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Hydraulic lift systems are tools used to lower or raise work platforms and other surfaces that could not be moved by manual labor. They are powered by liquid mechanics, via a combination of a hydraulic cylinder and hydraulic fluid.
Hydraulic lifts are a crucial category of industrial plant and facility equipment, whether you are transporting within a manufacturing plant, mezzanine, construction site, warehouse, transportation facility, or shipping business.Their major applications are loading and unloading, resource relocation, accessibility, and warehouse maintenance.
Loading and Unloading
For warehouses, custom hydraulic lifts can be used to accelerate the progress of operations. With a lift, warehouse maintenance becomes easy and effortless. Whether it is the inspection of the warehouse, or the loading and unloading of goods and materials, every maintenance exercise becomes stress-free and quick.
The manufacturing industry is a major user of hydraulic lifts, especially in warehouses requiring both personnel lifts like scissor lifts as well as material handling lifts such as pallet lifts. However, many other industries utilize hydraulic lifts as well, particularly construction (during roofing and masonry work), automotive and transportation (during vehicle repairs and inspections), docking, and shipping. Also, in aviation, lifts are used as passenger and luggage elevators. Hydraulic lifts are even used in private residential contexts to improve handicap accessibility.
Multiple Stage Scissor Lifts – Advance Lifts, Inc.
High Capacity Vertical Ram Lift – Autoquip Corporation
Lift manufacturers TSL Dock Lift – Autoquip Corporation
Small Hydraulic Lifts – Autoquip Corporation
Humans have been using lifts for about as long as they have building tall buildings. For instance, the Romans used platforms that lifted when slaves pulled at the ropes. Hydraulics did not come into the picture, however, until much later.
The first piece of hydraulic equipment, the hydraulic press, was patented in England by Joseph Bramah. This invention went on to revolutionize first agriculture and then all of the industrial world. In Britain and elsewhere in Europe, hydraulic power was used to power trains, elevators, canal locks, rotating sections of bridges, and cranes.
Throughout the mid-1800s and the 1900s, a slew of different inventors worked with technology to create better and stronger and more versatile lifts. However, in its early years, the hydraulic lift was primarily used with the elevator. Today, elevator lifts still exist. The hydraulic crane, used in lifting applications, was invented by Sir William Armstrong in 1846. The first hydraulic elevator lift in the United States was installed in 1870, in New York. It replaced earlier lifts, which were powered by steam from burning coal.
The first completely hydraulic automotive lift was patented in 1925 by Peter Lunati. By the 1940’s, there were many lift manufacturers out there, and so a group of American manufacturers came together to form a standards organization, ALI (Automotive Lift Institute).
The next big lift type, the scissor lift, was patented as recently as December of 1963, by Charles L. Larson. The 1960s also saw other lift innovations, like the design of the sidelifter, by Kaspar Klaus of Germany. In the 1980s, engineers combined technologies to patent a scissor-type hydraulic car lift. Just in 2000, manufacturers came out with a four-post hydraulic vehicle platform lift. Today, the hydraulic lift industry is just as full of innovation as ever. Though the equipment already there works, engineers continue to find ways to make lifts stronger, better, and easier to use.
How It Works
All types of hydraulic lifts are powered the same way. Based on the principle of hydraulics, hydraulic lifts utilize force that is applied to a hydraulic fluid in order to transfer energy from one area to another.
During this process, the force is multiplied, making hydraulics a powerful movement generation method. The transferred energy is used to drive the hydraulic cylinder within the lift to provide the required energy to raise or lower an object.
To accommodate the many different applications of hydraulic lift tables, manufacturers offer many different hydraulic lift table designs. These include, but are not limited to, those detailed below.
Automotive lifts, also known as vehicle lifts or sometimes car or truck lifts, are used to lift vehicles in automotive repair and inspection bays; vehicle lifts are among the strongest hydraulic lift varieties. Vehicle lifts not only raise and lower vehicles such as cars and trucks; they can be used to lift school buses, dump trucks and other very large vehicles.
