The most basic portable lifts do not even have a motor at all, just a simple scissor lift mechanism with a small platform that a person can manually move up and down to the desired height. Heavy duty portable lifts have a more sturdy frame and a motorized platform lift that extends several feet. Four caster wheels with brakes are secured to the bottom of the frame so it can be rolled around and the brakes can be locked to prevent unwanted movement.
Some heavy portable lifts have a mechanism resembling a pallet truck that can be used to raise the lift and roll it across a floor. This mechanism consists of a handle that transfers hydraulic pressure to a cylinder when it is pumped, lifting the entire lift off of the floor.
For easy transportation, some portable lifts have a trailer hitch attachment and rubber wheels so they can be towed down the road behind a vehicle. Most portable lifts use hydraulic pressure to raise and lower the platform, and this is controlled by an electronic control unit.
Depending on the materials and type of design used to build a portable lift, there are a variety of weight capacities and platform sizes. The dimensions of a lift will depend on the application that it is being used for. The convenience of a portable lift makes it useful in a range of industries; from maintenance, to construction, to painting and automotive repair.
Portable lifts are convenient for reaching high places, but they are also useful as work tables when repairing or assembling heavy objects. Rather than stooping down to the ground, a person can stand up straight and comfortably work on something at their level. Once the work is done, the heavy item can be wheeled on the lift to wherever it needs to go.
Some large portable lifts are custom designed for use in aerospace manufacturing, train maintenance, renewable energy system repairs and more.