Fitting in: Vertical mast lifts fill specific needs on the job

Vertical mast lifts are growing in popularity for two main reasons: worldwide demand for lightweight and compact machines that fit into tight spaces and won’t disturb sensitive surfaces, and the large US market waking up to the benefits these machhines can offer.

JLG says the trend is similar to what’s happening in the compact scissor lift and low-level access lift markets. Demand is being driven by users’ need for machines that meet the core requirements of smaller footprints to fit into smaller spaces, lighter weight to be used on different types of sensitive surfaces, like finished flooring, small or zero turning radius for enhanced maneuverability and ability to fit into freight elevators.


And with the US being the world’s largest access market, the increasing acceptance there for this type of lift is moving the needle in terms to their overall popularity.

Hy-Brid Lifts, based in the US, says jib-style vertical mast lifts have grown in popularity in North America because they are ideal for industrial applications that require operators to reach up and over structures that are inaccessible with traditional designs.

There is also a shift to all-electric designs. “This is a trend that’s quickly becoming standardized, and one we’ll continue to focus on with ongoing vertical mast lift developments to offer customers more reliable and lower-cost electric options.”

This year, Hy-Brid lifts was acquired by ASKO, which is also the parent company of Turkey-based MEWP manufacturer ELS and telehandler producer MST Construction.

As result, Hy-Brid Lifts has rebranded ELS and MST products in the US, as the AXCS, including the introduction of the Vertical Mast (VM) series.

The first is the VM-1230, based on the existing ELS product, which will launch in North America during the second half of the year. The follow up VM-26J, is to be released in early 2025.

In addition to this 26ft mast lift with a jib, there will also be a 20ft traditional vertical mast lift, the VM-2030 offered in the North American market.

These follow the VM04E (VM120E), launched in the second half of 2023. It has a low stowed height and a saloon-style door, making it easy for operators to enter the platform while carrying tools. It features a three-stage lifting cylinder with the advantages of a reliable structure and lower maintenance requirements. The machine has a compact size and small turning radius, enabling easy passage through narrow areas.

“Long-term, we intend to expand our product portfolio to become a full line manufacturer,” says Hy-Brid Lifts. “The VM series is one of the first additions toward this goal, which is supported through our partnership with ASKO and the broader family of companies that Hy-Brid Lifts has joined.

“The additional engineering and product support resources provided from this network allow us to not only diversify our product offerings but ensure that reliability and cost of ownership is at the forefront of each new design.”

Hy-Brid Lifts is planning to produce more mast lifts. “We have identified the key trends of vertical mast lift design to be small size, lightweight design, and a low stowed height. Their working efficiency is significantly higher than that of scissor lifts, alongside an ability to reach narrower areas.”

On the subject of the US market, JLG introduced the electric E18MCL (Mobile Construction Lift) for construction and industrial applications that require outdoor and indoor capable machines and E18MML (Mobile Maintenance Lift) in 2023 for indoor only finish work and general maintenance work, as well as for cleaner indoor-only applications.

The ‘Point & Go’ steering with caster wheels on these models is the same as the more traditional vertical lift steering style on JLG’s predecessor models.

The machines’ DC electric drive system offers two times more duty cycles than the market-leading competitive model, said the company. And their four batteries have new placement under the platform to enhance performance.

Global products

US-based MEC has just announced its expansion into Europe and the rest of the world with its first appearance at Intermat, in Paris, this year.

MEC’s most recent vertical mast lift product is the MME 20 Lite launched this quarter. It is a lighter version such that it meets stricter restricted floor loading applications and enables more economical transport costs

MEC MME Series

being some 660 pounds (300kg) lighter than previously.

The MME20 Lite is based on the MME25 and MMAE16 launched in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

The MME20 at 20ft platform height and MME25 at 25ft platform height brings the advantage of direct electric drive, along with MEC’s patented Leak Containment System (LCS) to the segment.

With the AGM battery pack, it can achieve three full shifts per charge. It has 500 pounds platform capacity and a slide-out deck.

Pure electrics

The latest vertical mast product from Dingli is the AMWP11.5-8200AC, which was launched in August 2023.

The main feature is that the whole machine is equipped with a fully closed pure electric AC system. The machine is also equipped with special forklift pockets for transport.

The unit is driveable at full height, specialized for narrow spaces and equipped with a unique pothole protection.

