Scissor Lift Basics

When performing tasks requiring elevated height or specialist access, a scissor lift platform is often used to raise personnel and equipment to perform work at different elevations. A scissor lift platform can also act as a personnel lift in manufacturing assembly scenarios that precisely places a technician in the appropriate position to perform their work.

Scissor lift systems for assembly and manufacturing can also be incorporated to design an automated/autonomous guided vehicle or AGV to position products or components at varying heights as they move through the assembly process.

A scissor lift system can be fitted onto a manually guided vehicle or MGV. For example, an MGV guided by an operator through a plant or distribution center can move rolled steel from manufacturing to warehousing in the steel industry.

In some motor vehicle assembly plants, an automotive scissor lift is often incorporated into a manually or automatically guided vehicle to move the car body through the production line, raising and lowering the car body as it enters different work cells

Car Scissor Lift

A car scissor lift consists of two platforms parallel to one another. They are connected by legs that are in a pantograph or scissor pattern manner to provide lift. As they constrict, they raise the platform and lower the platform as they expand. Typically, a car scissor lift will have a relatively small footprint, so it is an ideal option if you're operating in a confined or limited space.

Hydraulic scissor lifts and electro-mechanical scissor lifts are most often used in the assembly and manufacturing industries. A hydraulic car lift operates under the Pascal principle of exerting weight on a definite volume of liquid. The liquid is the hydraulic fluid that moves the legs of the car scissor lift to initiate upward movement. Most lifts contain both electrical and mechanical parts. Typically, the electrical components provide power to drive the hydraulic pump and control and safety systems.

Lifting a vehicle is often necessary to enable mechanics to build, repair, or inspect during and after vehicle manufacture. Several types of car lifts or car elevators are available, such as parking lifts, four post lifts, two post lifts, and portable lifts.

Four Post Lifts

Four Post LiftFour post lifts have a rectangular set of four columns or posts supporting a ramp-like structure that allows a vehicle to be driven onto an elevating platform. Four post lifts are sturdy and suitable for both light and heavy automobiles. However, they have weight limits that may restrict some heavier vehicles for safety purposes. Always check the maximum load rating for a four post lift before raising and working underneath a vehicle.

Two Post Lifts

Two post lifts consist of two columns that can be freestanding or are connected at ground level or at the top of the post. Each post has two arms that can be moved independently of each other, with a support pad that can be placed under the vehicle on each side. Once in place, the vehicle can be lifted to the desired height. Two post lifts can be fixed or freestanding and can be hydraulic or electrically powered.

Portable Lifts

Image 4Portable scissor lifts often have wheels attached for smooth movement. These lifts are primarily designed for use with smaller vehicles of low mass and typically have a hydraulic mechanism at their base to initiate the lift. If you're looking for a cost-effective automotive scissor lift to operate in a confined space, this could be your best automotive scissor liftoption.

Parking Lifts

Parking lifts maximize space in workshops and garages by utilizing a vertical parking pattern. Parking lifts come in various configurations and capacities, ranging from two vehicles to heavy-duty setups that can stack ten cars or more.

Car scissor lifts come in many forms, the most robust being those that are securely attached to the base of the garage or workshop. These can support a wide range of vehicle weights during elevation.

If you're looking to purchase a car scissor lift for a lifting application outside of the capabilities of these automotive scissor lift designs, look for a manufacturer specializing in the custom design and building of scissor lift systems for the automotive industry, like Handling Speciality.

Automotive Scissor Lift

An automotive scissor lift offers the ability to elevate vehicles such as cars, motorcycles, trucks, etc., and enables workers to safely access hard-to-reach areas of a vehicle to provide a more ergonomic working position with clear access and visibility of the area they are working on.

Automotive scissor lifts are part of a larger automotive lifting device that includes mobile column lifts, mid rise scissor lifts, and 2 post and 4 post automotive service lifts.

Two post automotive lifts are ideal for lighter lift loads in limited space and low ceiling applications, while four post systems have higher lifting capacity, better stability, and versatility. Mobile column lifts provide good value when it comes to remote working and efficiency when moving around.

Safety and load ratings should be primary considerations when looking for an automotive scissor lift. Resist buying a cheap automotive scissor lift or one that is not manufactured by a reputable company specializing in the design and building of automotive lifts. Remember the importance of ensuring the maximum load the maximum height and that the lift can handle exceeds your requirements. Using these criteria will help you to select the best automotive scissor lift in your price range.

