Types of Scissor Lifts

Scissor lifts are a vertically elevated platforms used to provide a temporary vertical access to high locations.

Hydraulic Lifts

The main advantage of a scissor lift is that you gain a great deal of travel in a small space. That is to say, when retracted, it occupies a fraction of its extended height. The lifting mechanism applies inward pressure to the outer edge of the bottom support (which resembles a series of diamonds stacked point to point). This pressure squeezes the supports together like an accordion and extends the platform upwards.

These lifts are operated by fluid pressure and raise the platform typically via power from the use of pressurized hydraulic oil. Slight speed variations are possible due to temperature fluctuations, which can change the viscosity of the hydraulic oil.

Pneumatic Lifts

These are operated by air pressure and are highly efficient because the supply is made by compressing atmospheric air. Most units require no electricity and can be used in anywhere that air is available. (Many manufacturing warehouses have air supplied throughout for the use of pneumatic tools.) Because there is no hydraulic fluid, there is no potential for line contamination, so these lifts require less maintenance.

Mechanical Lifts

These lifts are extended via a power screw or rack and pinion system, both of which transfer radial motion into linear motion. All electric lifts are mechanical. An advantage of mechanical lifts is that the teeth of the gear system inherently prevent slippage.

About the Author

Mark Harari writes on the neighborhoods channel for Examiner.com in Baltimore. He has more than 12 years' experience in the construction industry and has participated in over $40 million in Maryland construction projects. He attended Towson University and began writing professionally in 2001.