Metal Architecture Home

Green Machine: World's tallest boom lift saves time and money on project

It took the world’s tallest electric-powered boom lift to meet the requirements of this job. Not only did it have to operate in an urban location where zero emissions were important,it had to have a 60-foot (18-m) working height and a weight of less than 15,500 pounds(6,975 kg) so it could be operated from the second level retail plaza in the Roosevelt Connection, an 8-acre (3.2-hectare) retail and residential project near downtown Chicago.

If the boom lift hadn’t been available, the crew from Gary, Ind.-based Crown Corr Inc. would have to utilize swing stages to reach the work areas. With the additional amount of time it would take to set up, tear down and move swing stages, it would have taken much longer to complete the job. And when you’re working under tight deadlines, time is money.

Crown Corr desings and installs custom metal panels, roofing, sunscreens and other systems in airports, stadiums, convention centers and other large projects throughout theUnited States. With the contract to install the architectural metal skin panels on the buildings, Crown Corr was faced with a number of unique problems that they normally don’t encounter with projects that are located in areas with a lot of open space.

On this inner city job, Crown Corr’s need for a combination of higher overhead reach, lower machine weight and reduced emissions,led it to call Illini HiReach of Lemont, Ill., a specialist in renting aerial work platforms. Crown Corr had worked with Illini many times in the past, and, with their large inventory of equipment, Mel Lolkema, Crown Corr’s project superintendent felt that they would be able to supply the right machine for the job.

A call to Illini’s Jerry Lodovisi proved Lolkema right. Illini did have a machine to meet Crown Corr’s needs, and it was the only aerial work platform that could. It was a JLG E600 electric boom lift, the tallest electric boom in the world. It operates emission-free,has a 60-foot platform height, and weighs only 15,200 pounds (6,840 kg). It also featuredall-wheel drive, automatic traction control, oscillating axle and non-marking tires. It was the ideal machine for the job. “We used these machines when we worked on the Indianapolis airport,” Lolkema said. “They worked hard and lasted all day on a single charge. I told Illini to send me two of them.”

After the machines were delivered and Crown Corr’s trained operators were familiarized with the operating controls and safety features, they were put to work. Operators quickly realized the time and labor saving benefits of the JLG E600 boom lift over using swing stages. With the boom lift, they were able to drive the machine around the work site, raise the platform to the overhead work area to perform their job, then lower the boom and drive the machine to the next work area. No time-consuming erecting, dismantling and re-positioning swing stages.

Another feature that proved valuable on the job site was the E600’s low noise emissions. According to Lolkema: “The JLG is so quiet that our crews can actually hear each other when they talk. On most job sites, the gas and diesel-powered machines are noisy.”

The majority of the work in the early stages of the project involved placing and welding angles for panel support. Once the support work is complete, they will begin to attach the architectural metal skin panels tothe buildings. Because of the increased productivity and versatility of the JLG E600, work is progressing so well that Crown Corr has ordered two additional machines.

Larry Workman, owner of Illini HiReach, said that they have a large number of emission free JLG electric scissor lifts in their fleet that are in constant use on interior projects like installing lighting, sprinklers and HVAC systems. He noted, however, that he has seen an increase in requests for electric-powered boom lifts that could be operated both in enclosed indoor spaces and in outdoor areas where newly enacted restrictions on emissions and noise pollution are becoming more prevalent.

With the JLG E600’s zero emission electric power, quiet operation, 60-foot platform height and reduced weight, Workman feels this might just be the ideal machine for an even wider variety of indoor and outdoor applications in the future. “With ‘green machines’ in your fleet,” Workman noted, “you can satisfy more of a customer’s needs and become a more valuable rental resource. And in the rental business, the more service you provide to your customers, the more often your phone will ring.”

William Hindman has been president of Industrial Marketing Services of Des Plaines, Ill., for more than 30 years. For more information about JLG Industries Inc., McConnellsburg, Pa., go to