Pneumatics is a technology that uses pressurized gas to affect mechanical motion. The technology utilizes pressurized air as an energy source to accomplish a task.
Pneumatics has been traced back as far as 2000 BCE when pot bellows were invented to assist with making fire. It was not until 1654 when German physicist, Otto von Guericke, developed the vacuum pump that the technology started to innovate. In 1700, Frenchman Denis Papin started creating innovations utilizing pressurized air. 99 years later, Scottish engineer William Murdoch proposed the idea for pneumatic tube transportation. And George Medhurst, a British engineer, proposed a pneumatic railway and an aeolian engine. In 1879, US inventor William Stickney Lamson revived William Murdoch's pneumatic tube transport idea into what is known as the Lamson tube. In the 1960s use of pneumatics became widespread in manufacturing.
Pneumatics and hydraulics are categorized into fluid power systems. They are commonly used to manage costs and they produce more power than electric with a smaller carbon footprint. Another advantage of using pneumatic scissor lifts is cleanliness. In pneumatic systems, pressurized air usually pushes out the dirt that gets stuck inside.
Additional benefits of pneumatics are less risk of hazardous situations. Pneumatics utilize regular air. So if a leak was to occur, the only concern is lost air pressure. Pneumatic machines also require less maintenance in the long run, due to it requiring air to operate.
A pneumatic lift is typically used to raise large or heavy loads during pallet handling or vehicle loading. Additionally, they can be used to assist in work positioning and ergonomic handling of goods. Lifts are recommended to reduce incidents of musculoskeletal disorders in workers. Industries that commonly use lift tables include woodworking, upholstered furniture manufacturing, metalworking, paper, printing and publishing, warehousing and distribution, heavy machinery and transportation.
There are two basic types of Pneumatic lifts. The air over hydraulic, which are built the same as a traditional lift except that the electric motor is replaced by an air motor. Lifts of this type are ideal in applications where electrical components cannot be used in the environment or when electrical power is not available. The other type is the airbag design which operates by inflating airbags under the table to cause lift. Pneumatic scissor lifts use air pressure as their lifting mechanism. Compared to traditional lifts, this lift does not emit hazardous fumes or by-products into the environment, making it a more sustainable option for companies looking to minimize their carbon footprint.
It’s important when utilizing a pneumatic lift that a few safety precautions are taken. Every employee should be aware of safety regulations and the machine should be regularly maintained and tested. It’s critical that employees understand how to position their lifts correctly and all overhead wires are eliminated. Additionally, the lift should always be stable to ensure no employee is in the way of falls.
Every manufacturer will have specific instructions of care for each type of lift they produce. In general, lifts should not be dragged to reduce the chance of breakage. Additionally, the exterior should be clean of dirt, grit, oil and grease. Before each use, wipe down the exterior with a damp cotton towel. Ensure the machine is dry before use. It is important to test the machine every three months of non-use, to ensure every function remains operational and will not risk harm to the users.