New lifts give maintenance a leg up

Improvements raise the bar on ease and safety

The Rotary Mach 4 is available in sets of four or six battery-operated columns to safely accommodate any size vehicle.

Rotary introduces upgraded technology
Introduced at APTA Expo 2008, the Rotary Mach 4 is the company’s most recent iteration of its mobile column lift. Rotary sales manager Roger Perlstein says this product sets up fast and raises a vehicle 70 inches in 78 seconds. The company claims this is quicker than comparable lifts.

He says a recent time and motion study shows the Mach 4 to provide a productivity improvement of more than 30 percent, which Perlstein equates to an annual savings of $7,600 in labor per year.

Suited for use anywhere in the shop including wash bays and outside areas, the Mach 4 is available in sets of four or six battery-operated columns to safely accommodate any size vehicle from paratransit to articulated buses. Two deep-cycle marine batteries power the columns, each rated to lift 18,000 lbs. Technicians may operate the lift from any column using one-touch controls.

The proprietary horseshoe wiring system on the Mach 4 is a noticeable improvement. The use of only three communication cables leaves the front or back of the lift open to move the vehicle in and out. This layout enables technicians to drive vehicles in and out of the bay area without wasting time disconnecting and reconnecting cables. The cables are located up and out of the way, instead of lying on the ground. The automatic rewind for the electrical cable is a helpful tweak. A quick tug automatically rewinds the wiring into the new built-in cord reel.

Each identical column automatically synchronizes lifting and lowering. A digital graphic of the setup registers live height readings, battery indicator, programmable height limit settings, and a slow lowering function allows precise positioning.

Other features include a high-efficiency LED lighting system. Spring-loaded retractable wheels that automatically retract under load and replace pallet-jack steering systems. The adjustable forks handle a wide range of wheels from small vehicles to large-tire applications on trucks and buses without using bulky adapter sleeves. The set up also features locking mechanisms every three inches and a lower-to-lock function.

W-K Industries offers the pit solution

W-K Industries is introducing a host of products that make pit work easier and safer such as air pit hoists, pit cross steps and oil drain pans bundled together as a complete solution for transit service centers.

For nearly 20 years W-K has worked with major vehicle lift manufactures to provide pneumatic jacks that integrate with above ground hoists. Transit technicians know them as WK Air Pit Hoists or Air Jacks, which transit agencies have used for over 15 years.

W-K says its version of this type of heavy-duty lift increases efficiency and ease of tire changes, as well as brake and suspension work, and also encourages service technicians to perform preventive maintenance regularly, and claims the air-pit hoist is an environmentally friendly product.

“Our products operate on all air; no hydraulics,” says Manny Bhachu, W-K director of engineering and operations. “This ensures a safer working environment with no messy oil spills to clean up, and lends toward a reduction in accidents and downtime.”

W-K works with service centers and engineering firms to design the maintenance pit to incorporate its products as environmentally sound solutions. Bhachu says better planning at the ground level results in overall cost savings. This year W-K is set to complete several projects presently in the engineering phases.

“Better planning at the ground level results in overall cost savings in the construction of the service pits,” says Bhachu. “We have completed numerous projects for transit facilities in Canada and USA.”

He says the most recent is the new service garage for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). For this configuration, W-K integrated its WK Pit Cross Steps with the WK Air-Pit Hoists to allow technicians to walk across the pit safely. The durable pit cross steps hold up to 2,000 lbs, and Bhachu says even a forklift can safely drive over them.

W-K believes early designing and bundling of products for the service pit allows transit facilities and companies to save on construction costs by providing a more integrated solution for installation, for ongoing maintenance, and for making a long-term workable solution.

SEFAC goes with self-locking design
A privately owned U.S. corporation since 1976, SEFAC is a 120-year-old company now specializing in heavy-duty mobile column lifts. The company claims to be the first mobile lift company to obtain third party certification.

SEFAC is confident in having every eventuality covered. The core of the product, the SEFAC parachute nut, consists of a bronze load bearing nut, a steel safety nut and a mechanical locking system that incorporates an internal wedge brake. In the event of a failure in the bronze load-bearing nut, the mobile lift utilizes two load-holding devices. The downward motion of the load forces the bronze nut down onto the wedge brake which grips the wedge brake onto the lifting screw and the entire system is permanently locked.

All SEFAC mobile lifts feature an electro-mechanical, self-locking design that is based around an Acme threaded screw and a bronze load nut. The design of the lifting screw ensures that the weakest part of the screw is the shaft above the top bearing nut.

“If the screw fails, it would be this shaft that would fail,” says SEFAC president, Allister Collings. “In the unlikely event of a screw failure, the top bearing nut supports the load.”
SEFAC believes acme thread type lifts are inherently self-locking and safer than hydraulic systems.

“The lifts stop immediately when power shuts off and will not move until the power is restored,” says Collings. “They will not drift from their locked position, nor can they lower unexpectedly. The laws of physics prevent this from happening.”

The mobile lifts feature a continuously engaged safety mechanism. SEFAC says the non-loaded safety device on its mobile lifts is never subjected to wear and provides greater safety as a result. If the safety device is ever loaded due to an emergency, the device cannot be reused and must be replaced.

Available in capacities of 12,000 – 18,000 lbs per column, SEFAC mobile lifts are ideal for maintenance on school buses, transit buses and motorcoaches. Features of the latest S3 Series lift focus on the inherent safety required of all lift products.

Using the interactive touch-screen pad the operator selects the operational mode for any combination of columns — all lifts, pairs or single. The Programmable Logic Control (PLC) communicates the lift height and speed of each column, and continually monitors all safety measures. The patent pending variable speed drive allows the operator to adjust the lift speed according to the weight of the load up to 67 inches per minute.

In the event of an error, it will walk the operator step by step through the troubleshooting process. BR