Boom and bucket trucks make performing tasks high off the ground possible. They’re heavy-duty machinery with specialized parts, each with a specific task. Still, all these parts work in tandem to perform their duty.
There is no question on how useful these types of trucks are, as their applications are numerous.
Also, there are numerous kinds available. Of worthy mention are the Aerial Personnel Lift Trucks, the Bridge Inspection Vehicles, the Digger Derrick Trucks, and the Truck Mounted Hydraulic Cranes.
Highly versatile and effective, these trucks and devices save on time and manpower, enabling a crew to accomplish lifting, hoisting, and digging jobs.
Inspection of Aerial Lift Devices
If you own any of this heavy-duty equipment, it’s your responsibility to ensure they are inspected annually.
This goes without saying, for the continued effectiveness of your machine, as well as the safety of the operator and other crew members.
An inspection here goes beyond simply checking out the equipment. It involves a thorough inspection of all components to ensure they comply with the proper requirements.
These requirements are according to set standards by the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).
Another reason for such inspection is to find any operational issues before they devolve into serious equipment damage.
If you think auto repair is an issue, wait till you see just how expensive and time-consuming heavy-duty truck repair is.
ANSI Bucket Truck Inspection Basics
The inspections and tests vary. Most differences depend on the particular equipment in question and its applications.
Generally, the following must be considered during the inspection:
✔ Conditions that could interfere with the function of the operating controls.
✔ Inspection of the visual and audible safety devices.
✔ Checks for leaks or damage to the hydraulic and pneumatic systems.
✔ Assessment of the integrity of the fiberglass and other insulating components.
✔ Assessment of the electrical system of the aerial device.
✔ Structural inspection of fasteners and locking devices.
✔ Tests to check for the following are also recommended – speed control, range of motion, lifting mechanism, emergency and safety, lubrication of moving parts, and other manufacturer-specified items.
In addition to the standard tests, the inspector will also check that all operational and instructional markings on the device are legible, so the operator knows exactly what they’re doing at all times.
Also, your heavy-duty truck must have the operator/user manual in it at all times.
Annual ANSI Bucket Truck Inspection Requirements
According to the ANSI, this should be performed on aerial platforms “no later than thirteen (13) months from the date of the prior annual inspection.”
The annual inspection of these heavy-duty aerial devices should cover the following:
✔ Visual inspection of the structural components of the device.
✔ Complete operational tests to indicate the level of functionality.
✔ Load testing for stability.
✔ Dielectric testing of fiberglass material.
✔ Tests to determine the integrity of ferrous and non-ferrous surfaces.
✔ Ultrasonic testing of accessible pins.
Typical Boom and Bucket Truck Inspection Specifications
A typical inspection involves a series of tests that determine the integrity of the equipment. It often begins with a predetermined set of structural tests.
STRUCTURAL AND MECHANICAL TESTS
This depends on the exact equipment in question. However, the general principle applies to all boom and bucket truck types.
1. Visual Inspection
A visual inspection of all accessible areas of the equipment is a must. These accessible areas include components such as the outriggers, chassis, pedestal, bearings, booms, elbow turntable, and other general components.
Areas with inspection cover plates are not left out. To do a thorough job, the inspector is expected to remove these cover plates for access.
2. Acoustic Emission (AE) Test
Once the visual inspection is completed, a test of the fiberglass and steel structures must be performed.
The accepted industry method for testing these is with an Acoustic Emission (AE) Test.
Sensitive and specific equipment is needed for this. And when the results are ready, the engineering staff of the testing company will review them.
3. Magnetic Particle Inspection
This is designed to identify surface cracks on ferrous material. All critical components of the equipment made of such material must be tested with this method.
4. Dye Penetrant Inspection
This is also used to identify cracks on surfaces. However, these surfaces are made of non-ferrous materials.
5. Ultrasonic Inspection
This a specialized testing method that can detect flaws in critical pins. It saves the inspector from having to remove too many pins by providing a more efficient means of testing them ultrasonically.
6. Torque Testing
This finds hidden issues with the manufacturing of your equipment. It’s suited for critical fasteners in certain areas of the machinery such as the bearing, swing gearbox, mountings, and boom connections.
FUNCTIONAL AND OPERATIONAL TEST
After the structural tests are done, a test of the performance and operation of the truck is carried out. The ANSI aerial truck inspection serves to determine the functionality of the equipment.