Post Car Lift
Post car lifts are a variation on the car lift, designed to raise vehicles so that their undersides can be accessed and worked on. They typically feature two upright support columns, four arms, attached to a carriage assembly, two hydraulic cylinders, a hydraulic power unit, and a mix of hoses, pulleys, and cables; usually, they’re mounted on a concrete floor.
Scissor Lift Table
Scissor lift tables, perhaps the most common lift variety, raise by means of a crossed, accordion-like base. As the base extends, the platform or basket on top of the scissor lift is elevated to the desired height.
Mobile Scissor Lift Table
A mobile scissor lift is a scissor lift that, instead of being stationary, is equipped with castors so that it can be easily moved as-needed. Some models also feature foot pumps and tiltable tables, to prevent injuries during transport of awkward or bulky objects.
Aerial Lift Table
Platform lifts, also referred to as elevated work platforms, are conceptually similar to hydraulic lift tables. Platform lifts, however, are much larger than table lifts and are used for larger-scale lifting tasks.
Electric lifts are manufactured in many different styles and sizes for a broad range of industrial lifting purposes. Sometimes hydraulic pressure components are integrated into the lift to help give it more power in heavy duty applications, but the hydraulic system is powered by an electric motor and controlled by a control unit that allows the operator to adjust the lift to the desired height.
A portable lift is very useful in indoor industrial or commercial settings because it can be wheeled across a flat surface for use in any part of the facility. The most basic portable lifts do not even have a motor at all, just a simple scissor mechanism with a small platform that a person can manually move up and down to the desired height.
Rotary Lift is an Indiana-based company that is credited with producing the world’s first vehicle lift equipment in 1925. Since then, Rotary Lift products have come to be used in automotive repair contexts throughout the world, and other companies have followed Rotary Lift’s example with their own lines of vehicle lifting products.
Scissor Lift Tables
A standard lift table has a wide range of equipment components. These include hydraulic fluid or hydraulic oil, a hydraulic pump, hydraulic valves, a hydraulic roller (used to open and close hydraulic valves), hydraulic cylinders, a drive machine, a rotary joint, and a landing surface for the parts or people being moved.
How to Use It
Each piece of hydraulic equipment is different, but we can offer you a few general tidbits of advice on operating yours.
First, before you turn on your machine, make sure that it is safely set up. If it has castors, make sure they are locked so that the lift won’t move unexpectedly. Check your surroundings for others, and make sure anyone nearby is aware that you’ll be operating machinery.
Once you’re ready, load the lift, then turn it on. Some lifts turn on with a the flip of a switch, while others require you move a control lever into the unlocked position. If your lift has castors, unlock them and wheel the lift where it needs to go. At this point, you can also raise any safety bars that you have, in order to safely transport your load. After your lift is in place, and any mobile components are locked, either push the foot pump or engage the controls in order to lift it to the desired height.
There are many reasons to love hydraulic lifts. Among their advantages are: cost-effectiveness, longevity, increased worker safety, and efficiency. Additionally, hydraulic lift systems can be used in a variety of lifting operations, including as passenger lifts and supply lifts. Hydraulic lift systems also reduce many manufacturing risks by promoting safe handling practices. By lowering the probability of accidents and time-consuming manual processes, these industrial utilities increase the overall efficiency of a manufacturing facility. By using the most efficient hydraulic lifts at your production facility, you can dramatically increase your returns on production investments.
Design and Customization
Since there are so many different types of hydraulic lifts, hydraulic lift manufacturers have a lot of options during design. For example, hydraulic lift manufacturers make some lifts mobile with attached wheels, much like a forklift, while they design others to be mounted as part of a process line. They also make smaller hydraulic lifts for holding and moving products in manufacturing settings.
When building lifts, manufacturers consider factors such as: required strength and durability, size and height restrictions, lifting capacity requirements, and weight capacity requirements. Using these considerations, they decide on design components like material and automation level.
Regardless of a lift’s exact application, though, it will always be constructed from materials that perform well under pressure, like stainless steel, woven wire or rubber. As for automation level, hydraulic lifts can be fully automated, partially automated or completely manually operated.
