The technical features for effective use of an aerial platform

The technical features for effective use of an aerial platform

Mikko Laiho, Technical Support Engineer and training instructor for Bronto Skylift, took a deep dive into an aerial platform’s key technical features with the greatest impact on its effective use.

Reach – both vertical and lateral – is the most critical feature of aerial platforms. It is easy to compare reach between different aerial platform models on paper, but to get the maximal performance out of the equipment in every situation, day in and day out, is a different game.

Mikko Laiho, Technical Support Engineer and training instructor, Bronto Skylift

With reliable sensors, an advanced control system, correct levelling and a trained operator, you can get the most potential out of your aerial platform.

How to work efficiently at maximum reach

The height and weight sensors need to be in full working order before you can hit the limits of reach, so regular maintenance is critical. A valued feature in Bronto Skylift’s aerial platforms is that the operator can choose the amount of weight they predict will go into the cage – usually either 280, 700, or 1100 lb in fire fighting aerials and 260, 790 or 1500 lb in industrial access work platforms. Based on this input, the advanced Bronto+ control system automatically calculates the safe reach; less weight means more reach. The sensor measures how much weight is actually in the rescue cage at all times, and the control system ensures safety by limiting movements in case of any overloading. For example, in rescue situations someone may jump into the cage without a warning. Training for this kind of unexpected situation is crucial to ensure safe landing.

It is easier to focus on the job at hand when the aerial platform is stable – even when you’re working at 330 ft. In Bronto Skylift’s aerial platforms, this too is achieved with the Bronto+ control system. Bronto+ makes steering easy and precise, and rescue cage movements soft and gradual. Soft movements transfer less dynamic load to the boom structure, and thus keep the rescue cage more stable. Training hands-on regularly to get to know your aerial platform’s control system is imperative.

You can push the aerial platform to the maximum limits when you know the high-quality components are in good shape. And as we all know, all mechanical equipment needs regular maintenance to stay reliable. Maintenance should always be carried out in keeping with local legislation and the periodic service schedule in the platform’s manual. Use genuine OEM parts to ensure quality and serviceability.

Operator training includes learning the proper boom movements. These movements need to be carried out correctly and in a certain order. With proper training, precise control of the boom offers the operator maximum reach in all situations. That’s why it’s important to practice – so you can get the most out of your aerial.

Bronto Skylift’s training courses cover every aspect of operation in detail. Proper training reduces accidents and increases operator competence and confidence in the field.

There’s no reach without safe levelling

Levelling the aerial platform on load bearing ground is critical to safe operation. Outriggers sinking into the ground due to ground collapse, for example due to drainages or other factors underground, can cause an accident that could have been avoided. Using suitable outrigger pads is also a must in all cases. Safety and stability must be confirmed by a trained operator in every situation. An optional Bronto Loadman device can be used as a helpful too to measure ground bearing capacity. It provides you with a rating of the ground solidity.


Fire fighter ensuring ground safety with Bronto loadman


Variable jacking of an aerial platform

Adjusting the footprint of your aerial platform

After ensuring the ground conditions, you are ready to set up the unit. Bronto Skylift’s aerial platforms come equipped with automatic levelling – enabled by the Bronto+ control system – that makes it easy and fast. to extend the outriggers and balance the machine. In some cases, using automatic levelling isn’t possible, and it is important to train for these manual situations beforehand.

Variable jacking, where each outrigger can be extended and retracted independently as much as the area allows, comes as a standard tool in aerial platforms with the Bronto 5+ control system. This allows you to adjust the footprint of the machine based on the situation. The Bronto+ control system will then adjust the maximum safe reach to all directions automatically based on the set up.

This feature is especially useful in urban areas allowing you to operate without blocking the street or in congested surroundings where you need to avoid multiple obstacles.

Operators’ favourite technical features

When we have asked what, other than reach, operators like the most in Bronto Skylift’s aerial platforms, it’s their reliability and stability, even at 330 ft. They‘re often surprised at how stable the platform is despite being so high. In addition to the Bronto+ control system, which enables smooth movements and reduces dynamic load, this is achieved through sufficient support of the main boom. Most Bronto aerial platforms have double lifting cylinders in the main boom for wider support and better stability.

Bronto Skylift offers a wide range of aerial platforms with different technical features, designed for different purposes. Some are tailored to get up and over buildings and below-grade, while others are designed to reach as high as possible. For example, aerial platforms with a very high reach can be too heavy for operating on top of parking garages. When choosing an aerial platform, it’s important to ensure it fits perfectly to your working environment.

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