06/12/2006 - 06:00 am

PLE Gives Old Ideas a New Twist

Former OmniQuip Textron employee Marc Bogue set out on his own five years ago with the idea of taking common machine designs and improving them with today's technology. After acquiring a small Italian forklift distributorship in 2001, his product offerings have since grown to mini skid steers, attachments, lawn and landscape equipment, and towable aerial lifts. Bogue's company Portable Lift Equipment, Inc., Beresford, S.D., manufactures the PLE-24W and the PLE-18 trailer-mounted scissor lifts. The PLE-24W features a 24-foot tall platform height, while the PLE-18 has an 18-foot platform height.

Compared to traditional trailer-mounted aerials, Bogue said towable scissor lifts are smaller and more lightweight. “Our footprint is about half of a traditional trailer-mounted boom, and the length is about half too,” he said. Towable scissor lifts increase operator confidence, he added, because they have less bounce than boom lifts. They also have fewer controls than traditional trailer-mounted aerials, reducing discomfort that less experienced operators may face in the platform.

Estimating the market size for towable scissor lifts to be about 500 machines per year, Bogue said he challenges PLE to introduce a new piece of equipment every six months to keep its product offerings fresh. PLE is an innovation-based company, Bogue said, whether it is taking current designs to a new level or developing new products. He added the company incorporates the same technology as other major AWP major manufacturers, such as laser cutting and robotic welding.

However, there are subtle differences in how PLE's towable scissor lifts are manufactured. Fabrication is different, for one, Bogue said. For example, the cross member is 32 inches wide, and the machine is laser cut on both sides of the stack beams, providing a 25% more rigid stack. PLE's platform rails are made of heavy duty 11-gauge structural steel • Bogue said 14-gauge steel is most commonly used. They also incorporate torsion axles, 13-inch radial tires, and weather-proof, IP-65 certified controls.

Sophisticated safety features are also important to PLE's machine designs. They include outrigger shutdown switches, which prohibit the outriggers from engaging when they are not completely extended, and an audible alarm on the level sensor, which sounds if the outrigger loses pressure sensing or the machine tilts more than 2.

The PLE towable scissor lifts use a patented hydraulic manifold, which disables the machines if there is a hydraulic failure. The units also use a low pressure hydraulic system.

PLE towable scissor lifts are governed under ANSI A92.3 manually propelled elevating aerial platforms and feature rough-terrain capabilities. The PLE-24W features an operating weight of 2,390 pounds, and the PLE-18 has an operating weight of 2,000 pounds. Any vehicle with a 2-inch ball hitch can tow these machines at highway speeds. As long as the machine is leveled out, Bogue said, it is can be pulled into position anywhere a vehicle can go.

These machines feature a 48”x64” platform with a 32-inch deck extension and a 500-pound platform capacity. A rubberized urethane coating is applied to the main platform and extension surface to create a non-skid deck.

Options include a light kit, locking spare tire kit, tool tray, 2,500-watt Honda generator, compressed air operation, 12”x12” outrigger pads. Outriggers also can be replaced with casters to provide a push-around option.

Applications

According to Bogue, PLE's largest customer is a gas station canopy and sign companies. “With bucket trucks, you have to have a CDL and licensing requirements can be expensive, but the PLE can be towed with a small truck, pulled up under the gas station canopy, and you do the maintenance work in five minutes,” he said. Sports and concert venues are also ideal applications for PLE towable scissor lifts. “Every football field needs our unit,” Bogue said. “You can hook it up to an ATV and pull it to where you need it to be.”

Outdoor lovers also can appreciate being able to tow a scissor lift donned with a camouflaged hunting blind attachment with a small truck or ATV. “We're excited about the hunting options,” he said, adding that it provides additional opportunities for weekday and weekend rentals. Other attachments include light towers and computer billboards.

While Bogue lists other applications, such as building, sign, and underbridge maintenance, as major growth areas, he said the company isn't limiting the PLE towable scissor lifts to its previously established applications. “These machines are only restricted by our industry's imagination,” he said.

For more information, visit www.portableliftequipment.com.


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