Lift tables are surfaces designed to raise and lower objects, mostly within industrial and manufacturing settings, on a relatively small scale. They make alterations in the workplace easy by providing a way for items to be brought to selected heights for optimal access, where they can be moved or worked on. Lift tables champion the concept of ergonomic workspaces, which places emphasis on how space can be used and equipment can be built to create safer, more productive environments for workers. Lift tables do this by removing or lessening the burden placed on workers when they must be awkwardly shaped or heavy objects, as well as by generally allowing workers a way to transport equipment, parts and products with a significantly decreased risk of lifting-related injuries. In addition, they help workers utilize space more efficiently.
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Applications of Lift Tables
Oftentimes, lift tables are mobile, dressed with castors or wheels that give them the ability to move or be moved throughout a building with relative ease. While they are rarely large enough to lift heavy or widely-proportioned vehicles, they can sometimes transport motorcycles. Lift tables that lift motorcycles are simply called motorcycle lifts. Lift tables are also commonly used in veterinary clinics and hospitals, where they help doctors provide the most accurate and safe medical examinations and procedures possible. Other applications of lift tables include but are not limited to: vehicle loading and docking, wheelchair lifts and mobility impaired access, work positioning, materials positioning, ergonomic handling, product distribution and machine feeding.
Hydraulic Lift Systems
Additionally, although small, light-duty lift tables can be powered via electricity, where they are used for non-demanding applications, most lift tables are powered using hydraulics. Hydraulic lift systems universally create movement using compressed hydraulic fluid encased in a cylinder, aptly named a hydraulic cylinder. Hydraulic cylinders are defined as reinforced cylinder cases or chambers that consist of a piston, multiple flanges and seals, a hollow area and an input through which hydraulic fluid is conducted. To work, pressurized hydraulic fluid is forced into the hydraulic cylinder. This forces the piston to move, which then lifts the rod or other connecting material to which it is linked. This material is in turn connected to a load, which it also moves. In the case of lift tables, this so-called load consists of both the lift table and whatever the lift table is supporting. In addition to being able to lift and support the load of the lift table with the force it created from compressed hydraulic fluid, the hydraulic lift system is also able to release this pressure gently and in increments. In doing so, it decreases the chance of a sudden change that could cause worker injury and/or product damage.
Though there are many types of lift tables out there, the vast majority of them are designed as scissor lifts. When a scissor lift is opened or closed, it creates a shape that looks very much like a pair of scissors. Scissor lifts make excellent lift tables for a number of reasons. For one, they are reliable and strong; they can bear very heavy loads and users can trust that they will support the weight of their application. For two, they are completely collapsible, which is ideal for facilities that practice ergonomics. They can also handle wider work loads than most lift tables. In addition, they may use hydraulic powered, gas powered, electrically powered or mechanically powered. A wealth of choices is always a good feature; users can choose the power source of their lift tables based on their application requirements and the environment in which they will be working. For example, hydraulic lift systems are more reliable than mechanical lift systems and they can handle larger and heavier loads than the others. Electrical lift systems, though, do not produce emissions and make very little noise. Therefore, they are often the go-to for indoor warehouse and factory applications. Applications that take place outdoors, on the other hand, such as rough terrain lifting, often use diesel-powered lift tables that cannot be used inside. Other types of lift table configurations include rod mounted tables and wall mounted tables. Wall mounted tables are especially popular as veterinary lift tables.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Lift Table
Lift tables provide invaluable services to a diverse set of industries, such as metalworking, woodworking, printing and publishing, transportation, medicine and medical procedures, oil and petrochemicals, marine, warehousing and more. If they are carefully chosen, properly installed, properly maintained and properly used, they will provide users in every industry with safe, efficient and ergonomic lowering and lifting for years to come.