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A lift table (often referred as a scissor lift) is a device that employs a scissors mechanism to raise or lower goods and/or persons. Lift tables are for raising large, heavy loads through relatively small distances. Common applications include pallet handling, vehicle loading and work positioning. Lift tables are a recommended way to help reduce incidents of musculoskeletal disorders by correctly re-positioning work at a suitable height for operators. Lift tables adapt to specific uses. They work in hostile environments, manufacture in stainless steel and have equipment like conveyors, turn-tables, barriers and gates easily added to their deck plates.

Industries that commonly use lift tables include woodworking, upholstered furniture manufacturing, metalworking, paper, printing and publishing, warehousing and distribution, heavy machinery and transportation.

Common uses of lift tables include:

  • Vehicle loading and docking operations
  • Mobility impaired access
  • Work positioning and ergonomic handling
  • Load positioning (e.g. when integrated into conveyor systems)
  • Materials positioning in machine feeding applications
  • Pallet and roll cage handling
  • Furniture upholstery
  • Dog grooming

What Are The Different Operating Choices For Lift Tables?

There are 3 different operating types of lift tables. They are hydraulic, pneumatic and self-leveling. All 3 styles are different but have their benefits, depending on what the application is.

  • Hydraulic lift tables offer the widest range of features and customization regarding platform size, capacity, vertical travel, and safety features.
  • Pneumatic lift tables offer an airbag design which limits to 24″ of travel. The airbag lift tables may be limited but if an airline is the only power source available to run the lift table, an air motor running a hydraulic system is available.
  • Pneumatic lift tables commonly have wash down areas where electrical sparking can cause a concern.
  • Self-leveling lift tables use ergonomic applications. Self-leveling lift tables require no power at all but do require a fork truck in order to load or unload the full pallet.

1. Portable Lift Tables Manually Actuated

Light capacity (usually under one ton) mobile scissor lifts move up and down by means of a foot or hand pump, or by a pre-loaded mechanical spring. These lifts push like a handcart between workstations and typically used to ergonomically transfer and position heavy unit loads.

Portable Lift Tables ? Manually Actuated

 

2. Portable Lift Tables Powered

Low capacity (usually under two tons) mobile scissors lifts that connect to batteries or building utilities. Powered up and down via an operator using a pushbutton or lever controls. These lifts push or pull between workstations and use ergonomic transfers and position heavy unit and palletized loads.

Portable Lift Tables ? Powered

 

3. Self-Leveling Scissors Tables

Low capacity (usually under two tons), self-contained lift tables that self-level up and down by means of one or more pre-loaded mechanical or pneumatic springs. The spring forces are to accommodate a specific range of load capacities, and the lifts are to ergonomically position palletized loads.

Self-Leveling Scissors Tables

 

?4. Ground Level Scissors Table

Stationary scissors lift design which places the scissors arms and actuators outboard to each side of the lift to allow a very low profile (usually under one inch) elevating platform on or near the floor in between the scissors. This allows ground level loading via pallet jacks and carts, and is a popular alternative to mounting a conventional lift table in a pit.

Ground Level Scissors Table

?5. Hydraulic Scissors Tables Work Positioning

Hydraulic lifts are the most versatile and economic of all scissors lift styles and can be driven by AC, DC, or Shop Air power supplies. These lifts are to ergonomically position large unit or palletized loads (usually under four tons) to prevent the unsafe bending and lifting of excessive loads. Common applications are pallet build-up or break-down stations, end of conveyor stations, and assembly lines.

Hydraulic Scissors Tables ? Work Positioning

 

6. Pneumatic Scissors Tables Work Positioning

Pneumatic lifts are popular due to their inability to leak fluid and their use of common shop air supply to power the lifts. These lifts are to ergonomically position large unit or palletized loads (usually under three tons) to minimize repetitive and harmful bending and lifting of excessive loads. Common applications are pallet build-up or break-down stations, end of conveyor stations, and assembly lines.

Pneumatic Scissors Tables ? Work Positioning

 

7. Mechanical Scissors Tables

Mechanical scissors lifts are often specified when accuracy and repeatability are critical, when loads must be held in raised positions for extended periods of time, or when used in ‘clean room’ environments. There are a variety of mechanical actuator designs which use and size according to capacity, speed, and duty.

Mechanical Scissors Tables

 

8. Heavy Duty Scissors Lifts

Heavy-duty lift tables (between 4 ton and 40-ton capacities) comprise of single or multiple scissors mechanisms working in unison to transfer or position heavy unit loads. These lifts use hydraulic or mechanical actuators and are  in assembly lines, loading docks, mills, foundries, or other processes where heavy loads are common.

