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We are all familiar with machinery such as cranes and hoists used to lift and transport heavy objects on a line. Mechanical ladders and man lifts belong to the same family and only differ slightly in their function. Instead of lifting objects, it is used to transport workers and allow access to the inaccessible areas. They are generally mounted on a vehicle and have steps or platforms. Handholds added on either side increase safety further.
Man lifts have increased convenience in the construction industry as well as in firefighting missions as they fulfill the need for a temporary lift at the cost that is only a fraction of the cost of building a permanent solution.
Types of Man Lifts
The two most common designs include the following
Boom Lifts: A boom lift has an extended arm with joints along it and bucket at its end. The joints in the arm allow for greater mobility and the platform to be adjusted to varied heights. The ability to move it in different directions also allows easy access into the narrowest spaces. The boom lift is a common sighting at fire stations.
Scissor Lifts: The Scissor lift is a type of boom lift. It gets its name from its look. It has folding supports arranged in a crisscross pattern. This aerial lift only extends vertically. However, they have a higher capacity between 500-2500 pounds. It can be used to transport multiple persons at a time. The system powering a scissor lift is either a mechanical or hydraulic lift.
Electrically Insulated Lifts – The third type of man lift is not so much a distinction in design as it is in its construction. It is made using electrically insulated components such as non-conductive hydraulic hoses, fiberglass insulated booms and buckets and fiber optic control cables. Given this special feature, this type is used in areas that are prone to electrocution hazards.
Guide to Buying Man Lifts
There are several factors that must be considered when buying or hiring a man lift for a construction site or a fire station or at any other maintenance department.
The first obvious factor to consider is the design. If you are limited on storage space, it is a better option to choose a space saving designs that can be easily folded after use for the ease of storage.
Given the purpose for which it is used, the transport of persons and heavy objects, the man lift should be sturdy in its construction and should be made of quality materials.
Man lifts are a pricey investment and cannot be purchased repeatedly. However, on account of constant exposure to inclement weather conditions it tends to wear out faster. You should opt for a machine with higher durability even if that means paying a little more.
The height and weight capacity are also important features to factor in when shopping for man lifts. The machine you choose should also be easy to use and less-demanding on maintenance schedules.
Finally, you cannot neglect the safety features. Safety is tied to the build quality and the quality of construction materials. However, a few manufacturers also add a few extra features to increase safety such as high speed cut outs, pothole protection, handholds, LCD displays with sensory information, level warnings and static straps. Also, the lift should be an OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and ANSI (American National Standards Institute) approved industrial man lift.