Car Scissor Lift - Types

 Car scissor lift systems are generally classified into the following categories:

Low, Mid, and High Rise Scissor Lift

A high rise car scissor lift is most suitable for workshops and showrooms with high ceilings or for outdoor use. Full rise scissor lifts allow workers plenty of access between the lift platforms to roll a transmission jack or an oil drain underneath the elevated vehicle.  A full rise scissor lift occupies around 25% less floor space than a two-post car lift.

The mid rise scissor lift is best suited for medium-scale environments, including some outdoor applications. Mid rise models can lift cars, vans, and light-duty trucks. They are ideal for muffler replacement, tire, wheel, and brake-related repairs, collision repair work, and preparing new vehicles.

A low rise scissor lift is ideal for smaller indoor spaces, including home garages. Low-rise lifts are often used in quick service work situations involving tires and brakes.

Portable, In-ground, and Floor Scissor Lift

Portable scissor lifts give technicians the mobility to work in remote locations and offer flexibility when moving around the workshop or showroom floor.

In-ground or pit-mounted scissor lifts are built into a workshop floor or are securely fixed for maximum safety and stability. This allows for precision lifting and positioning. Heavy-duty floor scissor lifts can be custom-engineered to lift thousands of tons vertically and come in many sizes and dimensions. These are designed and built to the specific requirements of a customer.

Car Scissor Lifts for Garages 

Car scissor lifts for home garage applications are generally portable and are not necessarily bolted down to the garage floor. This is an advantage if you don't want to make permanent alterations to your floor structure or rent a space, and your lease does not allow you to drill into the floor. The long ramps and low ground height of portable scissor lifts make them easy to drive over when moving and positioning vehicles for lifting. For lifting vehicles with low ground clearance, this is a plus point.

asian mechanic checking and torch tire in maintainance service center picture id1179996623

If you're looking for an entry point garage scissor lift for sale, the portable lift models offer the best value. Although they offer less elevation than mid rise and full rise lifts, a portable scissor lift is the easiest to fit in a home garage. These models take up the least amount of space but nonetheless offer plenty of work clearance for most applications.

A portable garage scissor lift is an excellent choice for auto shops that have limited space or require easy movement around a flat floor for vehicles and equipment. Portable garage scissor lifts reduce the risk of banging into fixed, above-ground lifting equipment as they do not have fixed posts and columns.

Buying the Best Automotive Scissor Lift for your Needs

Deciding on the best automotive scissor lift for your particular use case will depend on several factors;

  • The amount of available working space
  • The maximum lifting capacity required
  • The vehicle types and weight to be lifted
  • Budget available for the scissor lift

Productivity in your garage or auto shop is improved with a car scissor lift platform that meets your specific lifting needs. Understanding your operational requirements and the maximum load you want a scissor lift to support goes a long way in determining whether a standard scissor lift will best suit your application or if you should be considering an alternative. Using this information will enable you to select and purchase a cost-effective automotive scissor lift of high quality and high performance, with load handling specifications that exceed your user requirements.

Handling Specialty is a custom design and build firm specializing in scissor lift systems designed to fit a client's specific needs. Handling Specialty delivers on robust designs and heavy-duty engineering made to withstand harsh assembly, automotive, and manufacturing environments.  

Our engineering department comprises a talented, professional, and highly experienced workforce of mechanical engineers, electrical & controls engineers, hydraulic engineers, skilled designers, and advanced engineering specialists. Our team can efficiently develop solutions to unique scissor lift requirements and solve complex engineering challenges.

Handling Specialty designs and manufactures stand-alone mobile scissor lifts that can be pit-mounted or fixed to a workshop floor to increase safety and stability. Precision lifting and positioning are at the forefront of what our scissor lifts do in support of assembling a product or performing routine maintenance operations. Platform space for workers, materials, and tools is another way to satisfy our customer's needs for efficient car scissor lift system designs.

Handling Specialty does not design or manufacture manual scissor lifts or facilitate scissor lift rentals. We manufacture a range of lifting solutions. If you're in the market for a custom-tailored car scissor lift for sale, get in touch with us.

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