They say, “good things come in little packages,” and the Ruthmann BLUELIFT SA18HB is a perfect example precisely confirming that. When looking at SA18HB as it drove off the flatbed in the morning, I would never have guessed it was capable of the reach it achieved during our testing.
After spending the day with both Sean Henry, General Manager South / East Regions at Ahern Australia and Alex Penn from Northern Beaches Tree Services, who put Ahern Australia’s SA18HB Bluelift Spiderlift through its paces for our review, several things stood out about this impressive little performer.
Simplification has been front of mind when this 18-meter spider lift was being conjured up in R&D. It’s straightforward to set up and use. Forget about wasting time levelling and preparing the lift for use. Its footprint and narrow access mean with the quick release bucket on, you will fit through an opening of 1400mm and with the bucket off, your maxwidth from track to track is only 780mm.
Once you have made the most of the narrow footprint to access your required position on your site, the self-levelling feature will have you and a co-worker ready to climb into the two-person (230kg rated basket) and start work in minutes.
Sean Henry from Ahern shared: “Great access and a quick set up are a big focus on this machine, along with a very impressive 17.8m working height and 9.3m reach (with 120kg in basket). As you will see from the pictures from our test today for a compact machine, it is impressive just how effective this spider lift is – making it a great choice for arborists.”
Test #1 – Set up and self-levelling
Our SA18HB was delivered to the site by a tilt tray truck. Once unloaded, we tracked the machine down the road and shared driveway of the home where we would first be using the machine. Our operator Alex Penn was provided basic operator instructions for the controls and features and was ready to start using the SA18HB.
Alex said: “This is a straightforward machine to use. After I tracked the machine to the area where I wanted to position it, the automatic leveling system took all the hard work out of the setup, and I was up and cutting in no time. The control panel is well laid out and easier to use than other machines I have used. I particularly liked that I could use multiple functions on the controller at the same time.”
Test #2 – Reach and performance
The SA18HB is powered by a Honda iGX engine and 230V-2.2kW electric motor, and an i-Performing electric pump (patented) with an auto Start/Stop system. Talking with Alex about his thoughts on exactly how the SA18HB handled, he shared: “This is a great little machine. It was smooth and easy to control.
“There was a slight delay on the control inputs, but once I got used to its characteristics, I did prefer it to the similarsized machine we have used in the past. We had several areas in the front of the property that needed to be cleaned up.As we couldn’t block the access to the neighbouring property, we positioned the Bluelift close to the house and reached out over the top of the driveway. With ample reach up our sleeves, this was no problem whatsoever.” Alex continued, “Our next and biggest test involved reaching over the top of the house to cut back the branches growing over the top of the home. We managed to get full reach and access the closest two, with one, third large tree being just out of reach, which our climbers took care of. But in this valley with some huge gums surrounding the home, we were very impressed with its capabilities.”