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Niftylift founder and Chairman Roger Bowden (right) with MD John Keely.


races ahead

At a recent Open Day at Towcester racecourse, Niftylift showed off its new Height Rider 17 Hybrid 4x4 platform, ahead of its official launch at Vertikal Days at Haydock racecourse.

At first sight, there appears to be no connection between horse racing and the construction equipment hire industry. However, Niftylift’s recent open day and product launch at Towcester racecourse brought home one common factor. Both industries can be dangerous and the risk of an accident to the operator is much higher than average.

Over the years, Milton Keynes-based Niftylift Ltd has been at the forefront of improving safety, including its own innovative ideas into its range of trailer, self-propelled, track and van mounted access platforms. Its latest safety innovation SiOPS - Sustained Involuntary Operation Protection System - is designed to stop the machine’s basket movement should the operator’s torso become trapped between any overhead obstacle and the machine’s controls. In some extreme cases this can cause an involuntary operation of the controls that inadvertently moves the machine and operator closer to the danger, increasing the probability of injuries.

Available on all Niftylift platforms with working heights of 15m and above, the cage’s integral control panel detects any significant load and immediately de-activates both the foot operation pedal and the enable button that temporarily stops the machine’s movement. This gives the operator a ‘second chance’ to consider how to recover their situation safely and then re-activate the controls. If re-activation is not done in a specific time, an alert message saying ‘the operator needs assistance’ is supported by a flashing blue light at the base of the machine.

ToughCage basket

Another innovation resulting from meeting the needs of the hire industry is the ToughCage platform basket. The impact resistant composite base uses a larger cross-section diameter steel cage for extra strength and durability. This latest design includes a raised rear bar, enabling easier access for larger/taller operators, as well as giving increased rear protection. The virtually indestructible base also absorbs much of the force of an impact, preventing damage to the boom.

The main event at Towcester racecourse was the launch of Niftylift’s new HR (Height Rider) 17 Hybrid 4x4 - one in the new line of what the manufacturer describes as ‘environmentally conscious platforms’.


The main feature of the new platform is its low weight. At 4,750kg, it is at least 1,500kg lighter than similar sized machines.The weight reduction has been achieved through its design, the use of specialist high-grade and low weight materials and the inclusion of its hybrid propulsion system, giving customers’ savings in transportation and on-site running costs.

The Hybrid power pack allows the selection of Electric only or Hybrid power during operation. In Electric mode, the HR17 becomes a ‘zero emission’ machine that can work inside or out, both cleanly and quietly. In Hybrid mode, the electric motor automatically assists the 14kW Kubota diesel engine when needed - for example climbing a steep slope - boosting the overall power available. At other times, the electric motor adds excess power from the diesel engine back to the batteries for when it is needed.

The benefits of such a system include a much smaller diesel engine compared to other machines in its class and a claimed reduction of up to 50% in fuel consumption. The machine’s ‘diesel re-gen’ feature is also said to charge batteries up to 40% faster than standard mains power, allowing the HR17 to fully re-charge in just four hours.

The HR17 also incorporates an advanced exhaust purification system, which is further said to greatly reduce carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons particulates and noise emissions. As well as its lightweight design, which gives a 35% reduction in ground pressure, the unit is compact, measuring 2m wide and just 5m long when stowed.Working height with the small, 150˚ fly boom is 17m and working outreach is 9.1m with 225kg in the basket.

“We believe the HR17 Hybrid 4x4 incorporates the very best aspects of Niftylift's design philosophy, combining advanced power-source technology with capable 4x4 and class leading reach performance from a compact, low weight and manoeuvrable chassis that is easy of use, reliable and safe,” said Niftylift’s MD John Keely. “We believe in safety and this drives our product developments. This machine represents the blueprint for the future of hydraulic work platform design.”

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