Through innovative aerial work platforms, as well as advancements in X-Boom, telescopic booms, and scissor technology – that’s how. Further, the Ohio-based operation supports its French-based parent company by solidifying its position in North America, reports Dan Harvey.
The Haulotte Group specializes in people lifting equipment that meets clients’ specific needs. The France-based enterprise has extended its reach by establishing Haulotte North America, headquartered in Archbold, Ohio. “We are responsible for the US and Canadian operations,” says Bernie Duque, vice president of AWP sales for this aerial equipment platform-focused company.
“Ohio is the home of Haulotte North America’s corporate headquarters and production,” describes Duque. “We produce scaffold and staging products, lightweight aerials—which means two different models of towables—the X-Booms, and the newly introduced telescopic boom. We also have a customer care and support center located in Frederick, Md., which is our parts distribution center and technical call center. We also manufacture electric scissors in Ohio.”
There’s a good reason why Haulotte solidified its presence in North America. “It enables the company to manufacture products closer to its North American customer base,” relates Duque.
Seven Equipment Lines
Haulotte’s family of product lines includes:
- Articulated booms diesel or electric for people elevation – Measuring from 32 to 130 feet, articulating booms are ideal for maintenance, installation or pruning work. Both diesel and electric powered, they get round tricky obstacles – thanks to their geometry and long reach. Articulating booms of less than 60 feet can negotiate restricted spaces, thanks chassis size adapted to allow rotation within the vehicle clearance.
- Lightweight self-propelled booms – These versatile lifts have working heights (from 51 to 61.3 feet) and low ground pressure for sensitive surfaces such as landscaping, designed concrete and interior uses. Hydraulic outriggers with setup in less than 30 seconds remove the need of heavy counterweights. Machine weights allow towing without a CDL, increasing use among homeowners, small contractors and institutions. Dual power source (DC/diesel) makes these machines workable both indoors and outdoors.
- Vertical masts for people elevation – The ideal platform for difficult-to-reach places, masts climb directly to a platform height of 13 to 26 feet (low range of rotation). Intended mainly for maintenance work and warehouse inventories, they can be used both outdoors and indoors.
- Scissors for people elevation – Large platforms ranging from 15 to 53 feet working height, Haulotte scissor lifts find their uses in many different fields: construction, public works, cleaning, and events, among others. Compact for easy access to narrow spaces, equipped with rough terrain diesel for outside applications or silent electric for interior use, the platform capacity ranges from 500 to 1,540lbs.
- Telescopic booms for working at height – Long reach and speed make this equipment perfect for shipyards, construction, demolition and maintenance sites, or for putting the finishing touches to works of art. Certain models have a jib arm which is practical for coming in close or for overhanging work.
- Articulated and telescopic trailer-mounted booms. The multiple possibilities for use at heights of between 35 and 61 feet maximum working height, both indoors and outdoors, makes trailers the most popular type of platform with tradesmen and local communities. Compactness and lighter weight allow the equipment to be towed to any site, where their outriggers correct uneven ground levels.
- Telehandlers for material lifting elevation and earthmoving – Benefits include maximum stability (obtained by locking the rear axle, thus solidifying the chassis), unmatchable handiness giving operational flexibility, and progressiveness and precision for earthmoving activities. The Haulotte telescopic handler is also endowed with the power of a diesel engine and the versatility of its many accessories. Its general ergonomics improve visibility and enable easy maintenance.
A Global Leader
The parent Haulotte Group, now the world’s third-largest manufacturer of aerial work platforms, was established in 1924 by Arthur Haulotte. It specializes in producing articulated work platforms, scissor lifts, telescopic work platforms, trailer mounted work platforms and vertical mast-work platforms. It has plants in France, Spain, Romania, China and the United States.
Innovation, customer proximity, and local presence have allowed Haulotte Group to become a global manufacturer of people and material lifting equipment.
The organization’s 2012 revenue numbers underscore its robust nature: a 16-percent increase over the previous year. Sales grew in all geographic areas, particularly in South America (a 77-percent jump). The United States was 27 percent higher and Asia Pacific was up 21 percent. European sales remained weak, but still grew by five percent in the year.
Ahead of the pack in its industry are JLG and Genie, but Haulotte has a secure position in the global top three.
