How Do Scissor Lift Tables Work?

Scissor Lift Tables play a critical role in thousands of workplaces by ergonomically positioning loads where workers can reach them comfortably. That’s an important task in warehousing, logistics, and other industries, since proper ergonomics keeps workers safe while maximizing throughput. A quality Lift Table can substantially improve productivity, making it an excellent investment.

However, while scissor Lift Tables have similar designs, some are better suited to certain types of work. Understanding the basics of how they function — and how different components come together — can make the purchasing process much easier.

Looking for work-positioning equipment built for industrial environments? Lift Tables from BHS can help. Find the collection here.

Hydraulic Scissor Lift Tables: The Basics

Industrial scissor Lift Tables are typically powered by hydraulic cylinders. Some Lift Tables use non-hydraulic technologies, but hydraulics are preferable in industrial settings because they offer a higher lifting capacity and a faster lift speed than pneumatic and mechanical alternatives (see our article comparing different Lift Table technologies for more information).

Hydraulic cylinders consist of a steel tube, a piston with a rod attached, and a highly pressurized fluid. When force is applied to one end of the cylinder, the fluid is displaced, which moves the piston, extends the rod, and pushes the scissor legs apart, lifting the load. Thanks to a law of physics called Pascal’s principle, any pressure on the fluid is equally distributed. The fluid is responsible for holding the load, but the quality of the other components is crucial, since damaged scissor legs or an unsteady base could create a point of failure.

Depending on the application, the components of a scissor lift may vary greatly in quality and construction. To put that another way: While scissor Lift Tables follow the same basic design, operations may choose to customize them to position loads more effectively, to accommodate large loads, or to improve functionality in a certain type of workspace.

The basic components include:

  • Platform - The top table of the scissor lift. The size and shape of the platform varies from model to model, but the platform holds the load.
    Some models can be equipped with ball transfers, roller conveyors, or rotating tabletops, which can improve efficiency when loading or unloading. Other platforms remain stationary to keep the load from moving out of position (in automotive applications, for instance, a stationary platform may be preferable). BHS offers Lift Tables with a range of platform options to meet different needs.
  • Base - The bottom structure of the lift. The base holds the track that allows the scissor legs to travel.
  • Scissor Legs - The legs move the load in response to the action of the hydraulic cylinders. The legs are the only piece of the Lift Table that moves mechanically, so quality of construction is important.
  • Hydraulic Cylinders - High-pressure, fluid filled canisters connected to the scissor legs that allow the lift to raise or lower. Most Lift Tables use one to four cylinders.

Scissor Lift Tables are also equipped with various valves to control the flow of the hydraulic fluid. To lower the lift, a down valve is opened to allow the fluid back to its original space, which causes the platform to descend. The lowering speed is controlled by a flow control valve, which regulates how quickly the fluid moves back into its original space. This valve is typically set so the table down speed matches the lifting speed.

The lift and lower valves are solenoid controlled allowing the operator to precisely control the raising and descent. The valves close automatically and prevent the platform from lowering in case of a power outage. High-quality Lift Tables from BHS also feature velocity fuses and thermal overload protection to provide additional assurance.

Finally, all Lift Tables have a set of controls that the operator uses to control the lifting action. In industrial settings, most Lift Tables use foot controls for easier access.

Finding the Right Scissor Lift Table for Your Application

Scissor lifts can dramatically improve work positioning, allowing for greater throughput and better ergonomics. To find the right solution for your operation, consider the following factors:

  • Durability - As discussed earlier, a Lift Table’s hydraulic cylinders do the heavy lifting — literally — but all components need to be designed to allow the hydraulics to do their work safely and efficiently. Look for Lift Tables made with heavy-duty formed steel.High Cycle warehouses should choose tables designed for constant use. BHS offers High Cycle Lift Tables rated for 200,000+ cycles per year.
  • Cylinder Protection - Hydraulic circuits should be closed, as open designs can create safety hazards. BHS Lift Tables feature a closed circuit and an optional accordion skirt guard to protect the lift mechanism from dirt and foreign objects.
  • Tabletop Type - By selecting a tabletop that addresses the needs of a specific task, operations can create ergonomic workstations that ensure efficiency. BHS Lift Tables are available with ball transfers, loading ramps, roller conveyors, and turntables to meet the needs of various applications.
  • Mobility - Ensure that your Lift Table is appropriate for your workplace. Most operations use stationary Lift Tables to set up permanent workstations, but mobile options are available. BHS Lift Tables are available with a permanently fixed self-propelled DC powerhead, which allows operators to move the unit to different locations as needed.

For smaller loads, BHS Mobile Lift Tables are an excellent alternative. Capable of lifting up to 1,200 pounds, Mobile Lift Tables are available in manual, powered, and self-leveling models. All options meet ANSI Standard MH29.1:2012 for Industrial Scissor Lifts and comply with ANSI’s LMPS (Lift Manufacturers Product Section).

Improving Productivity with Scissor Lift Tables from BHS

BHS Lift Tables allow your operation to improve productivity while keeping workers safe. Optional platform surfaces improve throughput when loading, unloading, packing, or handling other time-consuming tasks, ensuring a long-term return on investment. With ergonomic-focused engineering and heavy-duty formed steel construction, all of our Lift Tables are designed to play a permanent role in your operation’s workflow.

Struggling to find a Lift Table that matches your unique application? Contact BHS to discuss optional features, tabletop attachments, and custom designs.