Manufacturers can customize your hydraulic lift equipment in a number of ways. First, they can alter construction so that your equipment has a greater weight capacity. In addition, they can add components like extra arms, foot controls, skirting, warning lights, and more. They also offer custom color and coating options.
Safety and Compliance Standards
When using hydraulic lift systems, it is important to be mindful about threats related to the safety of the equipment and goods, and the lives of the workers on the site. Therefore, you must ensure that the lift operators working on your site are well trained and certified for their job is. It would also be a wise decision to send your operators to industry training to help them understand safety hazards. Here are a few tips for the best experience:
Get Certified Equipment
It’s important that the hydraulic equipment you purchase is “up to code.” Of course, while every customer will have a different code or codes to which they need adhere, there are some general overlaps. These include OSHA standards (in the USA), ISO standards, and if you’re in Europe, EN or BS EN (British) standards. Make sure to check with your supplier and industry experts to make sure that you know all of your industry-specific standards as well.
Hire Trained and Experienced Staff
Assigning the task of operating hydraulic lift to certified and experienced operators is key in avoiding mistakes. When hiring operators, make certain that they have considerable industry and job experience. Apart from this, you should review their technical and professional certifications. Most importantly, ensure that your operators hold working knowledge of the hydraulic lift that you have at your plant. If possible and needed, send them for technical training. This allows you to minimize potential accidents caused by operator negligence.
Do Not Abuse Equipment
To ensure that no accidents occur, hydraulic lift machines and support tools must not be abused. For example, you should never use the hydraulic lift for lifting a load that is heavier than its capacity. Taking a lift to extreme levels can affect its inner hydraulic components, including hydraulic cylinders and fuel.
Things to Consider
Before you decide on a specific hydraulic lift system for your process, work with your engineers and other internal resources to document your exact requirements. You should list everything related to your process, such as what the machine will lift, the height it needs to achieve, and how often the machine will perform the operation. Apart from these questions, you should also have a clear idea of the space where you would be installing the machine. Make sure that your plant has sufficient space for running a machine of your required capacity. Detail this list of considerations before speaking to hydraulic lift manufacturers or suppliers.
Once you have decided which hydraulic lift system is suitable for your requirements, find a reliable manufacturer or supplier in your area. You can perform a web search or use a reputable online directory to find a trusted name in the industry. If you find anything negative about a supplier during your research, make sure to review actual customer testimonials and select a supplier with good recognition in the industry. It’s important that you select a manufacturer that provides good customer service. After you’ve found a manufacturer you like, make sure that the supplier offers adequate service options for your business. Explain your requirements to your supplier, and ask them to deliver a piece of equipment that precisely fits your budget and requirements.
Hydraulic Lifts Terms
– Angled, smooth part of landing or car entrance area.
– The complete up and down action of a lift table.
– A vessel of fluid with a shaft and piston that moves in response to a decrease or increase of pressure.
Direct Acting Lift
– Lift in which the cylinder is directly attached to the car.
– Unit that provides the power and applies the necessary energy to raise and lower a lift.
– A cylinder, laid horizontally, used for compaction as part of the winch.
– Used to move equipment or materials from one level to another.
– The study of ways to reduce injury and increase ease of physical activity through correct training, posture and product design.
– Moved or operated by pressurized fluid, often in a tube or valve.
The combination of a piston and ram, which creates a push and pull force on a part.
– A substance that is used in hydraulic pistons to create pressure and as a lubricant.
– A water pump that uses the flowing water to force a small amount of that water to a pool at another level.
– The lowering or raising in short increments of the lift platform.
– A surface for work designed with a permanent position for the unloading and loading of lift devices.
– A rating of a load on a hydraulic lift or scissors lift relative to the application of an evenly distributed load.
– Hydraulic cylinder for raising and lowering, usually on a bucket or dozer.
– Braces used to stabilize equipment through hydraulically controlled means.
– Cylinder using hydraulics to control the tilt of a bucket.
– A device that allows the transfer of hydraulic fluid made of two parts, one attached to the operating mechanism and one to the undercarriage of the machine.
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