How vehicle lifts relate to shop efficiency

by FLEET MAINTENANCE • May 2012www.VehicleServicePros.com

Shop productivity increases can be achieved by choosing the appropriate vehicle lift. Having the proper, most efficient lift for the intended application equates to helping a fleet have its vehicles spend more time on the street rather than in the shop.

“A higher percentage of usability of a fleet keeps more vehicles available, in use or making money for the company,” says Steve Perlstein, sales and marketing manager for Mohawk Lifts, a leader in lift technology (www.mohawklifts.com).

Regardless of what type lift a shop uses, there are increases in efficiencies to be had, he says. One specific example is the lifting speed of a mobile column lift.

MOBILE COLUMN LIFTS

“There are two types of mobile lifts: screw drive or hydraulic drive,” explains Perlstein. “A screw drive takes two to three minutes to reach full height and to drop down, while some hydraulic mobile lifts take just 60 seconds fort each operation.

“If a technician was to raise and lower a screw-driven lift four times a day, the efficiency difference is 20 minutes a day. Over a 200-day work year, the technician will have spent 26 hours raising and lowering a hydraulic mobile lift versus 80 hours operating a screw-drive mobile lift.

“If your internal overhead shop rate is $50 per hour, the efficiency difference in these two types of mobile lifts is $2,700 a year, every year, year after year.”

SIDE-BY-SIDE LIFTS

Two post side-by-side lifts, available in capacities from 7,000 to 30,000 pounds, are the most popular lift used, according to Perlstein. These lifts take up the least amount of shop space, give technicians the most under-vehicle access and leave tires hanging for wheel service.

If there is a single drawback, he notes, “It’s always the four to five minutes it takes to position the swing arms under the vehicle lifting points. Yet, there are some lifts that offer the convenience and access of a two post lift without the need to position all four swing arms.

“Essentially these optional accessories make the two post lift into an instant ‘on’ and instant ‘up.’”

FASTEST LIFT

The fastest lift to use is a drive-on lift, Perlstein says. Drive-on lifts range from the more popular four post type to parallelogram and scissor style lifts.

The speed of using drive-on lift, as the name infers, is that vehicles can be simply driven on the lift,” he says.

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