Coates Hire’s new hybrid-energy knuckle booms are a glimpse of the future.

 
Coates Hire’s million-item equipment fleet gained a new addition this month with the launch of a trial of hybrid-energy knuckle booms.

The knuckle booms incorporate diesel-electric hybrid systems allowing operators to have the same performance as traditional diesel booms, but with less noise, lower fuel-usage and fewer emissions.

“Hybrid systems were introduced to access equipment a few years ago,” says Dan Goodfellow, Coates Hire Category Manager – Access and Materials Handling. “We’ve been waiting for the equipment to reach the point where there is no sacrifice in performance.”

After the Intermat trade show in Paris last year, Coates Hire ordered a tranche of 20m hybrid booms. They were trialled in early 2019 and placed into branches in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland in the first week of March. Already Coates Hire has ordered more hybrid booms to deal with the customer demand.

“Hybrid-energy systems are not a huge number when compared to our total fleet,” says Goodfellow. “But the demand for hybrid is there and it’s growing. The Australian construction industry doesn’t have the same emissions and noise regulations as Europe, but there is still strong demand from our customers.”

He says the new booms use diesel-electric hybrid systems in which the operations run on battery and the diesel motor recharges the battery.

The hybrids outperform the diesel booms in the time it takes to reach full-height, and they preserve battery power by using gravity to lower the basket.

Goodfellow says the hybrids are 10 per cent more expensive than the traditional versions, so the hire cost is also 10 per cent more than normal. However, operators are happy with the lower fuel costs, the reduced noise and the steep reduction in fumes.

“A lot of sites have noise limits on them, and there are projects owned by local councils and government agencies that stipulate emissions and noise limitations on equipment,” says Goodfellow. “Australia is slightly behind on this trend but the European and American hybrids are built for those regulations.”

He says the hybrids are proving popular because they have advanced safety features, self-diagnostic systems, very low noise and a big reduction in fuel bills.

“Coates Hire equipment has to meet performance benchmarks,” says Goodfellow. “We can offer knuckle booms that meet our performance benchmarks while also being good for the environment. This is good news for the industry and we’re now looking for hybrid equipment across all the categories.”
 

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