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  • Travis Wright

6 Things to Consider When Buying Scissor Lift Tables

Scissor lifts are an extremely common lift system in the industry today. As a versatile lift table, scissor lifts are meant to work in small spaces and are often used (with harnesses and/or guard rails) to lift workers who need to be able to access high spaces. But there are some distinct features to consider when purchasing your new scissor lift to ensure you get the best one for your needs.

We know it's not easy to compare industrial lift tables at first glance. Multiple options may seem to fit your requirements. But by going through this guide, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision.

1. Lift Capacity

The first thing you’ll need to consider when choosing which scissor lift to purchase is what you’ll actually be handling with the lift and what capacity you’ll need – what is the goal of the project?

Are you handling boxes, tires, steel drums, rolls of paper, or something else? You’ll need to establish if your load will be consistent or if you’ll need to be able to accommodate multiple types of products using the lift. No matter what you’re handling, it’s important to know the total weight of the products being handled before you make your decision.

Standard scissor lift tables generally have the capacity to lift 1,000 to 6,000 lbs. But remember: the weight of the product you’re lifting must be able to be as evenly distributed as possible. You should not be handling loads that place a significant amount of weight on any one side or end of the lift table.

2. Table Size

There are two general options available in terms of scissor lift table platform sizes: standard or oversized. Some standard size options can be as small as 20 by 36 inches. An oversized option can be much larger. For example, Handling Concepts offers lift tables with platforms up to 72 by 144 inches. But you need to keep in mind that the overall capacity will be lowered with oversized platforms. For every inch that a platform is wider than the minimum or longer than the minimum, the loading capacity will be reduced or “de-rated” by 2 percent.

3. Safety Features

You should always consider your safety needs upfront when ordering your scissor lift. The following are some specific features you can add to your light or heavy-duty lift tables and the safety benefits of having them:

  • Detents. A detent is a catch that prevents further motion until released. A lot of companies require locking 90- or 180-degree detents on turntables.

  • Toe Guards. Very common in pit-mounted applications, you have the option of adding toe sensors or a beveled toe guard when purchasing your new scissor lift.

  • Lifting Eyes. This feature allows technicians to safely lift the platform with the use of an industrial crane or fork truck. Besides being extremely helpful, these can also save a lot of time in the long run.

  • Accordion Skirting. Now required by many companies in various industries, this visual barrier helps operators keep limbs clear of any scissor mechanisms.

  • Alarm or Flashing Light. Do you need an audible alarm or flashing light when the scissor lift is in motion? Many industries now require one or both due to newer safety protocols.

  • Anti-Skid Finish. When operators are working from a platform, especially in greasy or oily environments, this is a common feature added to scissor lifts to minimize the risk of slippage.

  • Guard Rails. If employees will be standing on the scissor lift platform, guard rails are a must.

4. Lift Height

You'll most likely need your scissor lift to raise or lower objects to specifically known heights. If so, you’ll need to look at the fully lowered height and the maximum raised the height of the lift table and determine what height you’ll need. A pit-mounted solution may be necessary if your application requires a fully lowered height of fewer than 2.9 inches.

5. Special Requirements

Sometimes various industries require special features. Depending on what you’re handling on a day-to-day basis, you may require food-grade hydraulic fluid, stainless steel, or even explosion-proof motors. While these aren’t uncommon requirements, they are features that need to be specified during the product selection phase.

6. Operating Schedule

How often will you be operating your new scissor lift and what is your floor schedule like? These are vital considerations that need to be taken into account. If you plan on utilizing your lift a lot throughout the day or fully lifting and lowering a load more than once every four minutes, it may make sense to upgrade to a high-cycle model.

Handling Concepts has a wide variety of Southworth lift tilt table options to choose from, as well as heavy-duty lift tables and drum handling equipment for all your handling needs. Have a question or need more information? Let our material handling experts help you find a quality lift table that will accommodate your task and budget.


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