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What is a Scissor Lift?

Scissor Lifts are one of the most commonly used aerial work platforms and can by used on many types of jobs. A Scissor Lift is a movable working platform designed specifically for lifting personnel along with any tools, equipment, and supplies they may need (provided they are within the lift’s capacity.) The platform is mounted on top of crisscrossing metal supports that elongate as the platform is raised. The sturdy platform which is surrounded by a railing and the safety harness or cable provide a safe working environment when properly used.

When to Use a Scissor Lift?

Electric Scissor Lift

​While electric scissors lifts are incredibly versatile, they are the most useful in specific job situations. Electric Scissor lifts are designed to operate on level concrete surfaces. They are sometimes referred to as on slab lifts meaning they operate best on finished hard surfaces. Electric Scissor Lifts usually runs on a battery. It won’t emit any fumes that would cause problems in a tight or enclosed area.

Medium and Rough Terrain Scissor Lifts

Medium and Rough Terrain Scissor lifts can be powered off-slab and are equipped with four-wheel drive. Medium Terrain Scissor Lifts are suitable for 35% gradeability while Rough Terrain Scissor Lifts can operate in 45% gradeability. Medium and Rough Terrain Scissor Lifts also have larger aerial work platforms than Electric Scissor Lifts. Usually medium and rough terrain scissor lifts can be powered by gas or LP.

​Scissor Lift Uses:

Scissor Lifts can be used for building maintenance, warehousing, etc. The following is a list of examples of uses for scissor lifts:

  1. Building maintenance: Some aspects of building maintenance require working high in the air, such as changing lights, hanging banners, laying bricks, pouring concrete, changing signs, accessing utilities and many other tasks. Scissor lifts are a popular choice inside buildings since they help workers accomplish tasks safely. Plus, they are mobile and can be independently moved from one area of a building to another. These applications are typically done by:
    • Churches
    • Libraries
    • Schools
    • Hospitals
  2. Construction: Scissor lifts provide a mobile, versatile solution for dynamic construction projects that may have frequently changing environments. This makes scissor lifts beneficial for:
    • Renovation Contracting
    • General contracting
    • Ceiling Installation
    • Painting
    • Hanging Lighting
    • Plumping installation
    • Installation of fire suppression sprinklers
    • Drywall installation and finishing
    • Electrical system installation and updates
    • Installation of security systems and cameras
    • Brick-laying
  3. Retail: From the big-name stores to smaller operations, many retailers find themselves relying on scissor lifts. Store and warehouse shelves are tall, and product is stacked up to save space. Scissor lifts can respond to the changing needs and products.
  4. Warehousing: When storage is the name of the game, every vertical and horizontal inch of space must be used efficiently. Investing in a scissor lift for warehouses can open new areas for use or expedite the retrieval process. Similar uses exist in:
    • Property management
    • Landscaping
    • Transportation management
  5. Photography and Videography: Electric Scissor Lifts can help photographers and videographers capture fixed aerial shots. They can also be used for hanging lighting and sound equipment.

​Things to Consider when Selecting a Scissor Lift

Matching the right Scissor Lift to the project is not only a matter of logistics but also efficiency and safety. There are several considerations that should be considered when finding the right Scissor Lift for the job:

  1. Will the Lift be used indoors or outdoors?
  2. What type of Terrain will the Scissor Lift be operated?
  3. What are the minimum and maximum working heights it will need to reach?
  4. How heavy of a load will it need to lift?
  5. What is the clearance in the aisles, doorways, or other work spaces where the lift will be operated?

​Working Height
Understand the working height. Know how high the lift can safely raise the platform and remain stable. Since manufacturers make lifts in different heights, make sure you know what your requirements are.

Lift Capacity
Know and understand what exactly you need to lift. It’s not only the platform and workers. You may need to lift materials and heavy tools as well. Also make sure that all materials, including the operator, meet lift capacities.

​Engine Types
Electrically driven and diesel-powered lifts exist. The electric type offers quieter operation and extended battery life. However, it sacrifices a bit in power. This type is good for working indoors. Diesel-powered lifts are more powerful, but they carry fuel emissions and are louder. They’re better suited for working with heavy loads outdoors.

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