April 2012

Vehicle Lifts Becoming More Affordable, Portable and Sustainable

by Brittni Rubin, Assistant Editor

Rotary Lift's Mach 4 column lift is powered by batteries and has the ability to communicate with other columns wirelessly.

Rotary Lift's Mach 4 column lift is powered by batteries and has the ability to communicate with other columns wirelessly.
Still facing the effects of the economic downturn, more transit repair facilities are trying to get the most out of their dollar. And, they're starting with their vehicle lifts.

Recently, mobile column lifts have been increasing steadily in popularity. According to Steve Perlstein, government sales manager for Mohawk Lifts, "mobile columns have been the fastest growing lift type for the last seven years."

Significantly more cost-effective, — especially with the introduction of wireless technology — mobile lift devices spare companies the installation fee while providing a new sense of portability and simplicity.

Wireless mobile columns also eliminate the need for specialized cords that can cost more than $500 to replace. Its sustainable benefits are greatly attractive to clients as well, says Doug Spiller, Rotary Lift's heavy-duty product manager.

Many manufacturers and industry veterans foresee mobile columns continuing to improve in efficiency and effectiveness.

"One popular trend that we see in the heavy-duty market today is the way wheel engaging mobile units continue to partner with 21st Century technology," says Bob O'Gorman, president/CEO of Automotive Lift Institute Inc. (ALI/ETL). "There are definitely some design and technology advancements that have entered the market in the last few years."

Perlstein and O'Gorman agree that while mobile columns are popular, there are other useful lift types in the market and customers should choose the style that makes the most sense for their workspace. Pantographs, parallelograms, scissor lifts and in-ground lifts still have a strong presence in the lift market as well.

"Ultimately, depending upon what service you're doing and how much space you have in your shop, that determines which lift is best for you," says Perlstein.

MAHA USA
MAHA USA's newest Mobile Column Lifts (MCL) are the KAR 250, KAR 350 and the Wireless Mobile Column. The Pinckard, Ala.-based manufacturer is a part of the worldwide MAHA Group.

The KAR 250 and KAR 350 — electro-hydraulic pantographs with the capability to lift vehicles weighing up to 118,000 pounds — were released in mid-2011. With competitive lifting heights, the devices can lift up to 6.8 feet with runway extensions up to 49 feet.

Designed as a vertical lift, with scissors located at the end of each runway, the lift allows the use of maximum workshop space and easy access. Customers can choose between above-ground or in-ground installation. The KAR 250 and 350 both feature a strong, compressed frame built to maximize stability.

MAHA USA's Wireless Mobile Column is built with a rechargeable battery to avoid location limitations and has a 110-volt connection that recharges batteries overnight. Improved technology allows one battery charge to last for a full week — up to 45 cycles at 50% or 25 full cycles at 100% capacity.

With the battery, the lift weighs 1,200 pounds. The company aims to continuously manufacture easier and even lighter wireless mobile columns.

All of MAHA's new MCLs feature improved operability and compactness. At the core of the MCL platform is a low-friction, stainless steel and surface hardened re-circulating ball screw. MAHA guarantees its customers no fluid leaks or synchronized problems commonly associated with hydraulic columns.

Different lifting capabilities are available ranging from 16,000 pounds to 18,000 pounds per lift and up to 144,000 pounds per system.

MAHA MCLs are certified by ALI/ETL and incorporate various enhanced technologies — such as low voltage commands, additional locks and photo sensors for leveling control — to ensure safe operation through years of use.


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