Mobile Track lifts have been and continue to be a valued asset in the tree care industry. I should make mention that there are great wheel self-drive train units on the market as well. Either way, mobile track lifts continue to enhance the way the tree care industry services trees.
There are some items you should know when owning a mobile lift. Here are some pointers you may want to include regarding these lifts:
- There are several manufacturers.
- The lift which is good for one company may not be the right fit for another so do your homework!
- Lifts should only be towed with trailers which will safely handle the load. Do not hedge trailer weight just to save a dollar or in many cases to stay under the 10,000 GVWR as to avoid being under the CDL classification.
- Persons should be trained as to load and unload the unit. Don't assume anything.
- Take as much time as needed to learn, understand, and operate your lift. This aerial lift is not a toy.
- Understand your lifts limits and don't try to do something with it that it was not manufactured for, (such as using it for rigging or pushing it against something).
- Do pre-checks weekly and in some items daily.
- Track lifts have many safety features. If you neglect your unit, you can rest assured you will have down time and associated repair cost.
- Some units offer insulated booms while others don't. Make sure you assess the risk and value either way when making your purchase.
- Ask where support comes from should you require service, testing, and or training.
- Aerial lifts have many moving parts so read the manual your dealer will provide.
- Simple things can create major issues such as (lowering into the cradle off center time and again, over extending out-riggers, not adjusting tracks often enough, and the list goes on).
BIG CONCERN: This unit is not a truck mount aerial bucket truck. It simply cannot and will not take the abuse so often seen with your normal bucket truck It is not built to withstand large limbs or logs being dropped on it. The lifts are mainly designed for a 1 person operations and for people 250lbs or less (this can vary). These are lifts and not cranes.
At BTS Equipment we service track lifts for customers on a regular basis. Most service needs are due to human neglect, and most often involve lack of training and skills to operate the lift safely and correctly.
One other item to think about is available parts and, of course, who is able to service you. Most, (not all) lifts come from across the ocean. While there are many parts ready as needed here in the United States, there are also others which must come from far and wide. Thus, when your unit breaks it could be sitting for some time before ready to get in action.
Your track lift will do wonders for you as long as you train, inspect, use it correctly , and think “Safety First".
George R. Lee
Romeo, MI 48065