A common sight around construction sites and power lines, the cherry picker machine operates through a few simple principles of physics to elevate workers safely off the ground. Sometimes called an aerial work platform, bucket truck or basket crane, the cherry picker was first invented in 1944 by the engineer and technician Jay Eitel. He was frustrated and sore after a difficult summer when he worked picking cherries on a farm, so put his technical skills to good use and designed a moving platform machine that operated on hydraulics to easily lift workers carefully into the air. The machine was considered by many to be a revolutionary apparatus and it swiftly gained widespread appeal.
The Physics of the Cherry Picker Machine
A gasoline or diesel motor is used to power a hydraulic system within the housing of the cherry picker. The hydraulic fluid inside the hydraulic cylinder becomes pressurized by the motor, so it pushes a piston to move. The piston slides along inside the cylinder through a series of seals and rings, which maintain pressure in the system. These hydraulic cylinder seals and o rings are essential pieces of the hydraulic system. A jointed design makes the lift articulated so it can move more easily without damaging trees, power lines or buildings.
The Many Uses of the Cherry Picker Machine
The standard cherry picker is simple in construction, usually with a single joint in its arm. However, for more complex or taller uses, extra joints or telescoping technology can be added to the design. Several industries rely on the cherry picker to function. They include:
- Window washing
- Warehouse deliveries
Cherry pickers can also be transported relatively easily on trucks with flatbeds. Sometimes, they are small and light enough to fit inside a van. It can be fascinating to learn how such a simple concept like hydraulics can have such diversity in application in our world.