The inspector will check the workings of all critical components including the following –controls, bearing, cylinders, bucket lifting mechanism, boom turntable limit systems, and frame-mounted counterweights.
Other than the major components, other parts of the truck that play a role in the aerial operation are also checked out.
This is especially indicated for truck-mounted hydraulic cranes. Load tests for new and altered cranes are required to fulfill the requirements of OSHA.
According to OSHA aerial lift regulations, a rated load test is advised. The load rating should not exceed 80% of the maximum test load and test loads should not exceed 125% of the rated load.
However, this is also subject to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
What Happens After an ANSI Bucket Truck Inspection?
Chances are that a few issues will be discovered during an inspection as thorough as this. That doesn’t necessarily imply that your bucket truck will be put out of commission.
The inspector just has to grade the issue depending on the severity.
A report detailing the issues found and the repairs you have to do will be given to you. The final test will be carried out and reviewed by the inspection station’s engineers.
Report and Certification
Just like the typical vehicle inspection, there must be something to indicate that the aerial lift truck has been successfully inspected according to the ANSI and OSHA standards.
Here, a signed and dated copy of the test results will be issued to the owner or an authorized representative.
Any defects or issues discovered during the inspection are fixed. Another test is carried out and a final report is issued.
Based on ANSI standards, all malfunctions must be corrected before the aerial platform is used.
Eventually, a certification report will be issued after a successful inspection.
Who Can Carry Out Boom and Bucket Truck Inspection Services?
Again, these are complex pieces of machinery. Your local auto repair technicians might not be qualified or even authorized to inspect such equipment.
Only technicians trained under OSHA or ANSI standards should do this.
The technician must be a qualified mechanic on that specific aerial platform or one with a similar design.
Also, the inspector is required to use only the right tools to do the job.
On that note, you must find a service station with authorized inspectors or let your service station outsource the task to a qualified third party.
How Long Does an Inspection Last?
Again, these inspections take place annually. With a whole year before the next inspection, it’s only expected that the entire process takes a bit of time. But there’s no rush.
With such aerial devices and an operator’s life hanging by a ‘boom’, a few hours of inspection is well worth it.
Generally, expect about 3 – 6 hours, although this depends on the particular equipment being inspected.
Getting Ready for an ANSI Inspection
ANSI bucket truck inspections aren’t like a trip to the car wash. It requires adequate planning on your part so you get the most out of the service.
Here’s how to prepare for an ANSI bucket truck inspection:
Start with the Basics
The annual inspection is required of all bucket truck owners. Still, it doesn’t just take away the need for frequent checks of your equipment.
Most aerial lift manufacturers (and the ANSI aerial lift standards) recommend that you inspect your bucket truck every 3 months or after 150 hours of service.
So, make sure you and your staff are trained on the proper use and maintenance of the equipment. Keep the manual close and create a maintenance checklist.
Figure Out an Inspection Schedule for Your Fleet
If you’ve got a fleet of these heavy-duty trucks, it would lead to massive down time for you if you schedule an inspection wrongly.
Your best bet is to schedule strategically. For instance, you can combine most of these inspections.
The annual general inspection and dielectric testing can be scheduled for the same time so you don’t have to go back for either service till the next year.
Potential Issues with Aerial Lift Trucks
This annual inspection is necessary for several reasons. If you have an aerial lift truck and have used it for over a year, there are likely to be a few things wrong with it.
A few common scenarios include:
- Missing or illegible operational decals.
- Low hydraulic oil levels.
- Damaged hydraulic Filters.
- Damaged winch rope.
- Faulty rotation bearing bolts.
- Loose bearing deflection.
- Inappropriate tension of the leveling chain.
- Damaged bucket and liner.
Most of these fall under the category of pre-start inspections of vehicle and lift components of aerial devices according to OSHA guidelines.
However, the annual inspection is way more encompassing and thorough.
If you own an aerial lift or a fleet of heavy-duty trucks, then you will need to schedule an annual inspection at some point.
You can count on our staff of experienced auto repair professionals and licensed inspectors to give you thorough boom and bucket truck inspection services according to ANSI and OSHA standards.
Reach out to us at TLC Auto and Truck Repair or call (631) 201-5755 for more information.