Pneumatic and hydraulic systems use fluid power to increase pressure and move mechanical parts in machinery. While pneumatic systems use compressible air or pure gas to achieve their function, hydraulic systems use compressible liquid, such as oil. Commonly seen in lifts and other handling equipment, pneumatic and hydraulic systems offer many advantages, making them ideal for a wide range of applications.
Hydraulic Vs. Pneumatic Lifts
Lifts refer to equipment used to raise or lower objects, such as people, cargo, heavy machinery, and more. In order to produce the upward pushing force necessary to move objects, lifts utilize a range of actuating mechanisms and components. The two most common actuator types include hydraulic and pneumatic.
Hydraulic lifts utilize a lifting mechanism that compresses a liquid, such as oil, to increase pressure within the cylinder, generating the linear motion that is needed to raise and lower the platform and object. Capable of producing more than 25x the force of pneumatic lifting systems, hydraulic lifts can tolerate very heavy loads. Hydraulic lifting mechanisms can also hold torque and force at a constant level without continuous fluid flow, unlike their pneumatic counterparts.
One primary concern of hydraulic lifts is their environmental impact. Since these mechanisms use hydraulic fluid, they can be damaging to the environment in the event of a leak. Additionally, hydraulic lifts tend to take up more space due to having several components and parts, meaning they are best for applications where space isn’t a primary concern.
The lifting mechanism within a pneumatic lift utilizes a hollow cylinder and piston. Through the use of an external motor or pump, the piston moves within the cylinder to increase air pressure, allowing the cylinder to move and create enough linear force to extend the lift components.
One primary advantage of pneumatic lifts is their versatility. Since most pneumatic lifts don’t require electricity, they are suited for a variety of applications, including those exposed to extreme temperatures and other environmental conditions. Pneumatic systems are also very accurate, capable of generating extreme force, and less expensive than hydraulic systems.
However, pneumatic lifts must maintain operating pressure during use, making them less efficient and more costly to run than other lift types. Also, pneumatic actuators are normally sized for specific applications, limiting them to the needs of that application’s specifications and requirements.
Applications for Hydraulic and Pneumatic Systems
While both hydraulic and pneumatic systems are powerful lifting tools, they are each suited to their own applications.
Hydraulic lifts are incredibly powerful and offer superior strength and capacity, making them ideal for the following applications:
Dump Truck Lift
Excavating arms for diggers
Wing Flaps on Aircraft
Pneumatic actuators can be matched precisely to the power needs of each given application. They also don’t pose an environmental hazard because they use air instead of oil. Having the ability to absorb some amounts of shock, they are ideal for automotive and other sensitive applications. Some of the most common applications include:
Air brakes used by buses, trucks, and trains
Compressed-air engines and vehicles
Conveyor systems in the pharmaceutical and food industries
Explosion-proof work areas
Manufacturing and assembly lines
Precision drills used by dentists
Pressure sensors, switches, and pumps
Vacuum cups for sheet lifting
Hydraulic and Pneumatic Systems From Unidex
Hydraulic and pneumatic systems work differently to lift objects, and they each offer their own unique advantages. At Unidex, we specialize in providing standard and custom material handling manipulators, lifts, and work positioners to meet the needs of any application. To learn more about our hydraulic and pneumatic lifting tools and how we can improve your production process, contact us today.
In the industrial and commercial sectors, the term “hydraulic lifts” refers to devices that rely on hydraulic pressure to raise or lower personnel and products. They generally feature a cylinder and piston assembly—which extends or contracts depending on the hydraulic pressure—and a platform—upon which the load sits. In addition to being available in a wide range of standard models, they can be customized to meet the requirements of specific applications.
Below we provide an overview of the types of hydraulic lifts available, including their unique features, advantages, and use cases.
Types of Hydraulic Lifting Machines
Hydraulic lifts come in several variations. At Unidex, we offer the following types:
Our hydraulic lift tables are highly customizable, allowing users to make modifications to meet their needs. They have a standard load capacity of up to 500 pounds and lift stroke of 16 inches with standard height capabilities for between 28 inches to 44 inches. Typical applications include automobile servicing and industrial assembly transport carts.
Our portable hydraulic lifts are lightweight, stable, and easy to operate. They have a standard load capacity of up to 250 pounds and can lift loads to a maximum elevation of 48 inches from the floor. These lifting devices accommodate the integration of fixture or tool holders, allowing for assembly or inspection of cantilevered parts. Typical applications include component assembly and transfer, machine feeding, mobile staging, and work positioning.
