A lift table is a surface that raises an object to a height at which it can be more easily lifted or worked on than if it were positioned at ground level. They are generally small compared to other lifting systems, and many configurations are mobile; they are often equipped with wheels or casters that facilitate easy movement throughout a facility.
Lift tables can be used to lift many different kinds of objects in many different contexts. They are generally not large enough to lift large vehicles, but some motorcycle lifts are considered to be lift tables.
Lift tables can also be used in veterinary hospitals for medical procedures and examinations. Lift tables are usually powered by hydraulics, though small, light-duty versions can be electric; electric lift tables are generally applied in less demanding contexts.
All hydraulic lift systems, lift tables included, employ compressed hydraulic fluid in a cylinder in the movement of objects. A hydraulic cylinder is a reinforced cylindrical chamber that contains a hollow area, a piston, several seals and flanges and an input through which hydraulic fluid is transmitted.
When pressurized hydraulic fluid is forced into a cylinder, it forces the piston in the cylinder to move. The piston is connected to a rod or other connecting material, which is itself connected to a load. In the case of lift tables, that load is the lift table and whatever it is supporting.
The force generated by the compressed hydraulic fluid is enough to lift and sustain the load of the table; the cylinder system is also capable of releasing the pressure slowly and gently, which reduces the likelihood of product damage or worker injury.
Almost every lift table is designed a scissor lift; scissor lifts are perfect for application in lift tables because they are completely collapsible, and they are capable of bearing very heavy loads.
Other table lift configurations can be wall mounted, as is usually the case in veterinary lift tables, and a few configurations feature rod-mounted tables.