Entrance into North America occurred in July 2008, when Haulotte Group acquired BilJax Inc., the largest US scaffold manufacturer. With the acquisition of BilJax, the Haulotte product line expanded to include scaffolds, trailer mounted boom lifts and event staging and seating.
“BilJax was founded in 1947 in Ohio as a scaffold manufacturer,” relates Bob Yoder, Haulotte North America’s business development and customer service manager. “In the mid-1980s it got into the lightweight aerial lift business. After the 2008 purchase, Haulotte manufactured scaffolding, staging, and lightweight aerial work platforms. Also, from our Frederick site, we can ship products manufactured in France.”
Yoder reports that in Archbold, Haulotte North America – which has 255 employees – possesses 295,000 square feet of manufacturing space, which is combined with 25,000 feet of office space.
Last year, this North American manufacturing arm – an operation that undergoes continuous improvement and has witnessed 25-percent growth in recent years – streamlined production flow to follow a product’s flow and accommodate increasing lines of aerial work products (the plant continues manufacturing the BilJax brand of scaffold and event staging). Logistical improvements were made in raw material storage, machining, welding, fabrication, assembly, paint, test, warehouse and other areas. Also, new overhead cranes were installed, lighting system were updated, and racking systems and machinery were reorganized – all occurring with minimal disruption to production. In addition, the company’s employees were cross trained to better adapt to the changes.
Expansion of domestic manufacturing in Ohio is accompanied by the rolling out of the first electric 2632E scissor off the new line. These machines join the 1930E scissors, trailer mounted lifts and lightweight self-propelled (X-Boom) machines. In 2013, the company targeted the launch of HT67RTJ, a model that features 73 feet/5 inches of working height and a 60-foot maximum outreach. Total lift capacity is 500 pounds and the unit has 40 percent gradeability.
“When it comes to towables, we are the industry leader when it relates to features, benefits, capability, range of motion,” says Yoder. “Currently, Haulotte manufactures four different models, produced in North America.” which are considered the number one performer in the market.
In North America, Haulotte boasts the tallest manufactured towable (the 5533A). “It provides customers a platform height of 55 feet and maximum side reach of 33 feet,” says Yoder. “We also offer air, water and power to the platform as standard features.”
Yoder also points to the X-Boom product category. “It is a niche market, which falls between a towable unit and a self-propelled unit,” he describes, “and it is lightweight.”
Thus, users can get it from the rental store to the job site with a half-ton or three quarter-ton truck and a trailer. “They don’t need a tractor trailer to transport,” says Yoder. “It’s a four-wheel drive unit with outriggers – for example, it enables users perform residential applications without driving a pick-up truck onto the yard. Also, in a residential application, you would not be able to use a self-propelled boom, because depending on the height, they can weigh 15,000 to 30,000 pounds, which could destroy a lawn or the turf on a golf course. We have two different models in that category.”
About products, Buddy Dieter, Haulotte North America’s service manager, adds: “We have a full range of battery powered scissors, from 19-foot platform height to a 39-foot platform height. Our 3947 and 3347 models are the narrowest machines in that platform range. We offer a full line of rough terrain scissors from 26 to 53 feet that also have hydraulic outriggers. We also produce electrical, battery powered articulating booms, from 32 to 43 feet. The diesel powered articulating booms range from 46 to 130 feet, while the telescopic booms range from 44 to 135 feet.”
The company also builds a complete range of reach forklifts and telehandlers, from 7,000lbs/32 feet to 9,000lbs/55 feet.”
Duque chimes in: “Another feature of our portfolio is our industrial product line that includes our Star series – vertical and self propelled. We have the only 39-foot electric scissor, at 47 inches wide. It is the only one that you can drive at full height and still reach the desired work areas. Further, all of the products are adaptable to any industrial or warehouse type of application.”
That’s an impressive menu of products. But it’s not going to stop here.
“As we continue to grow, our goal is to continue manufacturing more models in our Archbold production plant,” says Yoder.
Indeed, Haulotte North America wants to penetrate its markets with the right products while providing the right support, comments Duque. “The journey is on,” he says. “We want to align the Canadian and US markets. Ultimately, we’d like to produce 50 percent of North American consumption right here in the United States. Further, we want to advance technical training, to make sure that our people are well versed and comfortable with the machines.”
And there are behind-the-scenes issues currently being addressed: infrastructure issues, integrating IT systems, better harnessing information flow, and transactional efficiency, among others.
“We want to be the most reliable and predictable provider,” says Duque.