April 2024


Working at height innovation: maintenance engineers get spider power boost

Leading spider platform manufacturer Hinowa has recently launched two important new products. Hannah Treggalles, Marketing Director at Access Platform Sales (APS), explains their significant advantages for maintaining buildings and the national power network.

National spider lift rental specialist Paramount Platforms has become the first access hire company in the UK to take delivery of the new Hinowa 40.18 Lightlift Performance IIIS.

APS, Hinowa’s UK and Ireland distributor, has supplied the company with the tracked spider boom, now the largest in the Hinowa range, with a maximum working height of 40.2 metres.

Paramount Platforms Director Lee Kerr: “This Hinowa is the best spider lift in its performance range. It’s a gamechanger for our clients working up to 40 metres.”

Paramount Platforms sent the spider platform straight out on long-term hire to support planned maintenance at a prestigious financial HQ building in London.

The Hinowa Lightlift 40.18 has a maximum working height of 40.2m and a maximum outreach of 17.5m, with an unrestricted basket capacity of 230kg and, importantly, a restricted capacity of 300kg.

‘So easy to use’

Paramount Platforms Director Lee Kerr is impressed. He said: “This Hinowa is the best spider lift in its performance range. It’s a gamechanger for working at heights approaching 40 metres and where significant outreach is needed.

“We almost always supply large spider lifts with an operator. The Hinowa 40.18 is so easy to use, if the client has used other Hinowa platforms, I have no qualms about them taking the 40.18 on self-drive hire.”

Being easy to use was not just a nice to have. It also opened up the possibility of hiring large platforms to a new segment of customers, by influencing judgements about rental risks.

Lee Kerr said: “It’s as simple to operate as a 17-metre Hinowa. Members of the facilities management team who were the first to use it were amazed at its performance, including how quiet it is.”

Reduced carbon footprint

Paramount Platforms has taken a bi-energy Hinowa 40.18, with a low-emissions diesel engine and lithium batteries for all-electric zero-emissions and low carbon operation.

This provides the rental company with maximum flexibility for outdoor and indoor operation, also for working in ultra low emissions zones and where noise-level restrictions apply. It can also be supplied with diesel engine only or solely with lithium battery power.

Founded in 2009, Paramount Platforms has one of the biggest spider  fleets in the UK, with working heights from 15.7m to 42m, the biggest proportion of them Hinowa platforms.

Hinowa 40.18

APS Key Accounts Director Linda Betts, said: “Hinowa puts a huge amount of investment into making all their platforms extremely easy to operate, with smart functions that ensure they’re very safe and reliable.

“The Hinowa 40.18 typifies this approach. Its up-and-over capability will solve just as many lower working height challenges where outreach is vital, allowing these tasks to be completed with less disruption and cost.”

Narrow stabilisation

The Hinowa Lightlift 40.18 has a larger basket (2,000mm by 700mm), big enough to take up to three operatives within the 300kg restricted capacity. In this higher capacity set-up, the maximum working height is still 40.2m but outreach is reduced to 16.5m.

The platform’s outriggers can also be operated in a narrow stabilisation area for – 6,675mm by 3,640mm compared with a standard stabilisation area of 5,375mm by 5,040mm. In this set-up, maximum working height is 35m and outreach just under 11m, with a restricted 230kg capacity.

When stowed for tracking, the Lightlift 40.18 is still very compact, with a width of 1,200mm and a height of 1,199mm. That is just 230mm wider than a 20m Hinowa Lightlift 20.10, and the same stowed height.

Power line maintenance boost

Working at height is not just a matter of how high its basket can be raised from the ground. In the power generation sector, the materials the basket is made from also count.

It is why Arborite Tree Services has become the first business in the UK to buy a Hinowa spider platform with a glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) bucket.

APS has supplied Arborite with a Hinowa Lightlift 20.10 Performance IIIS fitted with the specialist bucket to work on trees adjacent to live high voltage power lines.

Working from access platforms with GRP buckets is a key safety requirement when working in the vicinity of high voltage electrical equipment or power lines.

It helps protect the operator should they inadvertently come into contact with a power cable and reduces the risk of electricity arcing across to the machine.

Hampshire-based Arborite is using its Lightlift 20.10 to maintain trees along power lines for distribution network operator (DNO) SSE.

Company owner Jon Challinor said: “We wanted a Hinowa because, being very robust and reliable, they’re the best platforms for tree work.

“Now we can work for SSE on trees adjacent to live power lines. This is something DNOs prefer because they don’t need to shut down power and hire in generators to maintain services.”

GRP buckets – new opportunities

APS Regional Business Manager Jonathan Wiseman said: “Our customers have been keenly looking forward to the arrival of Hinowa spider lifts with GRP buckets.

GRP bucket

“They open up new opportunities for our customers in the power generation sector and, of course, the platforms are fully capable of fulfilling all other working at height tasks.

“When combined with new Hinowa Lightlift spider lifts, they are fully CE-certified. They can also be retrofitted to platforms built from the start of July 2023, once Hinowa has gone through a confirmation process.”

Founded in 2007, Arborite had operated a Hinowa Lightlift 20.10 spider lift with a standard aluminium basket for three years.

Better off-road capability

The company’s teams could still work next to high voltage lines but only during planned shutdowns when the power had been switched off.

Having a Hinowa with a fully-compliant GRP bucket creates opportunities to do more work for SSE adjacent to live power lines with voltages ranging from 11,000v to 33,000v.

Arborite also operates a Land-Rover truck mount, which has a GRP bucket and a 14m maximum working height.

However, the Hinowa LL 20.10 has better off-road capability and, with a maximum working height of 20.1m and a maximum reach of 9.7m, can tackle more challenging tree maintenance tasks.

APS has taken back Arborite’s previous Hinowa LL 20.10 in part exchange. It has also supplied the company with a new 3.5t trailer to tow its new spider lift using a 4×4 vehicle or a van with a standard car driving licence.

Interchangeable with standard basket

Hinowa’s new GRP bucket has been launched after being put through a stringent design and testing programme to ensure it complies with all safety regulations, including passing flame retardancy tests.

Other key performance features include:

  • The GRP bucket can be lifted on and off the boom in the same way as a standard basket to aid tracking in confined spaces;
  • It can be used interchangeably with a standard basket with no adaptations to any platform equipment;
  • The platform has the same unrestricted 230kg capacity and same wind rating as the standard basket;
  • As with the standard basket, water and compressed air lines can be accessed from the GRP bucket.

GRP bucket – six Hinowa platforms

The new GRP bucket can be used with six Hinowa spider lift models: the Lightlift 13.70, Lightlift 15.70, Lightlift 17.75, Lightlift 18.80. Lightlift 20.10 and the Lightlift 26.14.

It means spider lift operators, including platform rental companies, can buy a limited number of GRP buckets and provide them for use across a fleet of Hinowa platforms with different working heights.

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