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January 31, 2012  |   Comments (1)   |   Post a comment

Vehicle lifts: It's all about mobility

Officials at vehicle lift manufacturing companies say that the portability of mobile column units makes it easy to service buses, and each company’s lifts include numerous safety features, such as weight gauges and overload protection.

by Brittany-Marie Swanson

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ARI-HETRA's HBP HDML (heavy-duty mobile lift) 8-4 is a hybrid lift that is battery powered.

ARI-HETRA's HBP HDML (heavy-duty mobile lift) 8-4 is a hybrid lift that is battery powered.

Vehicle lifts can make all the difference when it comes to performing maintenance on a school bus. Finding the right lift can make the process safer, easier and more affordable.

SBF asked four vehicle lift companies about what lifts are popular among their customers in the school bus industry. The flexibility and portability of mobile column lifts makes them great for servicing a variety of bus types with ease, officials say.

ARI-HETRA’s HBP HDML (heavy-duty mobile lift) 8-4 is a hybrid lift that is battery powered, says Bill Gibson, the company’s general manager.

“When you lift a bus, the lift uses battery power, and when you lower it, the lift uses the weight of the vehicle to recharge the battery,” he explains.

The battery can also be charged by a single 110-volt outlet.

The HBP HDML 8-4 is not hydraulic. ARI-HETRA uses a ball-bearing screw to raise and lower the lift.

“This mechanical system is more efficient than a hydraulic system,” Gibson says. “[With the HBP HDML 8-4], you’ve got that mechanical safety, where with a hydraulic system, if there’s a leak in the hydraulic seals or hoses, you could be in trouble.”

Additionally, if a technician attempts to raise a bus that weighs more than the lift is rated for, the electronic overload protection will shut the system down.

The columns are completely portable, “so when you’re done working on your bus, you can roll them into the corner of your shop and they’re out of the way,” Gibson adds. Using ARI-HETRA’s support stands, technicians can prop up a bus and move the columns to a different bay to start work on another bus.

The support stands are equipped with a nitrogen gas-activated spring that allows for easy and safe height adjustment.

“ARI-HETRA manufactures, sells and services all of our lifts,” Gibson says. “Our guys know this equipment very well, and if there’s a problem while you’re working on a vehicle when you’ve got it up in the air [on a lift], you want to make sure the company you’re dealing with can be very responsive.”

Mohawk offers mobile column lifts in three different sizes, with lifting capacities that range from 18,000 pounds to 30,000 pounds.
<p>Mohawk offers mobile column lifts in three different sizes, with lifting capacities that range from 18,000 pounds to 30,000 pounds.</p>

Mohawk Lifts
Mohawk Lifts’ mobile column lifts have been gaining in popularity every year for several years straight, according to Steve Perlstein, sales manager.

Mohawk offers 18,000-pound, 24,000-pound and 30,000-pound capacity mobile column lifts (the MP-18, MP-24 and MP-30, respectively) that operate hydraulically.

“The mobile column lift is great because you take the school bus, you send it 6 feet up in the air, and if by chance you’re waiting around for parts to arrive … you can put the bus on high-rise jack stands,” Perlstein says. “Those stands are going to allow you to move the columns away from the school bus and put them in an adjoining bay.”

The company’s lifts are equipped with adjustable lifting forks to accommodate wheels from 13 to 24 inches in diameter, and up to 48 inches. No wheel reducer sleeves are needed.

“If you don’t have adjustable forks [on your lift], then that’s an option that people have to buy in order to service that smaller size tire,” Perlstein explains.

Mohawk’s mobile column lifts communicate with one another through cables, which Perlstein says prevents the interference that can occur in wireless mobile column lifts.

The lifts also have a safety weight gauge to indicate to a technician if the lift is overloaded, as well as a slope indicator. Mohawk’s mobile column lifts allow for a 3-degree slope.

“Garages always have sloped floors, wash drains and oil separators and things like that,” Perlstein says. “If the lift is only allowed to be used on a perfectly level floor, that’s not a good choice of lift.”

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Gray Mfg has a mobile column lift that is completely wireless. They are the innovators and patent holders on the wireless communications. It is a battery power electric hydraulic lift. Gray Mfg is a USA manufacturer based in Saint Joseph Missouri.

Sondra Kirby    |    Apr 13, 2012 09:21 AM

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