How Renting the All-Electric Scissor Lift Saves Time and Money
One of the most important considerations when selecting battery-powered MEWPs for working in cold conditions is productivity.
— Austin Caskey, Sunbelt Rentals product line manager
It’s no secret that machine operation and productivity are top of mind for those considering making the switch to electric equipment, especially in refrigerated environments, cold storage facilities, and the outdoors in winter weather conditions. Traditionally, working in below-freezing temperatures with equipment powered by FLA (flooded lead acid) batteries meant sluggish machinery and reduced battery runtime. With the introduction of lithium-ion battery technology, those concerns are a thing of the past.
In October 2021, JLG partnered with Sunbelt Rentals to find out just how efficient and effective lithium-ion technology is in cold temperatures while putting the all-electric DaVinci scissor lift to the test. The results were astounding.
The Need for Better Electric Options
Despite the concerns associated with electric machinery, particularly MEWPs, or mobile elevated work platforms, electric options are often needed on construction or maintenance projects in cold conditions due to noise and air pollution requirements that prevent the use of internal-combustion machines. Battery-powered scissor lifts have been around a long time but were typically limited to only having enough power to electrify components such as the drive system. The rest of the machines’ systems, such as the lift and steer functions, run on hydraulics.
Improving the Electric Landscape
A common battery technology used to power MEWPs is FLA. These batteries are designed for peak performance and life, are relatively easy to maintain, and can work in a vast temperature range while being durable and forgiving of misuse. But flooded lead acid batteries pose their fair share of issues beyond machine sluggishness and runtime degradation.
For example, they should ideally retain a minimum of 80% charge otherwise the batteries will self-deteriorate, ultimately affecting capacity. Additionally, if an FLA battery is deeply discharged and the environment’s temperature is low enough, the battery will freeze into an ice cube, impacting the battery’s service life.
None of these issues exist with the DaVinci all-electric scissor lift because it’s powered with lithium-ion batteries instead of flooded lead acid batteries. These advanced batteries experience zero performance degradation even as the battery is depleted, allowing teams to work more productively. To further enhance efficiency, the DaVinci lift takes only 3.5 hours to fully charge and can be topped off periodically throughout the day without damaging the battery. There is also no concern of acid leaks or outgassing, making machines like the DaVinci lift ideal for locations where cleanliness is a priority, such as refrigerated food processing warehouses.
A Lift Above the Rest
Lithium-ion technology isn’t unique to the JLG DaVinci lift, but there are a few features that make the 19’ all-electric MEWP stand out. Models from other OEM brands require multiple batteries to run the equipment, while the DaVinci lift uses just one. This is possible because the engineers worked to optimize energy consumption across the board, resulting in single-battery operation without compromising performance.
Another factor that makes the DaVinci scissor lift stand out is its battery management, especially in below-zero applications. In extremely cold temperatures, FLA batteries experience bigger voltage drops resulting in the machine’s control system thinking the batteries are nearly out of charge. The equipment will then limit performance to preserve basic functionality. This doesn’t happen with fully electrified machines because the power needed to run them is cut by more than 40%. Plus, lithium-ion batteries can work consistently at 32°F (0°C) or below without needing to maintain a high state of charge.
The DaVinci lift also features an advanced battery management system (ABMS) that monitors charge and usage while also providing detailed diagnostic fi information about the battery via the DaVinciGo app. All of this means nothing if the scissor lift doesn’t perform in real-life applications.
Putting the All-Electric Davinci Scissor Lift to the Test
Relying on an electric scissor lift powered by flooded lead acid batteries can compromise both your budget and your team’s productivity. Often, these machines don’t remain operational for an entire shift, which means additional lifts are needed as backup. But what about the all-electric DaVinci lift? Sunbelt Rentals and JLG partnered together to put it to the test.
The team chose one of the harshest test environments they could find—and industrial freezer located in Concord, North Carolina. The unit was 40 feet wide by almost 150 feet long with ceilings near 28 feet high and was split into two rooms. The first, smaller room was a receiving area where pallets of material were loaded and unloaded from tractor-trailers. This room’s temperature was 20°F, according to a gauge near the entrance of the freezer.
The second room was a long-term storage room with floor-to-ceiling racks to store goods. The temperature there was 0°F. Austin Caskey, product line manager at Sunbelt Rentals, noted the customer would often use scissor lifts to complete cleaning and maintenance tasks in both freezer areas.
To start the test, the team placed the DaVinci lift in the warmest part of the freezer with a 97% state of charge and stored it overnight to simulate equipment being stored outside in the norther U.S. and Canada. When checked in the morning, the battery’s charge was degraded by less than 10% with an internal temperature of 12°F. The team plugged the battery into the charger for 45 minutes, increasing the internal temperature to 27°F.
Once the machine was warmed up and fully charged, Sunbelt Rentals and JLG started a series of duty-cycle tests, which include drive, elevate, descend, and return cycles, while data was collected by the DaVinciGo app. Caskey says typically Sunbelt Rentals would rent two scissor lifts in freezer applications because common performance loss issues with hydraulic machines in cold temperatures. In approximately two hours, the all-electric lift showed no signs of performance degradation. “We went up and down a lot with the machine during the test—doing way more than a normal work cycle and there was no degradation in performance,” says Caskey.
During a 45-minute break, the team parked the DaVinci lift in the coldest part of the freezer, while battery data continued to be collected. When testing resumed, the team was able to complete additional cycles, even after being stored at almost 0°F. As the machine started to slow on its own, it completed one final cycle—a different outcome than what the team would get with a traditional electric drive model. The lift was able to complete 26 total cycles.
The capabilities of the all-electric DaVinci scissor lift can result in huge savings for rental customers, both in time and money, because now only one machine is needed. “The 19-foot scissor lift is one of the most commoditized rental machines in the world. But, this one is unlike anything else available in the market, and our customers are taking note. It charges faster and stays charged longer, and the difference is notable,” says Caskey. The all-electric scissor lift is also a great option for companies looking to meet their sustainability goals. Additionally, since there are no hydraulics, there is no risk of leaks or spills, meaning customers with clean, sensitive environments can rent without being concerned about impacting the jobsite.
Sunbelt Rentals now carries the world’s largest fleet of JLG DaVinci scissor lifts with plans to add additional units as demand increases. If you’re ready to make the switch to see how an all-electric scissor lift can change your jobsite, contact us to learn more.