Heavy Duty Scissors Lifts

 

9. High Travel Scissors Tables

High travel lift tables (normally between 5 and 15 feet of travel) utilize one or more single-high scissors mechanisms to raise a wide range of weights and types of loads. These lifts require larger shop floor ?footprints? to store the longer legs needed for high travel applications, and common applications include personnel work platforms, mezzanine access, conveyor lines, or other processes where large changes in elevation are necessary.

High Travel Scissors Tables

 

10. Multiple Stage Scissors Lift Tables

Multiple stage scissors lifts are comprised of two or more scissors mechanisms (or ‘pantographs’) that are either pinned or simply-stacked on top of each other to raise a wide range of weights and types of loads. These lifts are popular because they consume smaller shop floor ‘footprints’ to achieve higher travels. Common applications include personnel work platforms, mezzanine access, conveyor lines, or other processes where large changes in elevation are necessary.

Multiple Stage Scissors Lift Tables

11. Portable Tilters

Portable tilters are connected to batteries or building utilities and powered up and down via an operator pushbutton or lever controls. These (normally) ‘high-hinge’ tilters are easily pushed or pulled between workstations for the ergonomic positioning of bins, boxes, and baskets to minimize unsafe bending, stooping and reaching while removing items from these containers.

Portable Tilters

12. Ground Level Tilters

Industrial tilter design which allows a very low profile (usually under one inch) tilting platform to be placed on or near the floor in front of the unit to allow ground level loading via pallet jacks. Tilters are used for the ergonomic positioning of loads to prevent unsafe bending, stooping and reaching to access the load during build-up or break-down.

Ground Level Tilters

13. Hydraulic Tilters Work Positioning

Hydraulic tilters are commonly used to ergonomically position medium (usually under four tons) unit loads, containerized loads, or palletized loads by tilting them up to 60 degrees towards the operator to prevent the repetitive and harmful reaching, bending and stooping associated with building up, breaking down, or accessing these loads. Common applications are end of conveyor stations, assembly lines, and inspection stations.

Hydraulic Tilters ? Work Positioning

14. Pneumatic Tilters Work Positioning

Pneumatic tilters are for ergonomically positioning medium (usually under three tons) unit loads, containerized loads, or palletized loads by tilting them up to 45 degrees over one axis to prevent the repetitive and harmful reaching, bending and stooping associated with building up, breaking down, or accessing these loads. Common applications are end of conveyor stations, assembly lines, and inspection stations.

Pneumatic Tilters ? Work Positioning

15. 90° Upenders

Upenders are industrial tilters for traveling a full 90 degrees and back again, utilizing double acting hydraulic or mechanical actuators. Upenders are  an alternative to cranes, hoists, or manual means to safely re-orientate a load by 90 degrees. Common applications are: standing up or laying down coils or other odd-shaped unit loads; palletizing or de-palletizing sheets, coils, or other stacked loads; or simply changing the orientation of a bulky or heavy object in a build-up or tear-down process line.

90 Degree Upenders

16. Pallet Rotators

Pallet rotators, or pallet inverters as they are sometimes called, are a specialized design of industrial powered turntable. They are used to rotate a palletized load 180°. The rotator is loaded with a pallet beneath its load and a new or replacement pallet or slip sheet is placed on top of the load. Powered clamps capture and hold the entire stack as it is rotated 180°. This equipment is used to quickly replace damaged sacks or containers located at the bottom of a palletized load, or to change styles of pallets.

 

 

17. Manual Turntables

Manual industrial turntables are used to horizontally rotate a unit or palletized load up to 360° in order to bring the work to the worker in applications such as pallet build-up and tear-down, light assembly, and welding or painting processes. Turntables enhance both ergonomic and efficiency benefits by reducing reaching, pushing, pulling, walking, and twisting associated with palletizing and other repetitive operations.

Pallet Rotators

18. Powered Turntables

Industrial powered turntable designs are for easily rotating heavy or palletized loads. These rotations go up to 360° to enhance work station ergonomics. This reduces twisting, reaching and walking. Such design helps automate the process that involves rotating a load to a specified and repeatable position. Whether referring to a standard palletized cube of 48″ x 48″, or a wheeled vehicle measuring 96″ x 180″. These power turntables are an effective means of re-directing the flow of work in a minimum amount of space.

Powered Turntables

19. Manual Stackers

Low capacity (usually under two tons), mobile vertical lifts are manually pushed or pulled between workstations. They typically use the transfer and position (up to 12 feet high) palletized loads. Manually-propelled stackers can connect to batteries or building utilities and powered up and down via an operator pushbutton, foot or lever controls. Common applications are pallet build-up or break-down stations, end of conveyor stations, and assembly lines to prevent the unsafe bending and lifting of excessive loads.