Our portable electric/hydraulic lift carts offer optimal durability, flexibility, and safety for production operations. They feature 12 volt DC power units, options for light-duty, standard-duty, shaft handling, and telescopic variations, and compatibility with a wide range of end tools (e.g., forks, platforms, grippers, and rotators). Typical applications include product assembly and material loading and unloading.
Our electric/hydraulic pallet lifts are designed for heavy-duty tasks, offering a standard load capacity of 2,000 pounds and a lift stroke of 36 inches. They feature a bolt down design open on three sides that facilitates loading and unloading pallets but also accommodates a variety of end components. Typical applications include product transferring on assembly lines and work positioning.
Our electric/hydraulic positioners are compact but powerful lifting devices suitable for raising, lowering, and rotating workpieces in fabrication, welding, and assembly operations. They offer standard load capacities of up to 500, 2000, or 6000 pounds and a lift stroke of 60 inches. Typical applications include large and heavy component manufacturing.
Our 120 VAC electric/hydraulic workbench lifts are designed for use with heavy loads of up to 500 pounds. They feature a 30-inch by 60-inch worksurface that raises and lowers to the proper working height (between 27 inches and 45 inches) at the touch of a button. Casters can also be integrated for easier positioning. Typical applications include food processing and pharmaceutical production, and general assembly for all industries.
Electric Hydraulic Person Lifts (EHWP)
Our electric/hydraulic person lifts are designed for raising and lowering personnel to the desired work height. They are self-supporting and can draw power from any standard 120 VAC outlet. Typical applications include assembly and inspection operations.
Standard and Custom Lifting Solutions From Unidex
Hydraulic lifts play a critical role in countless industrial and commercial applications. However, ensuring lifting operations proceed safely necessitates choosing the right lifting device for your facility. For selection assistance, turn to the experts at Unidex.
At Unidex, we have extensive experience providing material handling equipment to customers across a diverse set of industries. In addition to our standard hydraulic lifts, we offer customized solutions to end-users with highly specific or unique requirements. To learn more about our lifting products and services, contact us today.
How EH Positioning Systems Power the Aerospace Industry
Every industry is feeling the crunch to be more efficient, but perhaps none are more stringent than the aerospace sector. Aerospace companies need to be able to easily access and store thousand of unique parts, each type with wildly different dimensions and storage condition demands.
Static storage and pick shelving are basic solutions, but they take up a lot of space. More complex systems like AS/RS systems, carousels, and gravity flow picking racks are more efficient. Aerospace facilities need material handling and storage solutions that can enable the movement of heavy and high-frequency parts while also being able to handle a wide variety of sizes for tubing, plates, sheet metal, and channels.
Advantages for Improved Efficiency and Productivity
Investing in better equipment handling systems doesn’t just save companies on square footage. Smart solutions also reduce the risk of workplace injuries by automating many lifting and handling tasks. These systems include material handling equipment, portable lifts, and any other equipment used to lift or move materials and inventory.
With more advanced material handling solutions in place, personnel can easily access vertical and lateral storage spaces and use machinery to move the actual equipment to its destination. Reducing workplace accidents increases employee productivity, reduces turnover, and also reduces the costs of paying for medical fees and temporary staff. It also lets people work faster throughout the entire day.
Adding positioning tools to the system further increases its efficiency. These solutions allow workers to rotate airplane subassemblies, move them, and easily assemble or inspect the parts.
Three key benefits of positioning systems specifically include:
Consistent quality. Automated positioning machinery enables accurate, precise, and consistent movements. This ensures that the resulting assemblies and product placements are also accurate.
Increased efficiency. With automated equipment, setup and positioning are faster. It also requires fewer trips to storage shelves to gather all of the necessary components for each assembly. EH systems create even more efficiency because they reduce the amount of direct labor per assembly.
Work flexibility. Smart automated equipment can be trained and retrained on more than one task. It requires less lead time between function changes and can handle more discrete projects or assemblies.
