at a time. So we’ve designed and innovated our product,” he said. “We’ve not been revolutionary because we want the customer to feel that the product exists within their existing portfolio. Today here at ARA we officially launch nine electric scissors with platform heights of 15 feet through to 46 feet. And we feel that is industry-leading to have a 46-foot slab scissorlift in the marketplace. Easy to operate, robust and built to last.”

Butler said the company worked hard to meet European safety standards as well as incoming ANSI standards. JCB will be introducing its boomlifts next week at ConExpo in Las Vegas.