Manual Stackers

20. Powered Stackers

Low capacity (usually under two tons), mobile vertical lifts are power driven between workstations. They are for transferring and positioning (up to 12 feet high) heavy unit and palletized loads. Powered stackers connect to AC, DC or shop air power supplies and power up and down via an operator pushbutton or lever controls. Common applications are pallet build-up or break-down stations, end of conveyor stations, and assembly lines to prevent the unsafe bending and lifting of excessive loads.

Powered Stackers

21. Dock Scissors Lifts Pit Mounted

Dock lifts are stationary, high capacity (2 tons to 20 tons) lifts designed to transport wheeled loads between dock and truck, truck and grade, and/or grade and dock normally within a total vertical travel range of 72″ or less. These lifts are typically more robust and structurally supported than typical scissors lifts in order to withstand rigorous, dynamic, and concentrated wheel loads associated with dock loading. When mounted in a pit, there is no need for ramps to drive the vehicle onto the lift when in the lowered position. Also have full perimeter beveled toe guards on the platform, and a minimum of one hinged throw-over bridge to span the distance to the truck. Safety handrail system is also provided for personnel protection.

Dock Scissors Lifts ? Pit Mounted

22. Dock Scissors Lift Surface Mounted

Dock lifts are stationary, high capacity (2 tons to 20 tons) lifts. The design is to transport wheeled loads between dock and truck, truck and grade, and/or grade and dock. These transports are normally within a total vertical travel range of 72″ or less. These lifts are typically more robust and structurally supported than typical scissors lifts. This lets them withstand rigorous, dynamic, and concentrated wheel loads associated with dock loading. When surface-mounted, a ramp is required to drive the vehicle onto the lift in the lowered position. Hinged throw-over bridges are used to span distance to truck beds. Safety handrail system is also provided for personnel protection.

Dock Scissors Lift ? Surface Mounted

23. Dock Scissors Lift Portable

Portable dock lifts are medium capacity (4 tons or less) lifts. The design is to for use when no loading dock area exists. The lift [pushes or pulls between the building. And delivery trucks, and equipped with on-board power units and quick-disconnect power cords for nearby receptacles. These lifts may come with platform ramps. Wheeled loads on and off of grade level, and they have platform bridges to span the distance between the lift and the truck. Safety handrail system is also provided for personnel protection.

Dock Scissors Lift ? Portable

24. Dock Scissors Lift Ground Level

Ground level dock lifts are stationary, medium capacity (4 tons or less) lifts. Their design has the scissors mechanism and actuators relocated from beneath to outside the platform in order to provide a very low profile (usually under one inch) vehicle platform deck on or near grade level. This allows ground level loading for wheeled vehicles without the need for either a pit or a surface ramp. A hinged throw-over bridge uses a span distance between the lift and the truck beds. Safety handrail system is also provided for personnel protection.

Dock Scissors Lift ? Ground Level

 

25. Coil & Roll Handling Equipment

Industrial lifts, upenders, and power traversing carts are to safely and efficiently perform a variety of requirements. These include down-ending a coil from vertical to horizontal orientation; transporting a coil from one station to the next, lifting a coil from a storage saddle; or vertically aligning a coil with a machine mandrel and feeding the coil onto the machine. Almost all surfaces of equipment associated with coil handing are equipped with V-decks to keep the coil captured and centered on the unit.

Coil & Roll Handling Equipment

26. Die Handling

Industrial lifts, upenders, and powered traversing carts or a combination of one or more of these designs are for safely and efficiently performing a variety of requirements. This includes up-ending die to change orientation during machining; transporting a die from one station to the next; or lifting a die from a storage rack and feeding it into a press. Die handling equipment is extremely robust to withstand the rigors of handling and transferring loads weighing up to 50 tons.

Die Handling

27. High Cycle Lifts (over 100,000 cycles per year)

Industrial scissors lifts place repetitive, automated manufacturing or conveyance applications in. They demand more than 100,000 equipment cycles per year. These lifts have several design features to greatly reduce equipment fatigue. They promote quick component replacement during system down-times. These features can include lower than normal hydraulic system pressures, impact-resistant bearings, industrial cam followers, replaceable pins at all joints, and replaceable hardened alloy wear strips along all roller paths.

High Cycle Lifts

28. Air Cargo Lifts

Air cargo lifts are dock scissor lifts. Configured to meet the unique application requirements of the air cargo industry. Though these requirements may vary somewhat from one company or governmental agency to another, most air cargo lift designs have the following features. Large deck; heavy-duty conveyor; personnel walkway and guardrails; and electronic scales.

