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Vertical Platform Lifts: How They Work

Mar 23, 2008
Vertical platform lifts, or wheelchair lifts, help many Americans each year that could not otherwise gain access to their house or climb the stairs. Depending on the model Vertical platform lifts can lift well over 800 pounds distances of 12 feet or more. This is ideal for those who take care of someone in a wheelchair because both people can use the lift at the same time.

So, how does a vertical platform lifts work exactly? Generally vertical platform lifts utilize either what is referred to as a worm drive or worm gear or a hydraulic pump system. Units that use a hydraulic pump system can be extremely expensive, both to purchase and in the event that any work needs to be done on them. Hydraulic units work by compressing heavy oil, called hydraulic oil, in cylinders. The pressure is then released which lower the units. Hydraulic lifts require a large amount of maintenance, much more than that of units with a worm gear, and since you are dealing with highly compressed oil you must be wary of burst pipes and hoses.

Worm gears or worm drives have been in use for hundreds of years and are incredibly safe, reliable, and efficient. The famous Italian artist and inventor Leonardo Da Vinci, always years ahead of his time, invented the worm gear in the 1400's. Since then they have been refined and improved upon to bring you an incredibly efficient and dependable device. Worm gears are used in many different types of machines. Some common examples of machines that use the worm gear are mining equipment, presses, mills, ships rudders, large trucks, bridges, musical instruments, and much more.

The worm gear is essentially a toothed gear and a screw. The screw is referred to as a worm. The gear interlocks with the worm in such a way that as the worm turns the gear is turned as well. There are many advantages of using a worm gear. One of the reasons that the worm gear is the ideal lifting mechanism for a vertical platform lift is that it reduces the rotation speed of the motor and greatly increases torque, the force that is used to move objects. To achieve the same efficiency provided by a worm gear you would need a unit that is approximately 12 times larger than the worm gear. Before the worm gear was used on the rudder of ships, it would often take more than 4 men to turn the ships wheel in bad weather.

The worm gear is used as a means of tuning many different musical instruments like the guitar, cello, base, and mandolin. This provides a great way to see a worm gear in action and get an idea of how your vertical platform lift will work. Newer guitars often enclose the worm gear, but older guitars and instruments like cellos and bases have an exposed worm gear. These are generally at the top of the instrument. The peg that you turn with your finger is the worm, which in turn rotates the gear tightening or loosening the string.

The worm gear is a great invention that revolutionized machines as we know them today. They provide the best and most efficient way of lifting a vertical platform lift. Worm gears are also extremely safe and require little maintenance.
About the Author
Brad Brubaker, a technical writer for www.vertical-platform-lifts.com, is an experienced wheel chair lift specialist. Vertical-platform-lifts.com is the premier source for wheelchair platform lifts in addition to mobile platform lists. For more information visit their site or contact their highly trained specialists.
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