The maximum working height is 1.20m and the basket width has been increased, with the upgrade of a full-height gate.

“In the future, more oil-free and all-electric vertical mast lifts will be introduced on this basis, with the latest innovative technology,” the company states.

LGMG is expanding its offering too. The 4m M0407TE and 8m M0810JE were available in the fourth quarter of 2022. New products are to be developed in the near future with 6m and 10m platform height.

Consistent operations

Skyjack introduced the SJ20 E to the European market at the beginning of 2023. Originally launched in the American market, the SJ20 E expands the vertical mast range to three models with the SJ12 E and SJ16 E.

With a 7.94m working height, the introduction of Skyjack’s largest mast lift, the SJ20 E represents the desire for further height in this product type.

In addition to full electric drive, another industry trend, the unit offers consistent torque and provides up to 25% gradeability, and boasts a 159kg platform capacity. Furthermore, the overall weight of 1,170kg translates into low ground pressures.

With the dual direct drive AC Electric motor and gearbox combination, the SJ20 E reduces hydraulic connections by up to 70% and improves duty cycle by 30%.

The SJ20 E also keeps the telescopic mast at the rear, providing aunrestricted views from the front control box and moving the steering wheels away from the mast.

Intelligent designs

XCMG is expanding its vertical mast products in 2024 with the 8m-12m working height XGR08, XGR08J, XGR10J and XGR12J models, with and without jibs.

The company believes that moving on from the common trend of electric drives, the product type will become even more intelligent and customized, as technology continues to improve.

They will also become lightweight and smaller in dimension to aid transportation. “Industries and cities are constantly developing, and in the future, vertical mast lifts will continue to be used in more fields, and these prospects are worth looking forward to,” the company says.

XCMG’s 26ft XGR08 has a basket capacity of 159kg, a platform extension length of 1.7ft and gradeability of 25%. The compact unit is aimed at supermarket and warehouse operations.

It also features new generation AC drive system, intelligent control system and one-click start.

The XGR08J, XGR10J and XGR12J offer the addition of the fly jib and strong travelling power and climbing ability of 25%.

With the intelligent control system, easy to use layout and lubrication-free design, it is easy to maintain, added XCMG.

XCMG forecasts that the vertical mast lift will see greater growth as its natural features such as maneuverability, high reach and lift address the need for complex operations in limited spaces that other machines cannot achieve. This means the rental rate of this equipment type is steadily increasing.

Key specifications
Zoomlion ZMP04

Zoomlion was to launch a new series of vertical mast lifts in May this year, including the ZMP04, ZMP05, and ZMP06.

Their design summarizes the key elements of mast lifts – small size, light weight and flexibility in compact areas. This is combined with strong gradeability, good cross-over ability, and small turning radius and excellent maneuverability, says the company.

Other areas of development have been in safety. Zoomlion’s mast lifts withstand 1.5 times of structural load test, a sufficient margin for structural parts.

Another fast-moving area is electronics, and electro-hydraulic proportional control, along with comfortable operation. A platform load detection system to prevent the danger of overload is there too, along with AC motor and dead-weight lowering for efficient energy saving. The large maintenance-free batteries are designed to offer long running time, as is the lightweight design for lower energy consumption.

Zoomlion states, “Our American and European customers all expressed strong and urgent demands for them. As such, based on market research and communications with our customers in America, Europe and Korea, we developed the ZM line for different demands.”

Haulotte’s last vertical mast lift was launched back in 2020. The Star 6 crawler has a 5.8m height and completed the Star range from 6 to 10m, with or without jib.

Low level future

Haulotte says there are no plans to introduce further full-height products in the range and added that the market for them had remained steady over the last five years.

The company adds that instead, there is increasing demand for low level versions in the 3.4m and 4.5m working height range, both pusharound and self propelled to replace ladders, podiums and mobile towers. The manufacturer has recently launched a series of low level scissor and mast lifts to meet this demand.

“Their main uses include maintenance work, such as changing overhead lighting, HVAC cleaning, electrical tasks or ceiling repairs in buildings like schools or offices.

“Recent trends in vertical mast lifts indicate a growing demand for machines on low access market that can operate in even more confined areas and on sensitive surfaces.”


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Ollie Hodges Publisher Tel: +44 (0)1892 786253 E-mail: [email protected]
Lewis Tyler
Lewis Tyler Editor Tel: 44 (0)1892 786285 E-mail: [email protected]