Platform lifts are primarily used for impaired access and allow a platform to raise and fall. They can be built indoors or outdoors and provide access in areas where passenger lifts are not feasible. A platform lift can take a variety of configurations, although they are most commonly employed in low-rise structures owing to potential building constraints. They are inexpensive and simple to install.
Platform lifts are classified into several types.
- stair lift (vertical platform lift)
These lifts can be built on the side of a step or stairs to assist the user in gaining access to another level while leaving the steps clear for other users. They have a one-metre travel range and may be used both internally and outdoors.
- Stairlift with an incline
Wheelchair users can utilise these elevators to access the next storey via a stairlift with a level platform. The platform is attached to a diagonal runner on the staircase’s wall side. They may be put almost anywhere, both indoors and outdoors, and in straight or curved stairs with several landings or curves.
- Lifting a vertical platform
Vertical platform lifts are comparable to standard enclosed lifts; however, they lack the capacity, speed, and travel height of commercial lifts, making them more appropriate for private residences or smaller business structures. In comparison to typical lifts, the lift is self-supporting and requires little construction modifications. It is attached to a wall and can be designed in a variety of ways.
How do they function?
There are three primary types of platform lift drive systems, each adapted to distinct requirements and with their own set of benefits and drawbacks. Electronic controls deliver signals to a central processing unit, which is used to run modern platform lifts. The motors or pumps that move the platform between levels are started by this device.
System of hydraulic propulsion
The raised platform is connected to a hydraulic ram in this arrangement. To move the lift, hydraulic fluid is injected into the ram by a pump from a central reservoir. The pressure extends the ram, causing the lift to increase; the flow is then reversed, causing the lift to fall.
The primary downside of this technique is that the mechanism takes up more room, and in hot weather, the hydraulic fluid might emit an odour.
Drive system for screws and nuts
This lift is powered by a steep screw pole that runs the length of the shaft. A nut connecting to the screw is driven by a motor on the platform. When the motor spins the nut, the lift will move up or down depending on which way it is turned. Installing this mechanism frequently necessitates the use of a supporting wall, especially for longer journey lifts.
The drawback of this method is that the thread on the screw and drive nut is prone to wear and tear, necessitating frequent lubrication, commonly via a self-lubricating system.
Chain drive system encapsulated
The enclosed chain drive system is the ultimate system. This technique employs a chain that is contained in a very durable polyurethane plastic shell that guides the chain and prevents it from slipping. The chain is coupled to a driveshaft that is turned by a motor and gearbox. The chains are pulled or pushed as the driveshaft spins, causing the platform to move up or down.
The benefit of this system is its longevity, which allows for a significantly longer warranty on the drive system.
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