RER Interviews JLG president Frank Nerenhausen about its new virtual reality simulator, its diversification and expansion of electrification, and the importance of training on the new standards.
RER: What have been the major new developments to your company’s technology and products in the past year?
Nerenhausen: JLG is focused on developments and innovations that are a direct result of customer feedback. We continue to develop our telematics solution, ClearSky, which is designed to improve equipment run time on the job site and longevity of the machines overall. Telematics greatly improves our rental customers’ bottom lines and the feedback has been very positive. Additionally, we recently launched our virtual reality training simulator, JLG AccessReady XR, which is designed to train boom lift operators faster and more effectively, significantly improving safety and job site performance. This solution was inspired by our customers and is a great complement to our onsite and online training at JLG. We are also focused on other enhancements, including the diversification and expansion of electrification, the implementation of augmented reality for enhancements to service solutions and job site preparedness, and changes to our equipment design as a result of ANSI standard updates that become effective in December.
Obviously, the upcoming ANSI standards are an important topic. What have you done to change your equipment technologically to prepare them to be compliant with the new standards?
JLG has been fully engaged with ANSI subcommittees over many years, helping to create these new standards. Like all manufacturers, we are fine-tuning our machine design specifications and updating our technology so that we can deliver ANSI-specific equipment and training to our customers. To that end, we stand ready to assist anyone in the industry who needs support, especially as it relates to the important changes that are impacting MEWP training.
For people who have not been following the ANSI changes, can you sum up how your equipment will change on a practical jobsite level – in other words, what will the customer find different?
JLG will be making subtle changes to its product nomenclature and design to make it easy to identify equipment that has been built specifically under the changes being implemented in December. Customers should feel confident that JLG equipment will continue to meet the demands of their job sites and the industry at-large.
For rental people, how will their responsibilities change with the new ANSI standards?
The most significant change for our rental customers is the importance of understanding the new training that is required under the standards. Our rental customers need to understand the changes and pass that knowledge on to their customers. JLG encourages all MEWP operators and owners to fully engage in training—so that they are prepared to use MEWPs to access work at height and so that they are current with the ANSI training standards.
What do you suggest rental people do to communicate with their customers about the new ANSI standards?
At the very basic level, rental companies should be asking their customers at the point of rental if they are aware of the standards. If they’re not, it’s quite critical they receive proper training. Beyond that, information could be displayed on company websites and marketing materials that can be mailed or displayed at the rental site. Our customers know that JLG is a resource for them and their customers. We stand ready to support the education of these important standards.
How will training programs change with the implementation of the new standards?
There is a long list of training changes that will be implemented as a result of the impending ANSI standard updates. Among them, there is a new supervisor training requirement, which is available 100 percent online through JLG AccessReady. Additionally, ALL operators must be trained under the new standard and operator performance must be evaluated on a regular basis. The JLG AccessReady XR virtual training system is a great way to facilitate this evaluation. This is simply a snapshot of the updates. Again, JLG stands ready to assist customers and end-users with these changes. We know that it can be overwhelming to understand how each standard impacts owners, operators and occupants, to name a few. JLG has experts ready to help.
What new safety measures have you implemented in the past year?
As a company founded 50 years ago on lifting workers and materials safely to height, JLG continues to develop innovations around safety. We recently introduced the JLG Mobile Control app for our JLG R Series Scissors this year. This industry-first technology and app enables users to drive, steer and load R Series scissor lifts while in a stowed position from an iOS mobile device. The app allows operators to have a better view of the jobsite while moving equipment, which helps improve safety conditions and reduce potential damage to the work environment. This year we also launched the JLG SkyGuard SkySense, an enhanced detection system that uses innovative ultrasonic technology to sense when an object is nearby – first slowing, then stopping the machine before it makes contact. Strategically placed object detection sensors establish warning zones and stop distances while providing audio and visual alerts to inform operators of their surroundings. Finally, we also launched a reversing camera for all SkyTrak® brand telehandlers and the JLG G5-18A telehandler this year. The new camera features enhanced sound quality allowing operators to see and hear job site activity outside the cab.
Are you seeing an increase in demand for electric and hybrid machines and is your company or will your company participate in that market?
European markets continue to drive the demand for electric and hybrid construction equipment, however we are seeing growing interest in other regions, including North America. JLG has been participating in these categories for more than a decade and we remain committed to developing new products. The industry can can expect some exciting product announcements coming in the near future.