Standards are a must to create a level playing field
We offer our equipment with safety systems complying with the requirements of EN280, both with and without the computer-aided safety system depending on the customer's preference, says Bikram Mehta, Director, Liftmak Udyog. Excerpts from the interview.

Given the present scenario, how do you see the growth potential for truck-mounted access equipment?
India is a rapidly growing market with truck-mounted access platforms required across varied applications in sectors of infrastructure, power, industries, fire services, etc. In the short term, however, we are witnessing a temporary slowdown in government procurement.

Tell us about the product range and services offered by Liftmak.
Liftmak manufactures access platforms in a wide range of designs up to 42 m working height. We offer articulated, telescopic-cum-articulated, straight telescopic and low stowed height compact Z-boom designs to meet almost any application.

How do you find the industry practices here in India?
The industry serves the customer and the mindset of most users is still solely price-driven. There is no legislation in place to enforce any standards. However, a certain segment of buyers are trying to focus on quality and safety. The efforts in this direction are ad hoc, depending upon the understanding of each individual buyer. We hope that Indian Standards are formulated soon, based on the EN280 or its equivalent.

What are the major challenges Liftmak faces as an OEM and service provider?
One of the difficulties is the limited chassis options available compliant to BS-IV norms. The government has stipulated it for the metros but where are the chassis?

Brief us about the current safety norms and regulations in the lifting and loading machinery, especially regarding Liftmak's product range.
In access platforms, we offer our equipment with safety systems complying with the requirements of EN280, both with and without the computer-aided safety system depending on customer's preference. Our suggestion to the government is to frame an Indian Standard at the earliest, incorporating safety systems as well as proper training to the access platform operators.

What are the safety features present in the Liftmak range?
Well, the list is quite long and perhaps it cannot be dealt with in detail here. In brief, we offer a digital cage load display with alarm, interlocks between boom and outriggers, safety harness, emergency boom lowering systems, hose failure protection, slew restriction for one-side jacking in case of space constraint, electronic vehicle auto-levelling, cage collision guard, intercom, independent cage slew, graphic display dynamically displaying platform data, wind speed display, etc. Liftmak access platforms are tested for stability at 1.5 times the rated load.

Is cost a deterrent for the sale of advanced machines with inbuilt safety features?
Obviously, there are cost implications in the provision of the safety systems, so it is finally up to the customer.

Do you think that legislation on the use of safer access equipment or tightening the safety norms could help augment the growth potential of this segment?
Certainly! Standards are a must, not only to ensure safety but also to create a level playing field and to compel all manufacturers to absorb the latest technologies at par with global practice in this field.

What is the kind of effort taken on the safety front by companies like Liftmak?
Our suggestion to all our customers is to go through the sequence of access platform operation carefully and understand the potential hazards for each operation. There are technical solutions (safety systems) available to prevent the occurrence of each of the hazards. We have a detailed checklist and we try and educate the customers about the importance of safety of the operator.

How do you view the potential for rental for this kind of equipment?
Rental companies are growing and are expected to expand rapidly. There is a large market for self-propelled platforms as well in which we are not yet present.

What is the value proposition Liftmak provides?
Our focus is on quality and safety in our design at reasonable price. We are deeply committed to customer service at all times.