Safety and sustainability drive product development at Snorkel

In 2019, Snorkel started manufacturing its lithium-ion battery powered Speed Level models, the SL26RTE and SL30RTE, in the UK.

Matthew Elvin, CEO, Snorkel.
Matthew Elvin, CEO, Snorkel.

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Last year, at bauma 2019, Snorkel introduced the S3019E, the first electric slab scissor lift to have a scissor stack that stows entirely inside the chassis for a lower step-in height to reduce risk of accidents and reduce operator fatigue, and a low overall stowed height for passing through standard doorways without folding guardrails.  

In late 2019, the company commenced production of its lithium-ion battery powered Speed Level models in the UK, branded as the Snorkel SL26RTE and SL30RTE. The Snorkel Speed Level is a well-established model that had been available for many years as a diesel-powered unit. The lithium-ion battery pack solution, developed in response to increasing emissions and noise regulations, delivers improved jobsite performance over the diesel version, while being completely emission-free.

The SL26RTE delivers a maximum platform height of 8.0m, lift capacity of 680kg, and 1.72m x 4.6m platform with the 0.91m roll-out deck extension deployed. The larger SL30RTE can reach a maximum platform height of 9.0m, lifting a maximum platform capacity of 590kg. Drivable at full height, the SL30RTE has a fixed platform of 1.72m x 4.23m. Both models share the same 4-wheel drive performance, 50% gradeability and self-levelling capabilities without stabilizers up to 9° front to rear, and 13° side to side, as the original diesel-powered Snorkel SL26SL and SL30SL, which as of 1 January 2020, have been rebranded as the SL26RT and SL30RT.

The Snorkel SL30RTE.

Snorkel will showcase additional products utilizing this technology at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2020, in addition to new product launches including some industry-first designs and new options for existing products such as a tracked drive option for Snorkel’s mid-size telescopic boom lift family.

Matthew Elvin, CEO, Snorkel, elaborates on the manufacturer’s commitment to sustainability and how it influences product design and engineering.

“Our circular manufacturing philosophy means that our products are designed to deliver time and time again. This is achieved by creating robust designs that are built from heavy-duty steel so that they can be easily remanufactured maximizing the total life of the product and ultimately reducing waste. Additionally, Snorkel is committed to keeping our environmental impact low, and we follow lean manufacturing practices in pursuit of eliminating waste in every aspect of our business,” says Elvin.

One of the biggest challenges facing the industry, according to Elvin, is accessibility to quality AWP training for operators. While technology is certainly improving access to training with the adoption of online programs and simulators, it cannot and should not replace the experience of operating an actual machine under real training conditions.

“Training is critical for anyone involved in the selection, operation, and management of those operating AWPs, and anything that helps to improve the delivery and accessibility of such training is certainly welcome. The potential uses of virtual reality and simulation in AWP training is a very exciting opportunity for the industry. However, I do believe that while this type of technology has a role to play, we must be careful not to replace real-life hands-on training with simulation, but rather use simulation as an enhancement,” says Elvin.

Snorkel addresses the need for localised training through its global network of more than 200 dealers and directly owned locations. Elvin points out that Snorkel follows a ‘think global, act local’ strategy to ensure customers all around the world have easy, local access to Snorkel representatives for technical support, spare parts, training and sales.

“With our global dealer network backed by a global direct sales and service team, and six manufacturing facilities, Snorkel stays closer to customers. We have a localised presence in all key markets to provide access to product training and familiarization in the local language. We produce a range of product familiarization documents, materials and videos in multiple languages which are available online in our user-friendly, mobile optimized website and technical support portal, The Platform. These materials provide supplementary information for a fully-trained operator, but do not replace operator training,” says Elvin.

Snorkel also celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2019, having achieved several milestones in the AWP industry since it was founded in 1959 as a supplier of articulating boom lifts to the firefighting industry. The Snorkel No. 1 allowed firefighters to shoot large amounts of water onto flames from as high as 85 ft. (25.9m) The TB-42, released in 1977, marked Snorkel’s first telescopic boom lift and entry into the construction and industrial markets.

“Snorkel has been at the forefront of AWP development, particularly, how we introduced big booms in the 1990s with the Snorkel TB126, the largest model in our range of telescopic boom lifts,” says Elvin.

The Middle East remains a crucial market for Snorkel, and the company plans to expand its dealer network in the region.

“We expect to see similar trading conditions in in the Middle East in 2020 as we did in 2019.  The AWP rental market is fairly flat, but we are seeing some rental companies continuing to invest in new equipment,” says Elvin.

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