Lift tables for outdoor use

An outdoor lift table must be equipped with special features. Among other things, it should be able to withstand the effects of the weather, but also access by unauthorised persons. In this article we would like to explain to you how we prepare our lift table for outdoor use.

What is the challenge?

When a scissor lift table is used outdoors, it is exposed to a number of influences that do not exist inside the building. It is immediately obvious that the lift table should be equipped to withstand external weather conditions such as rain, snow or the sun’s rays as well.

Furthermore, the aspect of free accessibility when it is installed outside is often not considered. If the lift table is installed on a property that is not closed off, it must be protected against unauthorised access: This includes both the actual operation and deliberate damage to the lift table.

How do we solve these challenges?

Protection against rain & snow

Protection of the electrical system

On the inside, we use protection class IP 54 for the electrical system. This class already protects the electrical components against spray water. For lift tables in outdoor use we even go one step further. Here we use at least protection class IP 65, which guarantees protection of the electrical components against direct jets of water from all directions.

To further increase the reliability of the overall system, certain electrical components can also be installed outside the hazard area . If the pit drain is clogged with e.g. leaves or similar debris and the pit slowly fills up with water, there is a risk that the hydraulic unit as well as the control unit will suffer water damage. For this reason, we always recommend setting up an external power unit if possible when installing the pit outdoors. This way, the power unit and the control unit can be installed in a building or in a protected area, keeping the risk of water damage to these components very low.

If the power unit cannot be installed externally, a slight increase in the height of the components should be considered. We place the power unit and the control unit on a small base, for example, so that the water reaches these two components as late as possible to allow detection of the pit filling up and taking action in time. And obviously, we equip the control unit with protection class IP 65.

Protection of the electrical system

On the inside, we use protection class IP 54 for the electrical system. This class already protects the electrical components against spray water. For lift tables in outdoor use we even go one step further. Here we use at least protection class IP 65, which guarantees protection of the electrical components against direct jets of water from all directions.

To further increase the reliability of the overall system, certain electrical components can also be installed outside the hazard area . If the pit drain is clogged with e.g. leaves or similar debris and the pit slowly fills up with water, there is a risk that the hydraulic unit as well as the control unit will suffer water damage. For this reason, we always recommend setting up an external power unit if possible when installing the pit outdoors. This way, the power unit and the control unit can be installed in a building or in a protected area, keeping the risk of water damage to these components very low.

If the power unit cannot be installed externally, a slight increase in the height of the components should be considered. We place the power unit and the control unit on a small base, for example, so that the water reaches these two components as late as possible to allow detection of the pit filling up and taking action in time. And obviously, we equip the control unit with protection class IP 65.

Influence of outdoor temperature and solar radiation

It is in the nature of things that outdoor temperatures fluctuate over a wide range. The biggest challenge for a scissor lift, whether it is a tandem lift table, single-scissor or double-scissor lift table , is usually the lower temperatures. Particularly with hydraulic lift tables, care must be taken to ensure that the fluid used is suitable for the later application area of the lift table. To ensure that the scissor lift still performs its service without problems in winter, we use hydraulic oil with low viscosity in outdoor areas. The same also applies to all other lubricants and mechanical bearings used.

An often neglected aspect is the electrical cables that are used. The plastic insulation is not suitable for every temperature range and must be designed accordingly. Another weak point of electric cables is the direct UV radiation, which necessitates the use of UV-resistant plastic sheathing .

Access by unauthorised persons

If the scissor lift or column lift is located in an unenclosed area and is freely accessible to unauthorised persons, further safety precautions should be taken. For example, it should only be possible to operate the lift table with a key to prevent unauthorised movement of the lifting device. If a person gains access to the space underneath the lift table, the risk of damage or theft is much greater. This is because the hydraulic cylinders, electrical sensors and, possibly the actual drive including control system are located underneath the platform. For this reason, it is safer to always keep the lift table in the bottom position.

Apart from the material damage that can be caused by unauthorised use, there is, however, a much more significant risk. Various possible crushing and shearing points are created during the lifting and lowering process of the scissor lift table, which, in the worst case, can lead to the death of a person if handled incorrectly. It is therefore essential to ensure that no untrained personnel and especially no children have access to the scissor lift.

In addition, the wilful damage of the scissor lift table is another problem. The only option here is to rely on a design that is as sturdy and robust as possible . In addition to an increased service life, there is also a lower risk of damage. But even a robust design does not guarantee complete protection. Damage to the controls or the theft of removable railings is especially difficult to prevent.

What you need to do ...

It is already clear from the article above that a number of points must be observed for outdoor lift tables . Of course, it is not your responsibility to take these points into account for scissor lifts. You only need to do one thing. Tell us exactly where and for what purposes you use the lift table. We will then take care to provide the appropriate lift table.