As part of a recent series of interviews with aerial equipment manufacturers, Paul Kreutzwiser, global category director – Aerial Work Platforms, JLG Industries, talks about JLG’s new SmartLoad Technology, its load management information system, new training and safety technology and more.

RER: What have been your most recent technological developments on your equipment?

Kreutzwiser: At CONEXPO, JLG showcased several new technologies designed to make equipment more productive and profitable.

One of these was SmartLoad Technology on its new high capacity telehandlers.  SmartLoad Technology is a bundle of three integrated technologies. Included in the bundle is attachment recognition, which allows a telehandler to identify an attachment and display the appropriate load chart to the operator. The second technology, a load management information system (LMIS), graphically depicts a load’s location within the load chart, provides an indication of compliance, and prevents the operator from violating the chart’s boundaries. A load stability indicator (LSI) completes the technologies, working with the LMIS to limit operation when a load becomes non-compliant. Combining attachment recognition with real-time load data gives operators greater confidence during operation and protects fleets by giving operators additional guidance on load capabilities.

A second new technology, the No Touch Enhanced Detection System (EDS), is an advancement of our existing Soft Touch System. Soft Touch uses whisker proximity switches to stop a machine when it makes contact with an object or structure. No Touch uses advanced infrared technology to sense an object or structure is nearby, first slowing, then stopping the machine before it makes contact. A visual and auditory warning alerts the operator when a boom or scissor approaches a structure. No Touch EDS then stops the machine, limiting its operation to reverse mode unless the operator overrides the system to inch closer to complete the work at hand. If the operator doesn’t override the system, the machine remains in reverse mode until it is clear of the obstruction, when it will return to normal operation. No Touch EDS is ideal for aviation, aerospace and other industries where operation near costly structures requires extra care. This technology will be available on select JLG scissors in early 2018 with a phased rollout across the full line of scissors and booms thereafter.

In general, what trends do you see coming up in aerial equipment?

Kreutzwiser: Safety must always be at the forefront of machine design and operation. JLG always considers the latest safety trends and regulatory environment when developing new products or product enhancements. Changes to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards which govern Aerial Work Platform (AWP) regulations are anticipated to be published in the coming months.  These will drive a number of safety and training enhancements to AWPs or Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) as they are expected to be called under the new standard including: load sensing for actively monitoring loads, stopping a machine’s normal functionality and sounding an alarm when overloaded; hand-operated controls on the platform must also be protected against sustained involuntary operation, preventing further movement of the machine in the direction of trapping or allowing the operator to reverse or stop the trapping movement; more stringent wind force requirements resulting in outdoor machines with increased weight and reduced capacities; new stability testing requirements, with foam filled or solid tires becoming necessary on most booms and rough terrain scissors; and an increase to scissor rail heights, necessitating fold-down rails on compact models to ensure they fit through standard height doorways.

          The ANSI changes will move MEWPs more towards global standardization.  While the standards will result in several changes to existing product lines, manufacturers such as JLG already offer a range of access equipment that is compliant with many of the anticipated changes.

Compact crawler booms are gaining increased use in utility and facility maintenance applications due to their ease of portability, compact size and ability to be used indoors or outdoors with minimal impact to sensitive flooring or grounds.  

JLG EcoLift and LiftPod low-level access products continue to gain momentum in replacing scaffolding and ladders in industrial and facility maintenance applications These products reduce set-up time for improved productivity and provide a safer solution for working at height to deliver strong value.  

We are also seeing continued interest in hybrid models due to their environmentally friendly and energy-efficient operation. We anticipate increased interest in hybrid and energy efficient access equipment moving forward.

What new safety developments and safeguards have you made on your equipment?

Kreutzwiser: JLG announced effective calendar year Q1 2017, that its SkyGuard enhanced control panel protection system is standard equipment across the entire JLG portfolio of boom lifts. When activated, the revolutionary SkyGuard system stops all functions in use at the time, then temporarily reverses most functions that were in use when the system was activated.

SkyGuard can be activated from a variety of angles and provides additional protection without impeding or reducing the work envelope of the boom lift. In also does not increase the boom lift platform profile or limit the use of the platform. The system resets with a cycling foot switch or e-stop. SkyGuard kits are available to customers for specific models of boom lifts ordered prior to 2017.

Any new developments in training?

Kreutzwiser: Access Ready:

In 2017, JLG introduced AccessReady (https://accessready.jlg.com), which connects operator trainees to JLG-qualified professional trainers, making it easier to find JLG and competitive brand AWP and telehandler training in their area.

JLG-qualified professional trainers provide operator training to the customers or employees of independent rental centers, equipment dealers or directly to a company who owns a fleet of access equipment. AccessReady also offers operator trainees the option to complete an e-learning course or courses. They then find an area-based JLG-qualified instructor through the AccessReady portal to complete the hands-on evaluation necessary to gain operator qualification.

Operators who successfully complete the training are qualified for three years for telehandlers and indefinitely for AWPs.

Lift and Access Equipment Simulator:

The JLG equipment simulator employs advanced virtual reality technology to familiarize operators with the controls and operation techniques of boom lifts. A multi-player version of the virtual reality simulator enables two operators to interact with each other in real-time, while experiencing true-to-life job site scenarios as they maneuver equipment on mixed terrain, completing specific tasks in the same virtual environment.

JLG has long been focused on providing industry-leading field-based or classroom-style product and service training courses at our dedicated Training Center and Proving Grounds in McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania. Our virtual 3D equipment-training simulator is a next level development for our training program.

Virtual experiences – such as those offered by the JLG equipment simulator – engage users, transforming them from passive audience members in a classroom setting to active participants in the training process. It trains them to operate JLG access equipment through a hands-on, life-like experience, allowing them to become familiar with equipment controls, master operational skills, and hone their ability to make decisions while on the job.

The JLG virtual training simulator was demoed earlier this year at ConExpo and will be available to customers for purchase in the near future.