How to read and understand a MEWP range of motion chart 

The working area or range of motion is defined by the combination of its vertical lift height and horizontal outreach. This combination is represented by a chart, showing clear and easy identification of the machine's work capabilities.

Aerial work platforms (AWPs), whether telescopic or articulated, are essential on job sites, enabling operators to reach elevated work areas that are difficult to access. The working area or range of motion is defined by the combination of its vertical lift height and horizontal outreach. This combination is represented by a chart, showing clear and easy identification of the machine’s work capabilities. 


Understanding the working area chart

The working area is usually shown as a diagram. This chart is crucial information for MEWP operators. It is usually found in the machine’s user manual, which should be stored in the document box attached to the basket.

For some models, such as the Haulotte HA20 RTJ, the range of motion chart is printed on a decal in the basket, making it easily readable at a glance during operation or even while approaching the machine. 

The working area is a 2D representation of the MEWP’s operational movements, usually taking the form of an arc. It includes a diagram showing height, reach, and angle, which helps determine the machine’s access and outreach capabilities. Depending on the machine, the range of motion may also provide critical information about the maximum weight that can be loaded.

Importance of the working area chart

This information is vital both before, when selecting a MEWP for a job site, and during operations. 

Selecting the right MEWPfor example, if a job requires carrying a heavy load in the basket with maximum outreach, it’s crucial to verify these parameters on the range of motion chart. These factors can be decisive when choosing the most appropriate model and may lead to selecting a MEWP with a slightly higher working height than initially needed. 

During operations: operators must always review the AWP’s working area chart before starting work to ensure safe and efficient operations. Most machines will lock functions (elevation/deployment) when the maximum load capacity is reached, and the operator will see a warning light on the control panel. Regardless of the machine and its functionality, it is essential not to ignore these warnings. 


Variations depending on MEWP model

It is important to note that two MEWPs with similar specifications can have different working area charts. This is due to design differences, such as materials, counterweight placement, and onboard systems or innovations. 

If you usually rent MEWPs from different brands, don’t rely on your « habits »— always check the machine’s chart. Additionally, some machines feature regular arc-shaped work envelopes, while others may have jagged shapes, requiring the operator to retract or reposition the boom to continue working when reaching the envelope’s limit. 

Special capabilities of the working area

Some machines offer negative (below ground) work capabilities, which are particularly useful for applications such as bridge inspection, mining, and earthwork. For example, this is a feature of the Haulotte HA32 RTJ PRO articulated boom lift and the HT28 RTJ PRO telescopic boom lift. 

To address job site constraints, such as significant outreach, working on slopes, or carrying heavy loads, MEWP manufacturers have developed innovations and options. In 2024, Haulotte introduced the Haulotte Dual Reach innovation, which increases the basket’s load capacity while working on uneven ground. The machine can continue to elevate and operate on a slope of up to 6° (both longitudinal and lateral). The HA20 RTJ features the Haulotte Dual Reach innovation and thus has a specific « dual load » chart, showing two work envelopes depending on the basket’s load. 


Checklist of major points to remember

  1. Working area representation: A 2D diagram showing height, reach, and angle. 
  2. Importance of working area chart: Essential for selecting the right AWP and ensuring safe operation. 
  3. Possible variations: Different shapes of work envelopes (regular arc, jagged). 
  4. Special capabilities: Negative work and dual load capacity. 

By understanding and using the working area chart, operators can maximize the efficiency and safety of their aerial work platforms on the job site.

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