Mobile work platforms that can be used by workers and technicians etc to physically or manually reach inaccessible areas are known as aerial work platforms (AWPs). These platforms are supported by lifting mechanisms; usually cranes or vehicle-mounted equipment. AWPs are widely used in construction and mining industries, owing to the nature of work, complexity in structural design and elevation. AWPs are also utilized for maintenance and repair activities of high tension power lines, disaster management operations and in defence sectors. Incorporation of safety features, ease of handling, and manoeuvrability are some of the features driving the growth in the AWPmarket.
Large-scale construction projects, increasing installation and maintenance activities of street lights, power cables and transformers, up-gradation of fire-fighting stations and relatedinfrastructure, and increasing organization of festivals, concerts and corporate events are driving the need for AWPs across geographies. These platforms can be controlled using various methods such as vertical, lateral, rotational, and ground movement. Movement of these platforms is initiated with the help of compressors or hydraulics. The AWP industry can be divided into rental and privately owned segments. Rental companies account for the largest share of the global AWP market and it predominates theprivately owned sector. The main reasonrental sector dominates the privately owned sectoris due to the safety factor, as rental firms not only provide trained personnel to handle the machinery. AWPs are broadly categorized as boom lifts, scissor lifts and mechanical lifts. Boom lifts are further classified into straight and articulated boom lifts.
Some of the underlying drivers of the market are economic growth in developing countries, growing investments in real estate and infrastructure, developing telecommunication networks, increase in urbanization, worker safety concerns and adoption of best practices for efficient and sophisticated construction methods. However, lack of machine-specific training to engineers and technologicalunawareness and safety considerations related to lift equipment are the key issues affecting growth of the AWP market.
The market for AWPs is anticipated to exhibit firm double-digit growth in BRICS countries, particularly in Brazil and China. Strong residential and commercial construction projects and increase in public infrastructure spending is anticipated to support phenomenal growth by 2020. With the increasing investments in the construction industry, India and China collectively are anticipated to hold a commanding share in the AWP market. Various government construction projects for the summer Olympics and 2014 FIFA World Cup have proved to be major drivers of growth in 2014. Furthermore, increase in capital investment and growth in the mining industry indicates strong growth prospects forthe AWP market in Brazil.
Players in the AWP market adopt various strategies to gain market share, enhance sales, promoteproducts in non-rental segments such as military and governmentand expand in the utility business and service industry. Also, finding niche areas in the market that demand specific size and application ofAWPsoffers a window of opportunity to increase market share. Some players in the market includeCaterpillar, MEC Aerial Work Platforms, Terex, JLG Lift and Access Equipment, Snorkel Lifts, Tadano, Haulotte and others.
Safety measures for AWPs is a major issue for which construction developers need to follow standards and norms as specified by concern specified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). AWPs are crucial equipment for construction and building maintenance. Increased scale with regard to construction projects and decline in availability of labour force is anticipated to favour growth in the construction equipment industry and hence, the AWPmarketin the near future.
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