How Do Hydraulic Scissor Lifts Work?

How Do Hydraulic Scissor Lifts Work?

Scissor lifts remain one of the most common types of aerial lifts for good reason. First, scissor lifts provide a large stable work platform. Additionally, scissor lifts are fairly easy to elevate and lower, which improves the safety of the lift. As part of the family, hydraulic scissor lifts accomplish the main objectives with a hydraulic cylinder to power the lift. 

How Hydraulic Scissor Lifts Work

Hydraulic scissor lifts are primarily designed like other types of scissor lifts (with distinct criss-cross metal support structure).

Regardless of the power source (electric scissor lifts or diesel) or lifting source (hydraulic fluid or air pressure), all scissor lifts generally operate in the same manner. First, operators turn on the lift in order to fill the cylinders. Hydraulic scissor lifts leverage hydraulic fluid to lift the work platform. As the fluid pushes through the lift, the cylinders push outward and the legs start to push apart. The work platform elevates as the hydraulic fluid flows through the cylinders, which are contained within the criss-crossed legs of the lift. Additionally, to lower the work platform, simply release the hydraulic fluid and the process reverses. 

Finally, the speed of raising or lowering work platforms depends on the power source and weight on the platform. For example, the more weight puts more pressure on powering the lift. Additionally, hydraulic scissor lifts do not provide much speed or horsepower, which makes them more suitable for simple projects. Due to the reduced power, hydraulic scissor lifts are great for building maintenance or warehouse work. Projects that require a stable footing for workers to complete time consuming work inside. 

“From changing lights or accessing utilities to hanging banners and signs, building maintenance teams benefit from scissor lifts. Additionally, hydraulic scissor lifts remain one of the most effective ways to navigate warehouses filled to their capacity. These lifts help reach inventory stored on shelves and efficiently bring to the floor (for purchase and or moving to the shipping dock for streamlined operations).”

Conversely, telecommunications work or large construction sites that require workers to reach higher heights may benefit from other types of aerial devices, such as boom lifts.

Maintaining Hydraulic Scissor Lifts

Hydraulic scissor lifts require the same essential maintenance as other types of aerial devices. To start, maintenance and proper use relies on A92.2 standards, which OSHA helped oversee recently updated the required maintenance procedures and annual inspections. Additionally, regular maintenance improves the lift span of any machine, including hydraulic scissor lifts. Therefore, high level maintenance items include:  

  • Inspecting scissor lifts prior to usage.
  • Checking hydraulic fluid level (along with all fluid levels, such as oil, gas, brake).
  • Checking tire (and wheel) pressure.
  • Confirming all operators wear safety gear (gloves, hats, harnesses, glasses, etc.). 

Plus, as part of the industry best practices, remember to inspect lifts following usage. For example, following a completed job, conduct a concise inspection, which reduces the possibility of small problems becoming more significant dangers. Finally, maintain a detailed record of inspections, maintenance and repairs.  

As part of maintaining scissor lifts, ensure your operations are fully stocked with replacement equipment helps keep your team fully functioning. Aerial Equipment Parts offers a huge selection of replacement lift equipment for all types of aerial lifts, including hydraulic scissor lifts. Our inventory includes parts for all major brands, including JLG, Genie, SkyJack and Snorkel lifts. If you need to replace any of your lift parts, then search our inventory to find the right part for your scissor lift (or any lift) today. For any aerial lift equipment questions, contact us today at 303-704-7000 or Our staff has years of industry experience and is fully knowledgeable on all products. Shop today!

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