Lift tables play an important role in enhancing productivity and safety in a wide range of industries. Simply raising a pallet of boxes or large pieces of equipment to a height into an ergonomically friendly position reduces strain and the risk of musculoskeletal injuries that often occur when workers repetitively lift or maneuver heavy loads on the job. During WWII, for example, lift tables were used to raise missiles safely into bombers. 

But choosing the right lift table for your factory floor or business isn’t an easy task. There are mechanical lift tables, manual lift tables, electrified or battery versions, and even fully customized lift tables that are built to suit a specific function. All told, there are thousands of sizes and configurations to choose from. So, how do you choose the right one? 

Here’s what you should consider when choosing a lift table:

What Are You Lifting? 

This is the natural starting place, as the task will determine the size, load factor, and lifting mechanism that will be best for the job. Some common tasks where lift tables are used include: 

  • Lifting vehicles or at docking facilities 
  • Increase accessibility in homes and businesses 
  • Position loads for ergonomic handling 
  • Feeding materials into processing machinery
  • Handling pallets 
  • Moving furniture and other equipment 

As such, lift tables find a place in a host of industrial applications. Broadly speaking, you’ll want to know the weight, dimensions (to size the lift platform), and any other unique characteristics of the loads you’ll be lifting. Standard lift tables can handle anywhere from 1,000- to 6,000-pound loads, but that can be customized. You’ll also want to note if you’ll be lifting food products, flammable or explosive material, or other loads that may require special considerations. 

How Will The Lift Table be Used? 

Will you be raising and lowering a load repetitively? Are you feeding material into another step of the manufacturing process? The daily operation of the lift table is an important consideration, as some designs are better suited for repeated lifting cycles whereas others are better for feeding material into a processor, for example. If the lift table is repeatedly raised and lowered through the course of a typical day (more than once every four minutes or so), consider a high-cycle lift table package to extend the life of the hydraulic cylinders. 

It’s also important to anticipate how high you’ll need to lift the load. This is known, in industry parlance, as the lift table’s stroke. Similar to capacity, you’ll want a lift table that’s specified just above the lift table’s anticipated reach. In most standard models, the fully lowered height is just under three feet. If you need to go lower, you may need a pit-mounted solution.

If you’re using the lift table for food or pharmaceutical applications, you may need to use stainless steel materials and hydraulic oils, and mechanical systems. Similarly, there are special design considerations if the lift table will be used in refrigerated facilities. Lastly, if your lift table will require a mounted conveyor system, a no-drift or no-cost package might be necessary to ensure the lift table remains aligned with exit conveyors.

Putting It All Together: Lift Table Options From Lange Lift

Manual lift tables: These are a good fit in almost any industrial environment, particularly if your application requires constant raising and lowering (or cycles). Lange Lift offers electric, battery, and air-powered lift tables to help reduce repetitive motion and increase productivity.

Electric lift tables: Are best suited for stationary ­applications where raising and lowering speeds are the primary objective. Rather than manually pumping the lift table, a user simply presses footswitches for quick, ­ergonomic performance. 

Battery lift tables: Are ideal for mobile ­applications. No plugs or hoses are required for use, and handheld ­controls allow for quiet, quick, and effortless operation ­anywhere. 

Air lift tables: Perfect for use in combustible environments, such as spray booths, where electrical currents are prohibited. An onboard air valve raises and lowers the table with the tilt of your foot. 

Custom lift tables: Applications don’t always have an off-the-shelf solution. Whether it’s a slight modification of a standard hydraulic lift table or a unique design, Lang-Lift experts can tailor solutions to your needs. Here are a few examples from past custom projects. 

Contact the Lift Table Experts Today

Lange Lift professionals have decades of experience focusing on this narrow, but critical, facet of industrial operations. Lift tables play a critical role in the efficiency and safety of your operations. Our experts have seen it all, and with the right information about your job, the Lange Lift team can help you find the right solution. Contact us today if you have any questions about choosing a lift table and to get started!