RER: What new equipment enhancements or developments has your company come up with in the past year?
Jensen: Haulotte introduced the newly updated Compact scissor range to the North American market at the 2023 ARA show in Orlando. The five scissors in the range, with platform heights from 20 to 39 feet, have been completely redesigned from the ground up with rear mounted AC direct drive motors protected by an integrated counterweight, standard folding guardrails, as well as the Haulotte Activ’Screen for industry leading onboard troubleshooting and parameter controls. Also standard is the Haulotte Activ’Energy Management smart charging system that features optimized charging curves, operator charging reminders, a deep-discharge waking cycle to prevent lasting damage, and a de-sulfation cycle to extend battery lifetime.
Obviously, the trend towards electrification of equipment has accelerated in the past year. Are you finding greater interest and acceptance among your rental company customers? How about among end users?
Jensen: We are finding that some of our customers have worked hard to create and build new markets where electric machines have big advantages. We see reports that some government jobs have preferences for electric machines and are willing to pay a premium for the feature. We are beginning to see an increase in green construction projects that are striving to minimize their environmental impact. Also, the Haulotte HS 5390 E rough terrain electric scissor has become a popular indoor machine. Its 1,650-pound platform capacity and double extension platforms provides a large work surface for jobs that have previously been done from smaller boom lift baskets.
End users are enjoying the flexibility our electric machines bring to a jobsite. Using the same machine for indoor and outdoor work increases their productivity. Also, electric machines are nearly silent and transmit less vibration to operators compared to internal combustion engines. Both factors reduce stress on workers while improving job site conditions.
Continuing on the topic of electrification and battery-powered equipment, there is still a perception among many that they don’t perform as well as diesel-powered machines. Any thoughts on that?
Jensen: Haulotte does extensive performance comparison testing between electric and internal combustion machines while developing our electric solutions. We make sure that operators won’t notice a difference in drive speed, elevation speed, or obstacle climbing capability. But we do make sure that you notice a difference in other areas. Electric machines require less maintenance and have fewer mechanical failure points. Haulotte’s SHERPAL telematics system gives owners instant access to machine health status, critical alerts, and recommended preventative maintenance to increase machine up time.
Pairing SHERPAL with Haulotte’s Activ’Energy Management smart charging system increases your battery lifespan with an automatic watering system and instant alerts when a machine needs to be charged to prevent battery abuse. Haulotte electric machines not only perform as well as internal combustion machines, they outperform them in uptime and total cost of ownership as well.
It appears that the coming year should be strong for aerial equipment sales. Do you expect to see a lot of opportunities in infrastructure spending? Increased industrial and/or non-residential work? An onshoring trend in North America?
Jensen: Next year should be the right time to see the infrastructure spending affect our sector of the industry. Architects and designers are finishing their work and a lot of the ground and foundation work is underway. We’ll see the need for MEWPs on job sites soon as those projects continue to progress. In addition to infrastructure, we have seen an increase in mega projects as warehousing and manufacturing continue to grow both in number as well as in size of the projects. In addition to new construction, there is a large number of existing buildings that are being repurposed and MEWPs will play a big role in those renovations.
Are the supply chain issues still a major problem for your company and are lead times still long or are things more normal?
Jensen: We are seeing a little bit of both sides of this equation as we transition away from the major supply chain problems. We have a healthy backlog as we continue to grow our business, and this has helped us time our purchasing and [ability to] plan ahead with our suppliers. We are also lucky enough to have some equipment on hand for quick responses to customers that need to take advantage of their own new opportunities. We are still working through occasional supply challenges, we aren’t out of the woods yet, but we have seen significant recent improvements.