Air Cargo Lifts

29. Sheet Handling

Industrial lifts, turntables, and powered traversing carts or a combination of one or more of these designs are use to safety and efficiency to perform a variety of required sheet handing tasks.  These include indexing stacked sheet for in-feed or out-feed of process machines; transporting sheet from one station to the next; or rotating sheet to specified increments for machining or stamping. Sheet feed applications often require the integration of special sensors and controls.

Sheet Handling

30. Stage Lifts

Stage lifts are typically one or more scissor tables, or vertically actuated platform lifts. They synchronize to travel together for up to 25 feet with 2 to 3 different landings to stop and hold position with. The lift system is either electro-mechanically or electro-hydraulically driven by multiple actuators. Lift paint color is almost always flat black, and the deck surfaced with plywood sheets to accommodate various flooring styles. Typical lifting capacity is 25 pounds per square foot of deck.

Stage Lifts

31. Conveyor Interface Equipment Work Positioning

Industrial lifts, turntables, and even tilters or a combination of one or more of these designs use personnel ergonomic means to perform the repetitive tasks associated with conveyor line processes. Work stations incorporate a conveyor line for pallet build-up or break-down, component assembly, painting, welding or inspection. Conveyor interface equipment can enhance both ergonomic and efficiency benefits by reducing the bending, reaching, pushing, pulling, and twisting associated with many of these repetitive operations.

Conveyor Interface Equipment ? Work Positioning

32. Conveyor Interface equipment Automation

Automated systems often incorporate industrial equipment programmed to change the direction or elevation of items flowing through a conveyor line. Industrial lifts are used to move items from one elevation to another, turntables are used to change the direction of flow of these items typically 90 degree turns through the line. Any such type of interface equipment requires the use of one or more styles of sensors to communicate the location and status of load and equipment platform positions. These sensor signals send a PLC or other control logic computer program to automatically start and stop actuation of the interface equipment.

Conveyor Interface equipment ? Automation

33. Conveyor Interface Equipment Indexing

Optimal to place indexing lifts adjacent to and just upstream or just downstream of a work station. Placement is typically next to a machine center to index a stacked load of bar or sheet stock. This is in incremental distances up (for in-feeding the center, the lift moving up as the stack depletes), or down (for out-feeding the center, the lift moving down as the stack forms). Indexing performs in pre-determined or programmed distances using a vertical transducer and PLC. Self-determined through the use of photo-sensors is key. These have the ability to initiate upward or downward movement depending on whether the sensor sees light (stack depleting) or dark (stack forming).

Conveyor Interface Equipment ? Indexing

34. Vertical Ram Platform Lifts

Vertical ram platform lifts actuate and guide by one or two synchronized, large diameter hydraulic rams. These bolt to the underside of a large, heavily-structured platform. Ram lifts have very high lifting capacity ratings. So they have high edge load ratings, and are very well suited for large, heavy vehicle transfer between landings. Though installation costs may vary, the ram platform lift is an ideal solution for any high travel. And great in high capacity applications with limited to small platform sizes. There are practically no moving parts to wear out and low pressure hydraulic systems. They are great for heavy duty construction.

Vertical Ram Platform Lifts

35. Industrial Bridges

Industrial bridges are large hydraulic tilters that carry high static load ratings instead of dynamic load ratings. Most placed in service to temporarily span a horizontal distance. And to accommodate wheeled loads when fully lowered into place as well. The tilter platforms, or ‘wings’, raise empty and store vertically to minimize floor space consumption. These heavy duty platform lifts have high axle load ratings. They can be small enough for a pallet jack, or large enough to accommodate two semi-truck trailers side by side.

Industrial Bridges

36. Truck Levelers

Designed to level trucks of different weights, lengths, and bed heights. This adjusts with the elevation of the fixed dock height. They actuate by two or more hydraulic cylinders located beneath (for pit-mounted units). This could also be on either side of (for surface-mounted units) a ten-foot wide leveling platform. The platform hinges at the front and structurally supports the high axle loading of large vehicles. Truck levelers commonly used at docks with many different types of docks; dairies, distribution centers, automotive plants, etc..

Truck Levelers

37. Mast / Rail Lifts

Rail lifts are heavy duty dock lifts which have the unique feature of a cantilevered platform. This rides on a set of rails behind the lift. Because there are no scissors legs or actuators beneath the platform, the lift has a low collapsed height. Rail lifts can use a relatively short approach ramp. Therefore this requires no permanent or costly pit. The lift is easy to relocate to another position along the dock. A safety handrail system is also provided for personnel protection.

Mast / Rail Lifts

 

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