Elwood, Kan.-based Snorkel International demonstrated its evolution into a major full-line manufacturer of aerial work platforms at ConExpo 2008, unveiling eight new US-built models, including electric scissor, mast and articulated boomlifts aimed at the construction and industrial maintenance sectors, as well as the unique SpeedLevel rough-terrain vertical lifts.

The machines will be built at Snorkel’s facilities in Kansas, which are receiving an initial $10 million investment to help expand production.

The new machines and investment follow Snorkel’s acquisition by The Tanfield Group Plc, the United Kingdom-based engineering company.

“The addition of these machines means Snorkel is now a full-line manufacturer of aerial work platforms and a major player in the industry,” a spokesman for Snorkel said. “We are investing in plant and people, to make sure that these new machines are introduced in line with Snorkel’s great reputation and high standards for quality and on-time delivery.”

According to the company, demand has soared so much that a program is now underway to increase output by more than 60 percent, compared to 2007.

Staff numbers have already risen by more than 25 percent at the two Kansas facilities, from 400 employees to more than 500. And Snorkel says it will add another 75 workers by early spring.

The company is investing an additional $7 million in a leading-edge paint plant and other machinery, to help maintain high quality standards while improving build efficiencies.

Snorkel is also adding 100,000 square feet of extra manufacturing floor space in Kansas, while employing smarter working practices to free up more of the existing facility and reduce machine build times.

One of the new products launched at ConExpo, the AB46 articulated self-propelled boom, is an updated and enhanced version of an old favorite from the UpRight range of aerial work platforms, the company said.

“The AB46 is new to Snorkel customers, but this was an extremely popular model for UpRight, due to its class-leading specifications,” said Frank Scarborough, president of Snorkel. “We have taken this excellent performer, reviewed all details of the product to ensure it lives up to Snorkel’s reputation for quality and reliability, and priced it very competitively. We are confident it will do extremely well in North America.”

The AB46 is designed to retain the most compact stowed dimensions in its class; the greatest up-and-over height in its class; and the low-profile turntable hood provides best-in-class visibility. It is offered as either electric 2WD or diesel-powered, 4WD for rough-terrain work.

The company also launched a new U.S.-built heavy-duty scissorlift at ConExpo. The Snorkel SR3370 is a robust, diesel-powered machine that can achieve 35 percent gradeability.

It has a platform height of more than 33 feet and a deck of 8 feet, 11 inches by 5 feet, 5 inches, with a roll-out extension of 4 feet as standard.

Snorkel will begin production of the SR3370 from Kansas in April, with the first customer shipments scheduled for May.

Snorkel’s parent company, The Tanfield Group Plc has been manufacturing aerial work platforms for a decade. It acquired UpRight Powered Access in 2006 and has turned it into a major force once more in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific regions.

Following the acquisition of Snorkel International in August 2007, Tanfield has merged the two product ranges and adopted a dual branding strategy. The new, full line of aerial lifts in EMEA and Asia-Pacific is sold under the UpRight brand, while Snorkel is the preferred brand for the Americas and Australasia.