Photo by Tudor Van Hampton for ENR
The SX-180 can be driven at full height, but a speed limiter helps the user maintain control.
Terex Corp.
The SX-180 uses a special chassis that expands into an X-shape.

Terex Corp.'s record-breaking Genie SX-180 boom lift, whose maximum platform height towers to 180 ft, uses a patented chassis that allows it to ride on a lowboy trailer without needing special road permits, sources at Genie say.

"This is a technological leap," said Terex Chairman and CEO Ron DeFeo at the April 15-21 Bauma expo in Munich, where Terex's Genie brand debuted the new machine. "This is a real advancement that the industry has not seen."

The SX-180 surpasses the height of existing superboom lifts, which need special oversize or overweight road permits, by 30 ft. It also ascends into a market served by more expensive truck-mounted lifts. The SX-180 has a retail price of about $600,000.

Key to the Genie SX-180's road-friendliness is a patented chassis. Push a button, and the machine's swiveling axles extend hydraulically—together, the four legs spread out to form an "X" shape—once the machine is ready to go to work.

When it is time to travel on a highway trailer, the axles retract, allowing the unit to shrink its roughly 16-ft width to about 8 ft.

Once on a trailer, the machine's rotating jib tucks under the five-section, telescoping boom for a total stowed length of 42 ft 7 in. The jib has a 180° range of horizontal motion and swivels vertically to reduce the need to reposition the lift.

Offering a wide range of motion for the platform, which can carry up to 750 lb, is important for such a tall lift, said Matt Fearon, president of Terex Aerial Work Platforms.

"I don't know about you, but if I'm working up at 180 feet, I don't want to be moving the boom structure," he said.

The machine can be driven at full height, Genie notes, but for comfort and safety, the wheels turn at a progressively slower speed as the user elevates the platform.

Terex executives say the SX-180, which is available starting this August, is ideal for commercial construction, energy and industrial work. So far, Genie has pre-sold about 40 units.