The basis: Scissor lift tables and column lifts

When you have a look at the product ranges of the different lift table manufacturers , you’re almost overwhelmed by the variety and diversity of lift table types. Fortunately, the different types can be traced back to two basic designs. We would like to present them here.

The scissor lift table

Our standard lift table usually provides the basis for a large number of different scissor lifts. The three main components are platform, scissors and base frame.


The platform is used to carry the load and its design configurations are almost limitless. Only the minimum length and width of the platform is not. These two factors are determined by the scissors and the base frame of the lift table.

The freedom in the design of the platform allows easy configuration for a wide range of customer requirements. For example, the existing lift table platform can easily be equipped with an optional rotating and/or tilting device. Even special superstructures for load-handling or load-fastening can be readily implemented by competent manufacturers.


The scissors are the most important component of a lift table . Without the scissors, the main function, the lifting and lowering of the respective load, cannot be executed at all.

The scissors form the mechanical connection between the platform and the base frame. The scissors consist of two parts, which are connected by a bolt. The lifting movement is executed by hydraulic cylinders in most cases. They are connected to both parts of the scissors and generate torque around the centre of the scissors through the lever arm. The two halves of the scissors move apart and the platform begins to lift or lower.

The dead weight of the platform is usually sufficient to lower a scissor lift table . If this is not the case, a double-acting hydraulic cylinder can be installed.

Base frame

The base frame supports the rest of the lift table structure. Depending on the installation situation, the base frame can be designed with varying degrees of complexity. For example, if the base frame is directly fastened to the floor, a simple metal plate is sufficient. In this case, the base frame only acts as a running surface for the non-locating bearing rollers and to fasten the fixed bearing. As the forces of the lift table and the load to be carried are transmitted directly into the floor, it does not have to be very rigid.
Some lift table manufacturers even do completely without a base frame for certain product types. This is done to reduce price of the lift table. However, if the existing flooring is not adequately prepared for such a load, we recommend that a base frame is used to prevent damage to the floor.

In some cases, the base frame must be rigid enough to withstand the forces that occur. One example of this is the mobile lift table, which must be supported on rollers. It has a so-called self-supporting base frame.
To reduce the number of different versions in production, many manufacturers equip their lift tables with a self-supporting base frame as standard. The advantage of this is that lining plates can be underlaid to some extent during installation to adapt the lift table to the existing installation situation.

The column lift

The special features of the column lift makes it an excellent addition to the range of lift tables. It is always used when a relatively large effective stroke needs to be achieved with limited platform dimensions. Typical applications are simplified goods lifts.

The column lift combines small platform dimensions with a high effective stroke by separating the lifting system from the load-handling device. A platform comparable to that of the lift table is often used as the load-handling device.
Instead of using scissors, lifting is done with the help of a lift mast. A hydraulic cylinder which is indirectly connected to the platform via pulleys is usually installed inside this mast. The platform is also safely guided by the mast.

Apart from the fact that the effective stroke and the platform geometry are not interrelated, column lifts also do not need to be installed in a pit.

However, the column lift also has its disadvantages. These include, for example, the overall height of the lift mast (and the associated visual effect) and the less favourable force progression through the platform and the lift mast.