The aerospace industry has unique demands that must be considered when sourcing material handling and lifting equipment. These demands include the size of very large and heavy aircraft components, the weight of assembled parts like jet engines, and the complexity of electronic configurations. Some of the most common applications of specialized EH positioning systems include:
Equipment to carry jet engines from storage to test cells, such as high-travel lifts and heavy-duty ram lifts
Lifting, inspecting, and working on large components
Lifts that provide cantilevered work platforms along fuselages
Lightweight lifts for manual positioning
Platform lifts to position jet engines in recessed pits for inspections and work
Portable hydraulic lifts that give workers access to various vertical points along jet fuselages
Portable hydraulic tables to carry satellites between storage and launch sites
Custom Aerospace Solutions from Unidex
EH positioning systems give personnel in aerospace facilities greater positioning and flexibility to handle complex assembly tasks. These systems can help workers operate on and near heavy and large machinery with reduced risks for injury. They also allow facilities to run more efficiently, have faster tool setup, and have more high-quality, precise arrangements.
Unidex specializes in providing material handling systems and equipment for manufacturers in a variety of challenging industries across North America. Since 1989, our company has concentrated on creating customized material handling solutions that meet unique challenges. We prioritize an engineer-to-order system that gives companies design options, custom features, and unique material handling functions that best fit the intended application.
Contact us today to learn more about our material handling systems and positioning systems for aerospace industries.
Electric hydraulic (EH) positioners use electric hydraulic pumps and cylinders to create safe and efficient ergonomic lifting processes. One of the most significant benefits provided by EH positioners over alternative devices is the ability to lift and rotate large components or materials. This one capability can widen a facility’s manufacturing capabilities.
Other benefits include greater durability for equipment, flexibility and versatility in general lifting processes, and greater safety for workers at and around the workstation.
The Advantages of Electric-Hydraulic Power
EH positioners offer a range of advantages, such as:
Every workplace needs to consider ergonomics and safe handling when considering new equipment for their facilities. Correctly applied ergonomic choices can reduce the number of injuries, repetitive stress injuries, and potential liabilities.
Creating a more comfortable work environment for employees also boosts employee morale, productivity, and length of employment terms. Ergonomic EH positioners allow employees to operate heavy duty machinery and complete tasks in more comfortable and healthy positions.
Safety is equally as important as ergonomics, if not more.
Unidex’s ergonomic EH positioners can be customized to fit certain tasks. This customization improves task completion times for a greater overall rate of efficiency. EH positioners also fit in constricted areas, so more units can safely share a limited work floor.
The system that’s implemented at the beginning of construction can be customized to meet both functional requirements and simplicity requirements.
The ergonomic aspect of EH positioners also leads to increased efficiency. Operators are more comfortable and less likely to experience repetition-related or equipment-related injuries, so the regular pace of completing work will face fewer interruptions.
Dual EH positioners may be used together to create a positioning system with multiple set controls and actions. They can share a single hydraulic pump so each station can handle multiple routine actions. EH positioners feature a full range of motion—they can rotate 360° to lift or rotate complete workstations. They also feature high loads and the positioner itself has welded steel components that facilitate a long service life.
Custom Equipment for Versatile Applications
Operators can use EH positioners in a variety of industries and for multiple applications, though they’re typically reserved for heavy duty tasks. Some common applications include:
Lifting dump truck wheel rims
Manipulating the orientation of aircraft components for assembly
Material handling on shop and sales floors
Moving loads and empty skids in a warehouse
Rotating, powering, lifting, and spinning jet engines for repairing, assembly, and inspection
EH positioners can be used in any industry or facility where workers need to transport, lift, or manipulate heavy loads.
Request Your Ergonomic Solution Today
EH positioners are ideal solutions for material handling applications across a variety of industries. Operators can move heavy objects or workpieces while reducing or eliminating the risk of repetitive stress injuries and accidents.
Unidex Inc. is a leading builder and supplier of electric hydraulic positioners and other rotating and lifting tools. We specialize in developing and manufacturing material handling solutions, including:
Heavy duty workstations
Adjustable work positioners
Unidex’s EH Single Column design incorporates linear rails and pillow blocks (as seen on many 3, 4, and 5-axis machines). It also uses gear motors and large geared radial bearings to rotate heavy loads to fit our customer’s needs. There are many safety features included on the EH.
Our team of experts can help you select and customize the right material handling equipment for your facilities and work needs. Contact us today to learn more about our positioners or other material handling equipment.
Unidex Inc. 2416 State Route 19N, Warsaw, NY 14569