Searching for the perfect aerial platform for telecom work sites

5th generation super-fast cellular network that can tenfold the capacity of current mobile data connections. Sounds great, let’s have it! First networks have been opened and the technology is expected to fully launch across the world in 2020, working alongside existing 3G and 4G technology. The 5G network requires more complex antennas, so for the subscribers to enjoy speedier connections, the providers need to build new and update old cell towers. This again is a great opportunity for the companies providing equipment and services for working at height. One of the companies grabbing this opportunity is UK based Elev8.

“We had seen the demand rising for this kind of work platform. That’s the very reason we developed the S35EM in the first place. Equipped with the cage winch it’s just a perfect fit for these worksites,”

says Ian James, Key Account Manager, Bronto Skylift.

Elev8 offers a wide variety of elevated work platforms from crawlers to big truck mounted aerials up to 90-meter working height. Already having a long track record in providing rental solutions for telecom industry, Elev8 went into search for new equipment to answer the rental demand. On their top three wish list for the new equipment were the features that are most beneficial at telecom worksites. First of all, the work platform had to be compact and flexible to set up to fit the city surroundings and outreach had to be sufficient to reach the far away targets. Secondly, the cage load had to allow several hundred kilograms to fit the antennas, tools and men – none of which are getting lighter, one might add. Last but definitely not least, the working cage had to be equipped with manufacturer-approved material handling solution to lift the antennas. Emphasis on Manufacturer-Approved. Elev8 takes safety and warranty issues very seriously and wanted the equipment manufacturer to make all the calculations and attachments to guarantee maximum safety in all situations. After searching and weighing in the options, Elev8started negotiations with Bronto Skylift about the latest innovation, the S35EM. This 35-meter work platform fulfilled all the criteria Elev8 had on their shopping list.

Cage winch 200kg

Elev8 was the first in the UK in getting the new S35EM, or “baby-Bronto” as some called it. Interestingly enough, Elev8 were also the very first in UK to get Bronto S50XDT-J and S56XR back in the days when they were launched. According to Jason Machin, Managing Director and founder of Elev8, they have altogether 12 different “first-in-the-UK” innovations. No doubt, Elev8 is one of the trailblazers in the rental industry, always going the extra mile to find a perfect solution for the customer.

 “We have good experience with Bronto Skylift from our previous four Bronto platforms, so this was a natural path to pursue and the manufacturer-approved winch on the S35EM sealed the deal,”

says Marek Papay, Group Engineer at Elev8.

Before becoming a Group Engineer, Marek used to be a full time operator at Elev8, so he really knows what an ideal work platform should look and feel like. With it’s 35m working height, 29m side outreach and 500kg cage load the S35EM fulfils the points that Elev8 put forward. In addition, it has variable jacking and front outriggers that open diagonally to the front. This brings extra flexibility to the set up as the jacks come closer to the front tyre line. Naturally, Elev8 chose the easy-to-install 200kg cage winch as optional equipment. In addition to the winch, they chose the material lockers on deck.

“The locker is bigger than the average den! All kidding aside, it really is big for this size of a work platform and can accommodate plenty of materials and tools,”

says Papay
S35EM aerial work platform doing facade maintenance

The S35EM has been well liked across Europe and was awarded with IAPA Product of the year 2019 in the truck-mounted category. Elev8 has had their S35EM for few months now and according to Jason Machin it has been fully rented and the unit has proven to be as handy as they expected. Other Bronto’s on Elev8’s fleet are also being rented out with a good rates and their optional equipment is in heavy use too.

When I ask Marek and Jason what the ideal future equipment on a Bronto platform would be, they have many ideas, big and small. When the discussion turns into flying Bronto’s, it’s time for me to step out and the engineers to step in. You can just see the sparks flying as the next developments are planned. Stay tuned, maybe some of the innovations see the daylight sooner than anybody expects.


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