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Market Update: What’s New with Compact Crawler Boom Lifts?

Blog Posts - Nov 23

Market Update: What’s New with Compact Crawler Boom Lifts?

Nate Hoover
Director - Product Management, Boom Lifts
JLG Industries

Demand for compact crawler boom lifts is on the rise and is anticipated to remain strong given the versatility of this type of equipment and the alignment with current industry trends. Let’s take a look at why…
Growing Demand for Compact Crawler Booms at a glance

Size and versatility
Trends in today’s compact crawler boom lift market in North America are related to these machines’ size and their versatility. 

The first consideration is how to meet the growing demand for a larger range of models. Traditionally, these machines have been smaller, with designs focused on meeting the requirements of indoor applications — lower-level heights, lighter machine weights and compact footprints with little to no emissions. But as compact crawler boom lifts’ versatility to be used both indoors and outdoors continues to be recognized, this has driven a need for bigger models that can lift higher and reach further. That said, using these machines in tight spaces and with minimal disruption to surrounding activities, such as atrium activities in a lobby or on exterior sidewalk paths for pedestrians, are still key applications for compact crawler boom lifts. 

To meet the needs of this evolving market, many manufacturers, including JLG, are responding by expanding their product lines to include both articulated and straight boom models, larger models and a variety of power options, including engine, electric and bi-energy.

The second consideration is how to meet the needs of work in urban environments, which is also driving a trend for the versatility of power sources in these machines. More and more, these types of boom lifts are being used in close-quarter, highly populated environments, and because of this, there is a great desire for access equipment to be better aligned with the evolving socio-economic demands of people near the work where these machines are used. 

As I mentioned previously, manufacturers like JLG are responding to the requirements for product electrification and an overall shift to clean energy by adding different power options, including engine, electric and bi-energy, to their portfolios to give customers choices to meet their equipment needs. It is important to note here that customers may have resisted these technologies in the past due to concerns about added cost and complexity, but advances in technology have made these solutions today more affordable, and as a result, adoption is accelerating.

Applications and uses
Core applications for compact crawler boom lifts are fairly well-established, such as use in atriums, gymnasiums, arenas, auditoriums, airports, hotels, convention centers, schools and universities, as well as city, state, federal and military facilities, where the work, like window washing, painting, hanging decor, performing maintenance tasks and installing utilities, requires crews to bring tools and materials to hard-to-access spaces. 

Work on the second floor of buildings is also a key use for these machines thanks to their lightweight footprint, as well as these machines’ ability to distribute the weight across a large area through the outriggers. 

So, when thinking about the uses for compact crawler boom lifts, indoor applications, like fit-out construction projects and maintenance work, continue to be key uses for these machines because they offer quiet and low-to-zero zero emissions operation.

While not a new application, the use of these machines in warehouses and data centers is growing, particularly in the post-construction phases like ongoing facility maintenance and facility updates, upgrades and remodeling.

Projects in congested urban and city centers have also escalated demand for these machines. This is because crews are increasingly in need of the agility of compact crawler boom lifts to complete work in these tight, hard-to-access areas.

Last, but not least, with the introduction of new models, like straight boom compact crawler boom lifts, vegetation management, such as tree trimming and arborist tasks, is becoming a more popular use for these machines.
X660SJ Being Used to Trim a Tree
Product portfolio
At JLG, we are continuously seeking opportunities to grow our compact crawler boom lift portfolio with capabilities to help our customers unlock their potential with JLG® equipment. For example, within the past year, we completed our investment in Hinowa (Hinowa Acquisition Complete, Now Part of JLG), which is a prime example of how, once we identified a market need, we responded with a solution that not only met the need but strengthened our offering. 

Other examples of this include standardizing productivity features on JLG compact crawler boom lifts that others don’t, like forklift pockets for loading and unloading for transportation. This feature is very important to both our rental customers and end-users who need to move the machine around large facilities, plants and campuses. In addition, air/water/power lines to the platform, non-marking tracks for work on sensitive flooring, integrated front and rear LED lights for visibility and SkyGuard® SkyLine™ enhanced control panel protection are all features often requested by our customers, so JLG compact crawler boom lift models are now equipped with many of these features as standard.

The workplace environment is a key consideration when selecting the right machine, and that’s why we pioneered the lithium-ion powered machine more than 10 years ago because it provides improved performance over fuel, as well as cleaner quieter, operation. And, to maximize the working envelope and provide a more comfortable operating experience for users when working at height, JLG compact crawler boom lift models have a best-in-class 500-lb platform capacity.

We also made some notable introductions in our compact crawler boom lift portfolio, including a bi-energy option for the X770AJ and X1000AJ models (JLG Offers New Bi-Energy Option on Popular Compact Crawler Boom Lift Models) and our first-ever straight-jib model, the X660SJ (JLG X660SJ Compact Crawler Boom Lift — Get Straight to Work). 

Model spotlight
Let’s talk about the new X660SJ more specifically. It’s architecture enables operators to reach full height more efficiently, while it's crawler-mounted design and 40-percent gradeability mean it can climb slopes with ease compared to standard lifts. And, its 2-ft 11-in profile and less than 7,400-lbs footprint allow operators to go more places around the job site, such as through gates and standard doorways to work in yards and public buildings.

In addition to these features, the new X660SJ offers additional performance-enhancing features that will set new benchmarks for these machines in the industry:

  • Envelope tracking operation for work alongside buildings, walls and other infrastructure. With a single control function, operators can boom up/down, while also telescoping out/in, so that the platform travels a path perpendicular to the ground
  • Multiple position, one-touch self-leveling outriggers to provide flexibility to work in tight areas and to maximize the working envelope
  • "Go Home" and "Back to Work" functions for ease of returning to stowed or recorded work position. The machine’s software optimizes the path to the stowed or saved work position based on machine stability.

X660SJ on Narrow Street
Looking forward
These are just a few of the instances that you may be aware of. Another example to point out is that we continue to make smaller, more local updates to each of the models in our compact crawler boom lift lineup to utilize new and developing designs and technologies, while also driving commonality in machine components from product to product.

At JLG, we frequently receive feedback from the field about the operating experiences users have with this type of equipment. We listen and continue to carefully consider design cues that not only meet the needs of our customers but also address their wants.

When it comes to future introductions to our compact crawler boom lift product portfolio, as we do with all of our product lines, we will continue to evaluate our product offering with the market need, and we remain committed to considering options that meet those needs, including introductions that fill gaps in the line or extend the range. 

Ready to learn more information about JLG compact crawler boom lifts? Get more details here.

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