Scissor Lift Table – Buying Guide

When choosing a scissor lift table, you need to consider these 5 items to prevent operator injuries and expensive downtime. I have been selling lift tables for years and these 5 key points are what I would consider a must know for any engineer or purchasing agent.

1. Who Makes The Lift Table

It amazes me as to the sheer number of lift tables that are available on the market! What amazes me even more is that the quality of some of these lifts are so poor. More and more of these lifts are coming from China and are designed not for performance, but for price points.

Action – Ask the lift manufacturer, or distributor, where the lift is built. If it is not built here in the states, then chances are you will end up with oil leaks, bad motors, weak welds, and inferior components! Remember, pay now or pay later.

2. Know Your Duty Cycle

If your application calls for a lift table that will cycle more than 20 times an hour then you will likely need a high duty cycle lift table. Standard lifts are only designed to cycle a few times an hour. Anything more than that can prematurely wear the lift table out.

Action – Let the manufacturer know how many cycles the lift will endure in a hour, day, year time frame. If you inform them that the lift will cycle 60 times an hour and they still suggest a standard duty cycle lift table, then talk to another manufacturer.

3. Center the Load

A lift table with an offset load is unsafe and also prematurely wears out the lift tables scissor joints and other components. Any load that is more than 30% offset from the lifts center should be a concern. Keep in mind this is a general rule. For very heavy weight capacities and for high duty cycle lifts, 30% can even be too much.

Action – Make it a point to properly center the load onto the lifter. If that is not possible, talk through your loading sequence with the manufacturer. They can make recommendations or worst case, red flag your application.

4. Safety First

Any lift table that will be used with human operators nearby, should be equipped with the proper safety components.

Action – Safety skirts should be purchased to protect scissor pinch points. If the lift is pit mounted, then it should be equipped with angled toe guards to prevent shear points. A power lockout device should also be used to maintenance the lift. These are often times call LOTO valves. I also recommend that all tables be anchored to the floor when possible.

5. Ergonomics

Lift tables are primarily used to improve ergonomics, so you need to give special consideration to how the operator will load and unload the material.

Action – Ideally you want the material to around 30″ to 42″ from the ground. This will keep it around the elbow height of 95% of the operators. If the material is flat sheets then a lift only can be used. If the material is in small boxes, then you should consider a lift and rotate. The rotate will prevent the operator from reaching across the pallet. If the material is in a bin and it is loaded with small pieces, then a lift and tilt should be considered. The tilting function will place the material closest the operator as it will slide to one side of the bin.

These are just a few of the items you need to consider when purchasing lift tables, and you should always consult with an expert if possible. The more information you can provide the manufacturer about your application, the more likely you are to end up with a quality table that your boss will be impressed with.