Vertical mast lifts rise to the need for single-person access in tight spaces

By Leila SteedAugust 16, 2022

MEC introduces its electric MME Series

Vertical mast lifts have long been the preferred choice for single-person requirements in tight spaces, explains Gary Crook, VP of engineering at MEC Aerial Work Platforms.

While Cook says micro scissors have created an alternative in some applications, he adds that the core demand for vertical masts remains.

In addition, he comments, “The move to all-electric is definitely a trend but MEC believes real value can also be added by addressing weaknesses in this product category as well as driving for better job site and operator safety.”

Electric vertical mast lifts

That said, the move to direct electric drive for the high efficiency, longer duty cycles and higher product residual value that it offers, has been a very real trend in recent years.

In 2021, MEC introduced its Mast Electric (MME) Series with two models, the MME20, with 20-foot platform height and the MME25, with a non-rotating vertical mast lift platform height of 25 feet.

The company followed the MME Series with the 16-foot all-electric MMAE16 in April this year. It is the first all-electric lift, steer-and-drive machine in the company’s line, offering smoother controls, as well as parting with the hydraulics.

The low weight of 2,170 pounds is combined with a rugged steel platform. It provides robustness and the platform comes with a glide-out extension deck to give the operator almost 4 feet to work within and standard 350-pound capacity on both the main and slide-out deck; a standard full height lift gate completes the platform.

Oil-free vertical masts

On the subject of all-electric and the continued move by producers to avoid hydraulic oil, Dingli has launched a fully oil-free electric series.

The new direct electric drive series of six scissor lifts and vertical mast lifts, which has no hydraulic oil and offers working heights of 16 to 52 feet and maximum loads of 507 to 992 pounds.

Using electric actuators for lifting, lowering and steering, instead of traditional hydraulic oil cylinders, the new series provides a range of advantages, says the

Dingli launched its direct electric drive series, including scissor and vertical mast lifts which use no hydraulic oil and offer working heights of 16 to 52 feet and maximum loads of 507 to 992 pounds


This includes low energy consumption, amounting to an energy saving of 30%, compared with the hydraulic system. With no hydraulics, issues like stuck valve cores, oil leakage, oil changes and temperature inefficiencies are avoided.

The units are equipped with a maintenance-free permanent magnet synchronous motor (PMSM) and AGM battery, which greatly reduces maintenance costs, says the manufacturer.

New vertical masts for 2023

Snorkel will be expanding its line of mast lifts with an additional electric-drive model, the TM20E, which will debut at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023, March 14-18 in Las Vegas. The latest mast lift from the company is the TM12E electric-drive lift launched at the 2017 ARA Rental Show in Orlando, Florida.

The TM16E, a 16-foot version of the same mast lift, debuted the following week at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017. The TM12E can lift up to 500 pounds to a platform height of up to 12 feet and weighs in at 2,240 pounds.

The electric drive system delivers longer duty cycles, thanks to drawing up to 50% less amps than hydraulic drive masts. The new drive system brings the additional benefit of a zero inside turning radius.

The TM16E features all the same capabilities but with a 16-foot maximum lift height and a weight of 2,430 pounds. It also features an electric braking system.

Electric drive is the main trend in the family, says Matthew Elvin, CEO, Xtreme Manufacturing and Snorkel. “As with all sectors of the access market, our customers are after more height and maximum deck capacity with an eye on machine weight, as these must go into elevators and be moved between floors on construction jobs during the final fit-out phase.”

Powering access equipment: Electrification

Genie has its long-established GR range on the market. While the company cannot comment on future products, it pointed to recent launches of electric booms and scissors as a hint of what is to come.

Genie’s GR Rounabout series is firmly established in the market

Ryan Crow, Genie product manager, said, “Vertical masts, like all powered access equipment, is seeing more electrification.”

As mentioned, this is not only the case with the company’s direct electric drive system E-Drive, but there is a trend to electric lifts which completely removes hydraulics from the machine.

“Electrification will ultimately lead to lower maintenance and repair costs,” Crow said. “In addition, while electric lift vertical masts are going through a period of validation, I am confident this equipment category will be hydraulic free in the future.”

Trends in the access equipment market

“Another trend we are watching closely is an increase in the average height of single-story facilities, such as warehouses and data centers,” said Crow. “We anticipate that this trend will have an impact on vertical mast height requirements.”

He adds, “There has been an expectation in the market that the introduction of microscissors would compete against and take industry mix away from vertical masts.

“We have not seen any big swings. Vertical mast demand has stayed strong, in parallel with the growth of the micro-scissor market.”

Both Skyjack’s new vertical mast units feature the manufacturer’s new green Eco label, hence the ‘E’ in the name, accompanied by an Eco Matrix that provides additional sustainability benefits over previous models.

The aim was to make the range more compact and light. The SJ12 E and SJ16 E

Snorkel will be expanding its line of mast lifts with an additional electric-drive model, the TM20E, which will debut at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023, March 14-18 in Las Vegas

have working heights of 18 feet and 21 feet 6 inches.

Modeled on the company’s SJ20 E, the units are driven by dual AC electric motors which provides up to 30% improvement in duty cycles, meaning less charging, less power consumption and a lower carbon footprint.

They also achieved a 70% reduction in hydraulic connections, which ties in with the industry-wide focus on reduction of hydraulics.

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