What is a MEWP?

Posted on: January 10th, 2016

If you ever get confused by all the different names used for powered access equipment you are not on your own!  This industry has a lot of different types of lifting equipment with some being commonly referred to by many different names.  The complex language of MEWPs has probably evolved because they are manufactured in many different countries, each with their own name for them.   So if you are also a little mystified by the jargon used in the access industry read on…..



MEWP or Mobile Elevating Working Platform refers to a mobile machine which is intended for working at height.  Because of its origins in the fruit picking industry it is commonly referred to as a cherry picker.  The MEWP has many other names including access platform, working platform, mobile work platform, truck mounted platform, truck mount, boom lift, hydraulic lift, articulated lift, elevating work platform or aerial work platform!


And if that doesn’t confuse you there are lots of different types of MEWP which have been developed with different work site and usage in mind.  Please see the brief explanations of each type of access platforms below:


Vehicle Mounted MEWPs

Large TrucksBronto 56XR Truck Mount Cherry Picker





These types of cherry pickers are mounted on a vehicle and so they can be driven directly to the work site.    They may be mounted on a van (useful if you have a lot of equipment to take to the work site with you) or on a truck or HGV.Van mounted access platforms may have small outriggers or they may have no outriggers at all.  Truck mounted MEWPs have four outriggers, one at each corner.  These outriggers take the weight of the vehicle and spread it over a greater area.Some truck mounted platforms are on 3.5 tonne vehicles and can be driven to site on a normal driving licence,  very handy for those who wish to hire a self-drive cherry picker.   MEWPs that are mounted on a HGV chassis are able to have a greater working height and can go up to an incredible 90 metre working height like our Palfinger P900 which weighs 45 ton.Truck and van mounted cherry pickers can be driven directly to the work site and can be positioned and set up very quickly.  They can also reach greater safe working heights and lateral outreach because of the stability given by the vehicle they are mounted on.truckFor more examples see our trucks and vans page.



Tracked Access Platforms

Some people refer to tracked access platforms as spiders because they look a bit like a four legged spider when their outriggers are extended!  These self propelled MEWPs are mounted on tracks.  They are delivered to site on a delivery vehicle and once unloaded they can be driven into position on their tracks.    They wrap up nice and small for transport and when  positioning on site. This is useful for accessing work sites with restricted access for example internal atriums, courtyards or back gardens.  Some of them can be driven over rough terrain and some like our Leo 25T Plus and Leo 36T plus can even be driven up stairs!Spiders difficult access
Once in position the outriggers are deployed and the weight of the platform is distributed over all four outriggers.  Spiders are great for working on surfaces and floors which have a weight restriction.Tracked access cherry pickers are extremely versatile pieces of equipment; many have duel fuel options meaning they can switch to electric power for use indoors.  Tracked access platforms provide vertical and horizontal outreach to the work site, for example our Leo25T plus has a phenomenal 18 meter outreach which enables you to access work sites where you can’t get the MEWP close and also may make operations more efficient by reducing the number of times you need to re-position.
tracked access platforms

  Scissor Lifts




Scissor lifts can normally only go up and down, but some have an extending platform to reach over to the work face.They can be recognised by their folding supports which have a criss-cross pattern (hence the name scissor lift!).Normally battery operated (although the very large scissors can go to 30m and are diesel powered) these are excellent for indoor use where no or little outreach is required.

Genie Boom

Genie Lift Genie is actually a manufacturer’s brand of platform but has become a common name to refer to mobile booms or boom lifts.They are transported to site on delivery vehicles but once on site they can be driven into position as they are mounted on wheels.These cherry pickers don’t have outriggers although on some models the wheels can extend to give a larger platform area at the base of the MEWP, increasing the stability of the base and allowing a greater safe working height to be reached.

Mobile vertical Lift (or mast lifts)

Star 10 Vertical Lift These may just go up and down, or may have a fly jib which give them a small amount of outreach.  They are often battery powered and some like our own Haulotte Star 10 can even be driven around when the platform is in the elevated position.They are battery powered and small; excellent for indoor use and in particular for jobs where the operator may not want to return to ground to re-position for example internal roof inspection, high level internal maintenance and cleaning of high level internals.

Push Around Vertical (PAVs)

PAV PAVs are transported to site on a delivery vehicle or trailer, but do not have power to position them and so are manually moved into position (hence the name push around).  They may have small outriggers, but generally the weight of the bottom of the machine is what keeps the PAV stable when elevated.The lifting of the platform is often battery powered.  PAVS are excellent for internal use as they don’t produce fumes and they fit through doorways, however their safe working height is limited and they don’t have any outreach, they just go up and down.

If you would like some assistance choosing the right MEWP for your site and job or if you would like to hire a cherry picker please give our hire desk a call on 0845-2743627.



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