Choosing Between Electro-Mechanical and Hydraulic Hoists

What is best for you and your business
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Hydraulic 2 Post Lifts mostly use a hydraulic ram to either push or pull the carriage and arms up. The cylinders come in a few configuration options.

  1. Mounted at the top of the post with the lowered position having the pump fully extended. The ram closes to raise the carriages.
  2. The most common configuration is two direct drive rams mounted to the carriage, that extend off the base to raise the carriages.
  3. Two rams that drive a chain attached to the carriages. this is a style mostly seen in older clear floor lifts and base plate lifts. 

In all these styles the carriages must be balanced, this is usually the job of counter balancing wire ropes from carriage to carriage. Through advancements in design some European lifts balance hydraulically with electronic control.

The standard for a locking systems on a Hydraulic 2 Post Lifts is either cable locks, or electromagnetically operated locks placed on the column  with a curved underside and flat top. The carriages have a built-in ladder that passes over the locks when ascending and lowers onto a lock on descent. Electric locks will automatically lift the hoist, retract the locks and descend, while manual locks (cable) require lifting the hoist and manual lock release.


Electro-mechanical lifts use 2 large threaded rods, raised and lowered by the carriages running on a large nut. These lifts have a secondary locknut below the main nut that acts as the lock, meaning the lift will automatically lock in the exact position you stop the hoist. These lifts normally have two electric motors,  one on each column so there are no hydraulic hoses or cables to run between columns. The lack of hydraulic hoses allows for flexibility when it comes to height and width, with only a wire running between columns for synchronisation.  The wire runs in a pipe over the top, or for new builds it is possible to have it in the floor. Not having a hydraulic pump makes them quiet to operate. These lifts were designed in Europe, and Europe continues to be the main producer of them.


So, what is your best option?


The first thing to consider is your budget, if you are looking to stay under $9,000 then hydraulic is the way to go. The fact Electro-mechanical Lifts are predominantly European means that depending on their features and capacity they range closer to $9,00 to $12,00+.


If you are looking to invest in a quality 2 post lift in the $9,000to $12,000 range, then there is a few other things to consider.

  1. What ceiling height do you have to work with? If it is a low inner city type building Electro-mechanical could be the way to go
  2. Is your business fast service work? If so, hydraulic might be best for you, invest in a Nussbaum Hydraulic 2 Post with a lift time of 26seconds!
  3. Do you specialise in detailed rebuild work or longer projects? An electro-mechanical could be your best match, thanks to their fine lifting adjustment capability
  4. Are you often working in single digit temperatures or sweltering desert? Then go electro-mechanical as there is no hydraulic fluid, so no need to worry about changes in pressure and viscosity

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