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Need a lift?

The sight of a Peterbilt highway tractor resting four feet above the ground made Rotary Lift’s display one of the most eye-catching at this year’s Manitoba Ag Days event in Brandon.

The heavy-duty Mach4 hoist that kept the truck elevated at Rotary Lift’s booth uses moveable, independent lift columns that can be connected wirelessly to each other. A set of eight can raise a machine weighing up to a wopping 144,000 pounds (65,000 kg). Each column has a lift capacity of 18,000 pounds (8,182 kg). The Mach4 hoist columns can raise a heavy truck or tractor up to 69 inches (1.75 metres).

“For any jobs with clutches or drivelines, it takes half the time (to make repairs),” says Kevin LaFlamme, heavy-duty products manager for Rotary Lift.

Because the columns function independently, there are none of the steel cables typically required to mechanically link all the lifting points on permanently-installed lifts. The electronic controller on each Mach4 column will automatically work with the others to keep lift points within one inch of each other, preventing the load from becoming unstable or falling off. They are also capable of compensating for uneven floors.

Although inputs on one control panel will control all the other columns at the same time, the system allows for independent operation of just one or any pair from any point around the vehicle. That allows The Mach4 to adapt to unique lifting requirements. “They’ll stay within one inch of each other, or you can isolate one,” says LaFlamme. The Mach4 also has a position memory feature for quick operation of repetitive lift cycles.

Because the columns are on wheels, they can be moved into a corner of the shop and out of the way when not in use, so only a minimum of floor space is taken up when the hoist isn’t needed. “It’s great for people with in-floor heating,” adds Jason Thiessen of Keller Equipment Supply, a Rotary Lift retailer in Winnipeg. “You don’t have to put bolts down (into the concrete floor).” That could risk puncturing a heating line.

Each lifting column uses its own deep-cycle marine battery for power so there are no electrical lines to trip over or get damaged. “On a full charge they’ll last 20 to 25 complete cycles,” he adds. “They’re also completely waterproof, so you can use them in a wash bay.”

The Rotary Lift columns aren’t restricted to use on the large diameter wheels common on heavy trucks or tractors; the adjustable lifting arms can accomodate even small tires. “You can go down to a nine-inch rim,” says LaFlamme.

To make the Mach4 more versatile, an optional frame lift attachment is available, which allows just two columns to lift a light-duty pickup truck. And a drive-on deck rated for 60,000 pound (27,000 kg) loads is also available for use with four lift columns.

The system requires very little maintenance. “Just check the hydraulic oil level and change it every two years,” says Thiessen.

Adding a Mach4 hoist to your shop will cost about $40,000 for a set of four columns. Theissen adds that factory lead time to have a set delivered is about 25 to 30 working days, but Keller Equipment normally keeps at least one system in stock for immediate delivery.

For more info visit www.rotarylift.com or www.keller.ca. †

About the author

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Scott Garvey

Scott Garvey is a freelance writer and video producer. He is also the former machinery editor at Grainews.

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