Boom lifts, also commonly known as cherry pickers, are construction vehicles that offer a stable work platform with adjustable elevation and reach for extended vertical and horizontal maneuverability, allowing work to be performed in positions where suitably stable footing might be otherwise impossible to obtain. The platform is attached to an arm that can maneuver it either by extending in a telescoping manner or by articulating at joints like an elbow-and-shoulder arrangement.Boom lifts are very versatile, high utility machines and excel at tasks that require extensive vertical reach. They are employed in a wide variety of construction and maintenance applications, such as painting in elevated, hard to reach locations, trimming tree branches, constructing billboards and signs, changing bulbs inside lamp posts, accessing utility and telecommunications boxes, repairing phone and power lines, establishing scaffolding to provide further accessibility for more extensive work and even (as their nickname suggests) picking cherries! They are also frequently used by emergency service workers such as fire fighters. Due to their extreme versatility, boom lifts are one of the most widely utilized construction and maintenance vehicles.
There are many different kinds of boom lifts that offer a variety of features and configurations.
Boom lifts can offer various platform sizes depending on the amount of work area required. Larger platforms offer more room for gear or movement while working or even multiple workers but might be unable to manoeuver appropriately into tighter work situations. The platform can also be replaced or augmented with a bucket, material carriers and various platform attachments.
The arm design can also vary in a number of ways based on application, in height, reach, joint count, maximum load capacity and mechanism. Jointed articulating boom lifts provide more versatile 3-dimensional maneuverability whereas telescoping boom lifts are focused on providing extended vertical reach and can achieve a given maximum elevation in a significantly smaller footprint than an articulating lift. Articulating lifts can vary in number of articulations, which may allow for increased maneuverability.
Boom lift bases can also come equipped with different locomotion options to fit varying work environments including tires (the best all-round option for common work situations), treads (where traction is a concern) and even crawler legs (for striding through dense, immobilizing, marsh and muck). They can also be mounted directly onto other vehicles such as trucks and vans to serve additional utility functions. They can be gasoline, diesel or electric powered. Gasoline and diesel offer higher, more portable power density but electric boom lifts are more suitable for indoor environments where engine fumes can be a serious concern.Smaller boom lifts are generally more affordable to rent and can be cheaper to operate in terms of fuel. However they may lack the power, reach and maneuverability required for more demanding jobs. The platform size and weight limit as well as the horizontal reach of a boom lift is limited not only by the size of the arm but by its maximum lift capacity (as bigger platforms are heavier) and the machine's weight distribution including its base, as too heavy of a weight at too great of an extension may create the leverage required to overbalance the vehicle.