A Guide To Lift Tables
Lift tables provide a simple, portable, and effective solution to handling heavy loads can be among the most strenuous tasks faced by manufacturing and material handling employees, demanding both strength and precision to effectively move components for processing. Some components are too big or bulky to move with manual labor, and some can be moved only with substantial effort, which puts employees at risk of both acute and overuse injuries.
Using powerful hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders, lift tables safely raise and lower components weighing hundreds or even thousands of pounds. In doing so, these tables streamline the material handling process while protecting employees from overexertion and injury.
As a leading supplier of ergonomic lifting solutions, Unidex offers a range of light-duty, standard-duty, and heavy-duty lifting tables to accommodate all common industrial applications.
Different Types of Lift Tables
The various types of lift tables share the same general components, such as a lifting mechanism and a flat tabletop surface; however, each type differs in its manner of operation. Types of lift tables include:
- Hydraulic Lift Tables. The most popular and cost-effective industrial lift tables are hydraulic tables, which are actuated by one or more hydraulic cylinders. These tables often employ scissor legs to raise and lower the platform, though the platform may also travel along a vertical path. The key benefit of hydraulic lift tables is their strength. Compared to pneumatic lift mechanisms, hydraulics can lift far heavier loads, though they typically require a power supply to do so.
- Pneumatic Lift Tables. Pneumatic lifts use hollow pneumatic cylinders as actuators rather than hydraulics, meaning that the lifting power comes from compressing air rather than a fluid. The advantage of this mechanism is its versatility. Pneumatic cylinders do not contain flammable or toxic fluid, so they can be used in almost any environment without safety concerns. They can also be used without power, in many cases.
- Scissor Lifts. Although hydraulic and pneumatic lift tables may use scissor legs to raise and lower the surface, a scissor lift usually refers to a specific kind of self-leveling table that uses scissor legs and springs to maintain an ergonomic loading position. These lifts automatically adjust to dynamic loads, and they do not require a power source, making them easy to incorporate into any material handling workflow.
There are many types of lifts and pulleys available for any given job, but lift tables offer a number of key advantages over these, including:
- Enhance Safety and Reduce Injuries. Easy to use, and their adoption immediately increases workplace safety. A well-positioned lift table minimizes the need for heavy lifting or reaching for overhead components, actions that are known to cause many workplace injuries. These actions are especially problematic when performed while fatigued, as many workers may be at the end of a shift, highlighting the importance of lifts in injury prevention.
- Simplicity. Hydraulic and pneumatic lifts are typically operated with an intuitive lever system for easy raising and lowering, and self-leveling tables require virtually no adjustments. Facilities can incorporate lift tables with minimal extra training and minimal interruption to existing workflows. Also, unlike more involved lifting machinery, lift tables don’t slow operators down, so there’s no cost to efficiency.
- Enhanced Productivity. Can lift heavier loads than a human being, and they can lift manageable loads faster than a manual team could. The result is a faster and cheaper production process.
- Durability. Sturdy and simple devices with few mechanical components. When used appropriately, they require virtually no costly maintenance, even when used in harsh industrial environments.
- Compact and Mobile. Lift tables are small and take up a minimal footprint once installed. Not only does this make them accessible to smaller facilities, but it also reduces transportation costs and makes it easy to move lifts around to repurpose them. When not in use, most scissor-style lifts can be folded for easy storage.
- Even Lifting. Scissor legs naturally distribute weight, balancing a load as it moves up or down. This helps reduce wear on the lift components while also reducing the risk of dropping objects.
- Versatile. As discussed above, table lifts are available with multiple lifting mechanisms and in a wide variety of sizes and capacities. Whatever your specifications and budget, you are almost certain to find a table lift that fits your needs.
Industries That Utilize Lift Tables
Any industry that manufactures, repairs, or processes heavy materials can benefit from lift tables. Common industries include:
- Foundry. Lift tables are used to move heavy raw metal and cast components.
- Plastics. Lift tables are used in manufacturing and maintaining molding equipment, including injection mold machinery, as well as for moving large volumes of plastic components.
- Railroad. Rails, train cars, maintenance equipment, and cargo are all heavy and challenging to transport. Lift tables may help rail facilities quickly move these components for use or repair.
- Food. Food and beverage processing plants use lift tables to manage heavy equipment and to load heavy shipments after production.
- Aerospace. Like the rail industry, the aerospace industry relies on many heavy components that can be challenging or impossible to transport by hand. Lift tables facilitate the positioning and loading of aircraft parts during manufacturing, maintenance, and certain day-to-day operations.
- Metal Processing and Material Handling. The metal processing and material handling industries make extensive use of lifting and positioning equipment to expedite the movement of heavy raw materials and finished products.
- Recreational Vehicles. Heavy-duty table lifts offer an easy mechanism for lifting recreational vehicles for storage, finishing, or maintenance.
- Automotive. Heavy-duty table lifts assist auto manufacturers and mechanics in preparing and servicing vehicles.
- Paper. Paper manufacturers, printers, and packagers all use table lifts to help position and transport heavy reams of paper.
- Manufacturing. Table lifts are a staple of manufacturing, used in plants of all types to help employees manage loads quickly and safely.
- Electronics. The electronics industry uses table lifts with Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) to efficiently move large electronics without damaging sensitive circuitry.
Whatever your industry, Unidex offers a table lift that can maximize your productivity at minimal expense.
Ergonomic Lift Table Solutions by Unidex
Unidex has led the lifting and rotating industry for decades, partnering with clients to develop ergonomic solutions that protect employees and speed processing. We offer light, standard, and heavy-duty table lifts with different lifting, tilting, and rotating mechanisms to suit our client’s diverse needs. To learn more about how a Unidex table lift can fit seamlessly into your existing workflow, contact our engineering team today.