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On the basis of the operating system involved, wheelchair lifts are of two main types. These are hydraulic wheelchair lifts and electric wheelchair lifts. In this article, we will focus on the latter type of wheelchair lift and tell you all there is to know about tem.
Electric Wheelchair Lift Features
While a hydraulics wheelchair lift works on hydraulic principles and systems, an electric wheelchair lift works on electric power. If you are tired of having to depend on someone to lift your wheelchair and place it in your vehicle for you, an electric lift is the answer for you. Caregivers of people in wheelchairs will also find electric chair lifts very convenient to use; with the help of which they need not strain their muscles trying to lift heavy and bulky wheelchairs into cars and vans or over stairs.
As electric wheel chair lifts are powered by electricity, wheelchair occupants can do their entire wheelchair lifting on their own. They simply need to drive their wheelchair onto the lift, strap themselves in, push the operating switch and voila! Their wheelchairs will be lifted in mere seconds and that too without any physical strain or effort.
Electric wheelchair lifts are not made only for electric wheelchairs (as is a common misconception), but can be used to lift manual wheelchairs as well. The electric systems and wiring of electric wheelchair lifts are not very complicated and can be used easily. Usually, there is just one main wire that needs to be connected to the battery of your vehicle and the lift gets all the power that it needs for its operations.
Most electric wheelchair lifts can also be run on batteries. This acts as a back up plan in case there is any problem with your car electrical systems or if there is no electric power in your home. Some lifts also have manual operating levers as additional back up for emergency situations where there may not be any source of electrical power.
Power Wheelchair Lifts For Heavy Lifting
Battery operated power wheelchairs relieve the wheelchair user of any effort or assistance in moving the wheelchair. In this sense, they are considered upgrades when compared to manual wheelchairs and offer an elevated level of convenience in usage for the price they are paid for. However, these wheelchairs are a lot heavier and more difficult to transport around as they are not easily folded like manual wheelchairs. Nevertheless, when it comes to power wheelchair lifts, the maximum weight capacity of the lift becomes an important factor.
Tilt-A-Rack Mobility power wheelchair lift is an affordable model made from aluminum and designed for weight capacities of up to 350 lbs or even 500 lbs. The power wheelchair carrier fits into the rear of the car and is hinged onto the vehicle with three pins. Once the power wheelchair is positioned on the lift platform, the leveling bolt beneath the platform balances the wheelchair into place. The horizontal platform can also be tilted so that the power wheelchair can be moved from the lift to the curb without the use of ramps. This is the benefit of using power wheelchair lifts within vehicles.
For internal power wheelchair lifts, the Harmar AL 420 looks to be a promising item. This is a rotary lift that can be mounted on any side of the vehicle as long as there is 30 inches of headroom for it to move. The machinery itself weighs 86 pounds but it is capable of lifting 400 lb power wheelchairs. However, this product may be a little on the high side, with a price tag of a little over $2000.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a platform-type power wheelchair lift, you should consider the Silver Star BackPacker wheelchair lift from Pride. At approximately $1800, you can obtain a completely automatic power wheelchair lift with an ability to lift 325 lbs into the inside of your mini-van. The platform itself is built at a size of 27 inches by 47 inches with the whole device easily installed on the third-row seat without any need for drilling works. As these power wheelchair lifts are powered with its own battery pack, there is no fear of sudden power failures. Just with a single button, all vertical and horizontal movements of the lift can be controlled with ease.
Putting Fluids To Good Use With Hydraulic Wheelchair Lifts
There are two types of mechanisms that work wheelchair lifts – battery or power operated wheelchair lifts or hydraulic operated wheelchair lifts. The former utilizes power from vehicle batteries, power supplies or a battery pack. On the other hand, the hydraulic lift utilizes fluid pressure to produce smooth movements during lifting.
The major benefit of using a hydraulic wheelchair lift is that the dependency on power supply is eliminated. Apart from that, the properties of hydraulics help to ease out any sudden movements which may occur during the use of the lift.
These are two probable reasons why hydraulic wheelchair lifts are more expensive than electrically-powered wheelchair lifts. Nevertheless, there is also a combined version that uses both mechanisms known as electro-hydraulics. Here, battery power is used to move fluid through hydraulic cylinders. This flow will propel cylinders to move lifts up and down thus transpoporting the wheelchair user.
In general, hydraulic wheelchair lifts are heavier than battery powered lifts due to the amount of fluid involved in the mechanism, but they are more durable and quiet. A major challenge in the usage of hydraulic wheelchair lifts is the inability to operate under extreme cold weather. The fluids within may freeze up under low temperature or may even lead to leakages, which may be dangerous if left unchecked.
Concord Wheelchair Lifts
For a wide range of hydraulic wheelchair lifts, users can look up Concord elevators. Concord elevators is in the business of producing both residential and commercial hydraulic wheelchair lifts, stairlifts and vertical platform lifts. All hydraulic lifts work on a 1:2 cable hydraulic system for smooth operations. This system allows for 2 feet of travel for every 1 foot of cylinder rod movement. A smooth and quiet ride is guaranteed with a special electro-proportional valve which handles the descent with less power and less noise. The problem of leakage is also eliminated with a high-performance seal known as the twin lip cup which increases cylinder rod stability. In case of an emergency, the lifts are backed up with battery power and they can also be controlled manually from the outside of the lift. Other safety features include a module which stops car movement if hydraulic pressure is suddenly lost. The lifts are also equipped with interlocks that require the door to be locked properly before lifts can start moving. In order to prevent too fast a speed on the way down, Concord hydraulic wheelchair lifts are also fixed with a flow control valve for safety purposes.