The concept of bucket truck design initiated with the original usage of this vehicle in orchards. Because of the way they were used, they were first called ‘cherry pickers’ because they were used by orchard workers to harvest cherries. As others found out that this particular application made this vehicle suitable for other types of jobs that involved working at elevated heights, it didn’t take long for this news to spread to other industries to allow for consideration of this truck for their own particular yet similar usage.
Two of the major industries that have come to rely a great deal on the services of these vehicles are the electric and telecommunications industries. They found that this means of transportation was a specialized piece of equipment based on a truck frame and equipped with hydraulically powered telescopic booms and buckets. Although a similar model template applies to many trucks of this type regardless of size or capacity needs, these particular vehicles come with many variations that allow for a more specific application to each segment.
Specific Designs of Bucket Trucks
- Articulated Boom – These vehicles come with articulated joints which can be folded or extended. The addition of articulated joints helps increase the working height of booms without compromising the balance of the vehicles and makes the design compact whenever the booms are not in use.
- Extendable Boom – This variation is equipped with telescopic booms that can be retracted or extended depending on the required working height. The design is simpler with a smaller number of moving parts.
- Hybrid – This version is a combination of articulated and extendable booms. The combination of these two features increases the reach of the bucket truck. The downside of this design is the high cost and maintenance due to its sheer size.
Bucket trucks come in many shapes and sizes, yet the formula for a successful model revolves around only two things: safety and reliability. Considering that they are used for carrying workers at certain heights and with the inherent dangers associated with this type of employment, designers must strive to create a means of transportation that is both safe and reliable for workers to use. A visit to a dealer of these vehicles would demonstrate that most of the different versions come with failsafe systems to make usage of them safer.
Current Design Trends
A few minor modifications are expected to be made with this equipment. The deregulation standards imposed on the American electrical industry have a huge impact on the manufacturer’s perspective for designing this particular vehicle. With the new deregulation standards, electric companies are being forced to streamline their workforce and cut down on their employee numbers to decrease operating costs yet maintain productivity.
The reduction of the workforce is expected to affect the number of crews assigned to each utility vehicle. For this reason, the newer trucks are expected to come with smaller frames which is a sensible design strategy since this new model will require fewer crew members to operate the equipment.
In order to improve productivity, the new layout is also expected to come with more functionality. Instead of equipment that could only perform a single task, new bucket trucks are expected to have more numerous useful features which would certainly increase productivity. To further trim maintenance costs, upcoming designs are expected to have longer maintenance intervals and better fuel efficiency than their predecessors.
The new model trends will still allow these vehicles to retain their most basic functions as the architecture will still revolve around their most important features of safety and reliability. Bucket truck design continues to evolve and respond to the industry needs – which should please both the user and the employer!