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Enhanced Loading Techniques for Scissor Lift Tables

  • liftool_admin
  • 01 Mar 2024

Scissor lift tables are a crucial component in numerous warehouses and factories due to their versatility and ergonomic design. Whenever there is a need to elevate or lower loads for processing, palletizing, depalletizing, picking, or maintenance tasks, these lifts provide an excellent solution.

Loading a lift correctly is crucial for its success and durability. Since scissor lifts rely on collapsible legs for support, uneven weight distribution can put excessive stress on the entire structure. While it may be necessary to load lifts unevenly at times, it is important to note that lifts have variable load capacities depending on the manner of loading and usage.

When analyzing the loading method, it is crucial to take into account various factors:

  • Friction and impact, which can significantly affect the stability and efficiency of the lifting process.
  • Horizontal impact against stops, which can influence the wear and tear on the lifting equipment.
  • Incremental layers, where each load increment should be carefully calculated as a percentage of both the total lifting capacity and the edge load rating.
  • The load footprint relative to the platform size, to ensure that the weight is distributed evenly and does not exceed the platform’s capacity.
  • The load’s center of gravity relative to the minimum platform size, to prevent tipping or instability during the lifting operation.

By carefully considering these factors, a safer and more effective loading method can be achieved.

Side loading vs end loading

Most scissor lifts exhibit greater strength towards their ends rather than their sides. Consequently, all lift manufacturers unanimously advise operators to prioritize end loading over side loading when the lift is extended to its upright position. This approach minimizes the stress placed on the expanded legs, thereby extending the lifespan of your lift.

Apart from the direction you load, the method holds utmost significance.

  • Rolling loads, such as driving a forklift onto a dock lift or maneuvering a pallet jack from a platform to a scissor lift, exert force and deflection pressure onto a specific portion of the leg structure. Although this force is typically transient as the rolling load shifts to a centered position, it must be taken into consideration.
  • Similarly, sliding loads, which often occur instantaneously and dissipate as the load slides towards the center of the platform, are comparable to rolling loads. Examples of sliding loads include sheet metal feeding or conveyor belts mounted on top of the lift.
  • In contrast, placed loads – loads that are manually placed or removed by hand or crane – exert a more centralized and uniform pressure compared to rolling or sliding loads.

Each of these capacity types is accompanied by a listed lift capacity. Let’s examine this in greater detail.

Rolled on/off: Utilizing a wheeled vehicle or cart

When rolling a double-axle cart or pallet jack loaded evenly onto the lift, the load is evenly distributed as the first axle reaches the table top. Conversely, a single-axle load, such as a large roll on a hand truck, places the entire load in a concentrated spot directly on the lift. Additionally, a heavily loaded forklift, as encountered in dock lift applications, can significantly redistribute the load, ranging from 80 to 90% depending on the forklift’s counterweight. Dealing with rolled-on loads regularly, we understand their potential to challenge the lift and require meticulous consideration.

As long as we have advance knowledge of the vehicle’s weight, maximum load capacity, and the manner in which it will approach the lift, we can devise a solution that effectively manages the weight and point pressures.

Slide on/slide off: sheet feeding or conveyors

Sliding loads onto an open lift can cause significant stress on the structure, whether they are full loads directly onto the platform, full loads onto the conveyor, or partial loads such as sheets onto either surface.

Placed on/picked off: stacking or crane loading

Certain loading operations, such as manually stacking boxes in layers, exert minimal impact and do not induce any edge loading stress.

Vertical loading with a crane is not edge loading, but it can affect the lift if the load is placed roughly or with excessive speed. To maximize capacity loads, it is recommended to lower the load at a speed of no more than 17 feet per second to minimize platform impact. Speeds exceeding this may result in damage to cylinder packings, hoses, or the overall structure. It is ideal to maintain a slow and controlled rate of vertical impact.

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