“Bottle jacks are the simplest form of self-contained hydraulic systems, so there are not many key features that differ,” Fox added. “In some cases, the hydraulic ram travel in the jack is not long enough for the application. It is advantageous to have bottle jacks with extension screws in their rams in order to make the most effective use of the hydraulic ram stroke.”
“Some bottle jacks do not pump up as fast as other manufacturer’s jacks due to using a smaller diameter and shorter stroke pump piston,” Fox said. “Lower-cost bottle jacks often provide a smaller base, thus limiting the stability of the jack under load.”
“Technicians should always ask themselves how well the bottle jack will perform over time,” Adamson said. That means checking into company warranties and how well a company backs their product.
TAKING A STAND
Capacity, height and type of restraint are the key features for jack stands.
“The tech should make sure the stand’s capacity and support heights are adequate for their applications,” Fox said. “Most stands requiring higher lift heights include the pin-type design. The tech should make sure there is not too much free play between the stand’s support column and its base, and the locating pin should be secured to the stand’s base by an adequate tether or chain to prevent loss.
“The jack’s base should fit flat on the floor.”
“Technicians will be most concerned about quality of construction, lifting range and whether the stand uses a ratcheting lock or a safety pin,” Adamson agreed. “Most techs will prefer the ratcheting style of stand to a pin-locked stand because they can set the stand with one hand rather than two.”
Fox said that, with all lifting equipment, techs should be careful not to use equipment beyond its rated capacity. As a distributor, that’s an area where knowing your customer and the needs of his shop will come in handy to get them the right equipment.
“Not all lifting devices are required to include an overload system which prevents the device from being used beyond its rated capacity,” Fox said. “When selecting a lifting device it is better to choose a device with a rated capacity higher than the anticipated load to be lifted. Doing so will eliminate the need to use the device beyond its rated capacity and therefore increase the service life of the device.”
On the horizon, Adamson said the move to lighter and stronger equipment is key as techs want it to be more versatile.
“We are seeing an increasing demand for lighter, more portable equipment that can be brought to the point of service in the field, rather than bringing the vehicle to the technician. This move to lighter equipment has also increased the use of newer materials that are stronger than traditional steel components but are also much lighter than steel,” he said.
When you want to give sales a lift, consider your customers’ individual needs for capacity, safety and more with shop floor lift equipment.