Technology is advancing at a rapid rate, almost every day new innovations are discovered that change the standard flow of life. The breakthroughs of the past decade provide the opportunity to discover more advanced technology that changes human standards and most future endeavors. In the construction industry, more innovative design and technology are being developed to improve health and safety on the job site, enhance environmental performance and increase overall efficiency.
Bucket trucks hold an important role in the electrical and the telecommunication industries. The versatility of this utility vehicle to perform tasks other than how it was originally designed has paved a way to discover and develop new advanced technological improvements to make work more efficient. Fuel savings features, increased safety features, ease of use and lower operating costs are just a few of the advancements made with bucket trucks.
Goal of Increased Safety
Leading bucket truck manufacturers such as Altec, Duralift, Versalift, Terex and others are heavily involved in producing more advanced aerial lift vehicles. They are known to be successful in marketing premium utility lifting equipment. Advancements have been made by these large companies with bucket trucks as well. In addition to this, they also conduct training for operators of these vehicles to educate them in accident prevention. Their primary goal is to manufacture a vehicle that has optimal safety features that will nearly eliminate possible accidents in this line of work.
Effect of Deregulation of the Electric Utility Industry on Design
One thing affecting the design of these vehicles is the outflow from the deregulation of the electric utility industry. A result of this change is that utility companies have had to change the way in which their workers are used which has in turn changed the way in which equipment for the job is used. With the increased competition that traditionally appears when an industry is deregulated comes into play, most utility companies have been forced to work ‘smaller and smarter’ to maintain their competitive edge over their competition. This has undoubtedly affected the design of the vehicles that they use, forcing manufacturers to make their designs smaller yet harder-working and low-maintenance.
Endurance and dependability are now of utmost importance in the design of these vehicles. Designers have to balance the very dangerous work that is performed by electric company employees with their need to complete a job as quickly as possible especially when involved with the potential of lengthy power interruptions due to storms. It poses quite a potential problem to designers to meet these ever-changing goals of the clients for whom they work.
Ergonomics in Design
One of the positive enhancements is employing ergonomics in the design process. Ergonomics helps to ensure that the utility vehicle is user-friendly and safe to drive which results in an end-product design that yields increased productivity.
Fuel Consumption Concerns
A great concern when it comes to utility trucks is fuel consumption. The cost of fuel today has dramatically increased which, along with the prior-mentioned outflow of deregulation, has created an urgent need to produce these utility trucks to have increased fuel-saving features. Companies that can decrease their operating costs and save thousands of dollars a year will certainly be given a boost in the current competitive market.
Other important technological advances made were to develop a truck that has a low-profile chassis that allows the driver and the operators to enter and exit with ease. There has also been added a hydraulic-associated drop-down ladder rack that is less dangerous when compared to conventional ladder racks.
Bucket trucks are now equipped with electronic stability control and computerized systems that can prevent and/or mitigate accidents. The anti-lock brakes have gotten more advanced and the hydraulic outriggers are computer-controlled with a level-sensing mechanism to assist in this effort.
Smaller, Maintenance-Free, Increased Capacity – Really?
To top it all off, leading manufacturers of aerial devices have developed smaller utility vehicles that have an increased working height up to approximately 16m, a side reach of 15m, and platform capacity of 400 kg and this vehicle comes with less maintenance required. The bucket truck is getting smaller yet reaching and loading capacity has definitely increased.
For electric utility fleets, manufacturers continuously develop “safer and smarter” truck designs. They create equipment that is more durable and has low maintenance and operational cost. This has been the ongoing ambition of those who are engaged in the construction and bucket truck industries. As new problems are encountered in the field, new discoveries and technological advances are discovered and developed for the industry. This is the future of bucket truck design!