Aerial work platforms, also known as elevated work platforms, EWPs and AWPs, are mechanical tools that are enable workers and others to gain access to areas previously out of reach by elevating them on a platform (this being the elevated work platform in question). This platform is usually surrounded by railings or a cage for safety purposes, and is then elevated by either a crane like neck or a criss-crossing pattern that can be extended and compressed like multiple interconnected scissors. To use this the user will then stand on the platform and use a control deck that will be situated there in order to both the platform up and down and in some cases left and right or forwards and backwards. This will then be powered either pneumatically or hydraulically and will allow a fairly precise control.
The purpose of this system is to allow workers to reach areas that don’t have public walkways or other easy access. This might be a top-story window of a building that someone needs to access in order to wash, a high shelf in a warehouse that you need to put something on top of, or the top of a construction that is still being built. At the same time as lifting people however, aerial work platforms can also be used to elevate large heavy objects that need to be transported – in the case of the construction site for example the work platform might be used to lift bricks or other materials that will be used in the final construction. Other EWPs can be fitted with specialist equipment too, for example some are endowed with clamps used to hold sheets of glass so that they can be fitted into top story windows. Some less mobile EWPs can be fitted with extensions to give them more dexterity. Furthermore, EWPs are not only used by workers, but can also have other uses. For example they can be used by the emergency services to help people out of top windows in buildings that are burning or collapsing, and are even used in shows – famously by Michael Jackson who used to use a cherry picker to extend himself over the audience (a stunt that has since been copied by many other artists).
There are multiple types of EWPs however and these vary in their function, design and power source. The most well known of course is the cherry picker, which has since grown to become an umbrella term used by many (incorrectly) to describe all EWPs. Cherry pickers, also known as boom lifts or hydraulic platforms, are distinguishable by their long neck which allows the platform to be controlled more precisely and gives it greater movement than the scissor lift that allows only for an up and downward motion. Smaller scissor lifts can be used in warehouses and used to change light bulbs and reach top shelves. Any business utilising a warehouse should have a cherry picker in order to be able to access their entire space.
Author: Kim Cascio
Article Source: http://www.articlealley.com/article_1322363_15.html