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The Difference Between Hydraulic and Mechanical Lifts

The Difference Between Hydraulic and Mechanical Lifts

Lifts are essential to greatly improve your warehouse operations because they safely and effectively move heavy loads to every part of your building. Vertical reciprocating conveyors allow the flexibility of accessing every square foot of space within your warehouse. Not only are VRCs safer than forklifts but they are also more efficient which translates to less time and money spent for your business. Consider the two types of vertical conveyors to understand the difference between hydraulic and mechanical lifts.

Hydraulic Lifts

Hydraulic lifts use compressed fluid to generate power to lift objects, materials and supplies in a warehouse or factory. They are stronger and can lift heavier loads while being fully automate and able to be controlled via remote. Being inexpensive to purchase and install, hydraulic lifts are a cost effective alternative to mechanical lifts. Although they offer many of the same benefits as mechanical lifts and tend to take up less space there are also some downsides to this type of lift.

Unfortunately, hydraulic lifts have limited cycles so they can’t go long before needing a break, which has an impact on your warehouse’s overall productivity. Because of this, these lifts tend to be on the sluggish side and can hold back the flow of the warehouse. Also, in the long run they need more maintenance due to risk of leaking hydraulic oil which is toxic.

Mechanical Lifts

Mechanical lifts work differently than hydraulic lifts in that they work off of a cable system rather than fluid compression. In general, mechanical lifts provide a smoother ride than hydraulic lifts, which reduces the risk for damage to materials. They also provide 360-degree access for loading and unloading which is key to the efficiency of your warehouse. The two types of mechanical lift mechanisms are straddle and cantilever. As the name suggests, the cage straddles the tracks in the straddle mechanism where as the cantilever mechanism utilizes tracks that are fastened on the wall. These lifts require less maintenance than hydraulic lifts which leads to an overall higher productivity level for your warehouse.

Although mechanical lifts have the potential to be completely customized, they are more expensive upfront than hydraulic lifts. It is important to weigh the pros and cons, though, because although mechanical lifts are pricier they require less maintenance down the road.

Deciding Which Lift is For You

Mechanical and hydraulic lifts both have the potential to greatly improve your warehouse operations but it is important to understand your specific needs in order to choose the best option for you and your business. All vertical reciprocating conveyors, including mechanical and hydraulic lifts, bring a higher level of safety and efficiency to your warehouse but knowing the pros and cons is also key to the future success of your business.