This blog post was originally posted on the JLG website and used by Rental with permission from the company.
When working at height on projects requiring plumbing, hanging drywall, electrical work, painting and a multitude of other construction-related tasks, electric scissor lifts are a popular go-to choice for contractors. Frequent use of these types of machines mandates the need to keep them well maintained to make sure they work as intended.
Keep in mind that there are several types of scissor lifts with different maintenance requirements. The main types of scissor lifts include: Battery-powered scissor lifts that feature either hydraulic or electric drive and rough-terrain machines, which feature batteries with electric drive, diesel or dual fuel engines with hydrostatic drive systems.
Because each model has different components and features, service technicians must refer to the original operator’s manual, and service and maintenance manual for guidance on proper inspection and maintenance. Below are guidelines for effectively maintaining electric scissor lifts to create safer, smarter connected jobsites.
Each day and each shift must begin with an electric scissor lift inspection and function test. This allows operators to find and fix problems prior to starting the job. Inspections can also catch problems that may go unnoticed before creating a hazard. Walkaround visual inspections should occur daily, at shift changes, or any time a new operator takes over the machine. Daily electric scissor lift inspections typically include:
- Checking for visible leakages (oil or battery fluids) or foreign objects.
- Looking for dents, weld or metal cracks, or other visible damage.
- Checking the machine decals and placards to be sure they are clean and legible.
- Inspecting scissor arms and centering link, as well as the platform gate to ensure it closes properly.
- Checking the hydraulic fluid levels and cleanliness.
- Verifying all applicable manuals are located on the machine
A function check must also be completed before each use in an area free of overhead and ground-level obstructions. Accessories and attachments should also be inspected.
General Maintenance Checklist
Below are OSHA’s (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines for scissor lift maintenance. Be sure to reference the machine’s factory-issued manuals to ensure complete compliance.
- Check all fluid levels including oil, fuel, coolant, and hydraulics. Inspect the machine thoroughly for leaks.
- Check the wheels and tires. Look for worn tire treads and cracks or bubbles in the sidewalls. Make sure tire pressure is at the correct PSI. Check wheels for any structural damage.
- Test the steering and brakes to ensure they are fully operational.
- Check the battery and charge level to ensure power isn’t lost on the job.
- Test all emergency controls to make sure they are working. This includes horns, gauges, lights, and backup alarms.
- Make sure all personal protection devices are in place and working properly. These include safety harnesses, fall protection gear, and more.
Inspect these areas for signs of any problems:
- Air, electric, pneumatic, and hydraulic systems
- Insulating components
- Written warnings, placards, and instructions
- Mechanical fasteners and locking pins
- Cable and wiring
- Outriggers and stabilizers
- Loose or missing parts
If any scissor lift components are damaged, missing, or not working correctly, do not use the lift until it has been fully repaired. Work zone hazards must be removed or enclosed by barriers to keep the lift at a safe distance.
Batteries are among the most frequent and highest cost drivers for scissor lift owners. Batteries that are not properly maintained will degrade over time and require premature replacement. Therefore, inspecting and maintaining batteries is critical to ensure they are adequately charged and water levels are sufficient. These maintenance procedures will help significantly extend a battery’s service life:
- Clean battery banks to remove excess dirt and debris. Make sure batteries stay dry and clean. Otherwise, surface discharge can occur, which can lead to reduced operating times between charges.
- Run an amp-draw test. Use a high-quality digital battery tester to ensure each battery is performing to its recommended specification.
- Perform a charge test by plugging in the battery charger. Verify all batteries are charging properly and replace any bad batteries. Ensuring each battery is functioning properly will avoid the need to exchange a rented unit or replace the battery on site.
A poorly maintained battery may need to be replaced within one year, whereas a well-maintained battery can last as long as three years. However, new innovations such as battery monitoring on electric scissor lifts can significantly extend battery life beyond a few years, while greatly lowering service costs.
Maintenance Made Simpler
Innovations such as an advanced battery monitoring system and all-electric scissor lifts with self-diagnostics can simplify maintenance and make connected jobsites safer and more productive.
Here’s a deeper look at these technological advancements and how they influence electric scissor lift maintenance efforts.
Advanced Battery Monitoring System
A new time-saving solution for electric scissor lifts is an advanced battery monitoring system from JLG. It remotely analyzes the machine's battery charge/usage and provides diagnostic information on the battery and charger system. The proprietary algorithms from JLG are always learning about batteries and can recommend when it is time to add water, a key task that is hard to predict based on a variety of factors including usage, ambient temperature, prior maintenance history, and other variable conditions.
The system logs charge history and details on the machine controller, and a hardware module provides wireless connectivity and interaction. When used together, system components offer real-time information, including accurate state-of-charge, battery depletion tracking, fluid level monitoring, and charging history.
Access to this level of battery information provides several key benefits for machine owners and operators, including increased uptime, reduced maintenance and replacement costs, and time savings through faster, proactive monitoring.
On the horizon is the next generation of all-electric scissor lifts that can significantly decrease routine maintenance. For example, the new JLG Davinci AE1932 all-electric scissor lift is optimized for performance and longevity with fewer components to greatly reduce or automate inspection protocols.
While machine walkaround inspections, annual inspection, and interval inspections are still required, the simplified design and reduced complexity of components and systems make all-electric scissor lifts easier to manage and maintain. The host of electric components can easily report their health status without requiring a technician to check/adjust valves, pressures, and other items seen on traditional scissor lifts.
The JLG Davinci AE1932 offers the following advancements to reduce maintenance time and costs:
- Zero hydraulics, which eliminates potential leak points, hoses, and diapers to catch leaks.
- Optimized components and fewer serviceable parts with no brushes to replace and self-lubricating pins and bushings.
- Self-diagnostics that allow operators to test all systems on their mobile device, eliminating the more traditional hand-held analyzer.
The JLG Davinci AE1932 operates on a single lithium-ion battery that can last more than 120 months, so owners may never have to replace a battery during the machine’s lifespan. Opportunity charging and energy recovery while the platform is being lowered contribute to a 70% decrease in power consumption allowing for the use of one single lithium-ion battery that charges from discharged to fully charged in 3.5 hours.
At the end of the day, regular inspections, preventive maintenance, and fixing small problems proactively before they become more expensive and labor intensive to address all play a key role in lower overall repair costs and reduced downtime over the life of these machines. Fleet owners and operators should remain vigilant and continue to conduct all required inspections and maintenance to maximize productivity and ensure operator confidence in the field.