Different Types of Access Platforms and Applications

Cherry picker folding lift system

Access platforms give workers a temporary or permanent way to work at various heights. They come in a variety of configurations and are featured in jobs ranging from utility maintenance to grain processing. A steady and well-fabricated access platform can give workers confidence and reduce the likelihood of workplace injuries and equipment damage. Companies must often consider the use case before choosing one type of access platform over another.

Explore the Different Types of Access Platforms

Access platforms can feature fixed or adjustable components, stairs or ladders, and powered or manual elevation capabilities. Consider some of the most commonly used types of access platforms:

Folding platform systems

These systems work similarly to ladders, with a larger platform at the top of the system. They fold out to provide workers with a slight elevation for projects requiring frequent movement at a relatively low height. The lowest platforms may feature an open construction, while those built for higher work spaces may feature a guard-rail or enclosure.

Folding platforms are mobile and versatile. Businesses often use them when performing painting and finishing work, construction, and offsite repair jobs. A high-quality system will easily fit into the back of a truck and can provide hours of stable support for odd jobs, construction, and contract work.

Powered platforms

Electric and motorized platforms allow workers to step onto the system at ground level and move up or down as needed during a project. These lifts feature sturdy standing platforms and some form of guardrail system to give workers the ability to reach up and out to safely perform work. Common types of powered platforms include:

Scissor lifts

These systems feature scissoring supports that rise from a motorized bed to lift and lower a worker. Workers use scissor lifts to clean the exteriors of buildings, to fulfill orders in warehouses, and to maintain or repair heavy equipment that does not support ground-level access.

Electric hoists

Hoists are pulley systems that often work in conjunction with pre-existing scaffolding or access platforms. They help workers and equipment move among different stories of a building or industrial service area for larger work projects.

Cherry pickers

Cherry pickers place workers at the end of a crane’s boom for fast and mobile access to a workspace. Scissor lifts can only lift workers vertically and can only move in two directions. Cherry pickers, on the other hand, can move workers in a variety of directions for inspections, maintenance, and repair work on buildings and heavy equipment.  

Powered platforms can work at great heights and maneuver into tight and unusual spaces. Any business that needs fast, mobile, and safe access to a non-routine workspace may benefit from one of these powered platforms.

Stationary and semi-stationary platforms

Stationary platforms feature tower-like constructions and can include either fixed placement or lockable casters for movement within a confined space. Companies often custom order these platforms to fulfill specific functions on a jobsite such as providing access to a hard-to-reach piece of equipment or structure.

Industrial manufacturing businesses, for example, may need to assemble, adjust, or inspect smaller components on heavy-duty equipment, planes, or large structures. The routine nature of the work calls for a more readily accessible and secure platform. A stationary or semi-stationary platform usually includes guardrails, but may leave one or more sides open to give workers better access to the work area.

Businesses may also use these custom platforms to reach storage tanks and bins, offload cargo, or gain entry into a tower, vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft that does not offer ground-level access. These versatile platforms can accommodate many needs across a variety of production and repair industries.

Download Capability Statement

Access platforms must meet regulatory safety standards and improve a worker’s ability to perform a job to add value at a jobsite. Swanton Welding fabricates and assembles individual components and full orders for access platforms. Our team works with aluminum, stainless steel, and other popular metals to deliver custom, secure, and durable access platforms. Contact us today at (419) 826-4816 for more information about our work with access platforms.