How Hydraulic Systems Support People With Disabilities

Hydraulic systems play a major role in our lives making everything we do much easier and safer.  They also enable people with disabilities to live as normal life as possible. Businesses and tourist attractions are making their premises increasingly accessible due to the Equality Act 2010.  These adaptations make a huge difference in the quality of life for people who would normally be excluded from everyday activities. Businesses also benefit from making their premises accessible by having more visitors and gaining good reviews on sites such as Trip Advisor.

Disability platform lifts are a common sight in garden centres, museums, schools, cafes and restaurants. Being able to take a disabled relative for a lovely day out because a venue is accessible makes a huge difference to people’s lives. Many disabled people miss out on doing activities they enjoy because they simply cannot access the venue.  Companies who make the effort to make their premises accessible show that they welcome everyone. This is greatly appreciated by people with disabilities and their families.

Individuals benefit from hydraulic systems in the form of hoists which are operated by carers and medical staff. They allow carers to transport their clients safely from bed to chair without damaging their carers backs.  This not only allows people to spend time with their families it also reduces the risk of pressure sores and infections.  

Disability Platform Lifts

Disability platform lifts are freestanding units that are attached to the building structure at each level.  They are operated by a button that must be depressed throughout the whole journey giving the passenger full control.  There are many safety features such as safety gates which ensure a safe ride. They can accommodate wheelchairs and a small number of standing passengers at any one time.

Hydraulic systems are used to move the lift upwards making the ride very smooth and safe.  Museums, garden centres, cafes and other tourist attractions have disability platform lifts installed to make them more accessible.  Offices and other working environments also install such lifts. This gives employees and clients equal access regardless of any conditions they have restricting their mobility. Hydraulic systems play a major role in allowing people to enjoy pleasures in life others take for granted.

Hydraulic Systems At Home

Sometimes hydraulic systems in the form of hoists enable disabled people to do simple tasks such as getting out of bed in the morning.  People may become immobile for several reasons including, paralysis, brain injury and dementia. These people just cannot mobilise themselves so they rely on hydraulic systems to help them to move to other areas of the house.  Caregivers use hoists and harnesses to transport people from their bed to their chair so they can live as normal a life as possible.

Hydraulic systems mean that very little energy is used to raise the person from a lying position to a sitting position.  Caregivers are trained in moving and handling as well as how to use the harness and operate the hoist. Hydraulic systems in the hoist ensure that they do not injure themselves in the process of helping others.  People who are unable to move would be very isolated and incur many pressure sores without the use of hydraulic systems.
If you would like to know more about hydraulic systems or platform disability lifts contact us and we would be happy to offer advice.

When Were Wheelchair Lifts Invented?

Wheelchair lifts or disability platform lifts are becoming a common sight in cafes, museums, visitor attractions, schools, universities, shops, and offices.  This is due to companies adhering to guidelines outlined in the 2010 Equalities Act, Installing wheelchair lifts makes more venues accessible for people who have restricted mobility.  There are many reasons people may struggle to climb stairs these include; physical disability, heart conditions, breathing difficulties, visual impairment, chronic pain, and fatigue.

Fortunately, our attitude towards disability has improved significantly in recent years.  We are more aware of the impact of numerous disabilities on people’s quality of life. Review sites such as Euan’s Guide encourage those with limited mobility to review venues around the country relating their accessibility and ease of access.  This allows wheelchair users to plan days out without disappointment. It is a requirement for workplaces and educational establishments to support staff and pupils by improving accessibility.

The first wheelchair lift was invented in 1966 by an American who adapted his van so he could get to work.  Installing wheelchair lifts in vans allow people who use a wheelchair to live as independently as possible. The concept of wheelchair lifts has been around for decades but their mainstream use is a fairly recent development.  Disability platform lifts have revolutionised the lives of wheelchair users by enabling them to work, enjoy attractions and not be restricted by their physical needs.

How Do Wheelchair Lifts Work?

Wheelchair lifts are designed to transport disabled people up to six levels in buildings.  They can be self-supporting or mounted into a lift shaft. The lifts are designed to hold four people or a combined weight of 400 kilograms and easily accommodate a wheelchair.  Freestanding structures are attached to the building at each floor level with safety interlocks ensuring safe operation of the lift.

Access to the lift can be via a ramp or the construction of a pit so the lift is accessed at floor level.  All lifts have a secure safety door with access suiting individual building requirements. Lifts are operated by using constant tactile pressure buttons with a call station at each level.  Options such as; automatic door operators, backup battery and platform mounted phone. All of Challenger’s wheelchair lifts are designed to conform with the Equality Act 2010 and the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 with regard to access for disabled persons.

Where Do You Find Disability Platform Lifts?

Disability platform lifts are becoming increasingly common and are located in many different venues.  You can find them in museums, cafes, pubs, tourist attractions, schools, and offices. Many companies incorporate wheelchair lifts into their venues during refits and upgrades.  Making your venue accessible is good for business because you are not excluding members of the community and alienating their families. Positive attitudes towards disability is making it even more important that venues consider the Equalities Act 2010 when they plan their layout.

If you would like to find out how you can incorporate wheelchair lifts into your venue contact us and we would be happy to discuss your options.

How Many Types Of Lifts Are There?

Lifts have revolutionised all aspects of life allowing buildings to be accessible and to improve deliveries and services in many different industries.  A lift is simply a platform that moves up and down carrying either people or products. Presently there are five main types of lifts; barrel hoists, disability platform lifts, Mezzanine Goods Lifts, scissor table lifts and service lifts.

Archimedes invented the very first lift in 336 BC using a simple open carriage contraption pulled up vertically using hoists.  The very first lifts were manually operated by people, animals and occasionally wheels. They were used to transport water, building materials and other heavy objects with ease.

The Romans continued to use these types of lifts for many years contributing to the rise of the Roman Empire.  King Louis XV commissioned the very first passenger lift in 1743 to carry him up to his mistress’ apartments on the second floor.  The technology was very much the same as the lifts the Romans used. Lifts became mechanically operated in the 1800’s due to advances in technology. (Source:

Barrel Hoists

Barrel hoists lift barrels and cylindrical objects between floors in licensed premises, public houses and restaurants.  They are simple to operate and maintain and only require a 240-volt single phase supply. Constant pressure push buttons provide complete control during all aspects of the operation. A braked motor interlinked to a sprocket assembly with twin chains enables equal distribution of the load.  Two cantilevered steel arms support the load within the mainframe.

The barrel hoist is able to transport beer kegs, drums and gas cylinders to different levels regardless of their awkward shape.  Compliance with European safety regulations results in a safe working environment with no risk of personal injury.

Disability Platform Lifts

Disability platform lifts enable businesses and visitors centres to comply with the 2010 Equality Act.  They allow people with mobility issues, breathing difficulties, low energy and heart conditions to enjoy work and pleasure without restrictions.  People with disabilities are able to effortlessly move between different levels on a simple platform using constant pressure buttons. There is a call station at every landing stage and the lift is able to operate between two to six floors.

Each lift has a capacity of 400 kg which is approximately four people.  The mechanism is a screw and nut assembly powered by 380/3/50 vac electric motor.  Flooring is none slip and each lift is self-supporting with only the landing stages connected to the building structure.  Access to the lift is either via a ramp or level access at floor level.

Mezzanine Goods Lifts

Mezzanine goods lifts make it possible to move goods, cartons, pallets and other large deliveries without manual intervention. Each lift is individually designed to suit the environment it is operating in.  

They are self-supporting structures with fixings at each floor level. Access is via a ramp or shallow pit area. There is an electronic push button at each level with safety gates.  All Mezzanine goods lifts comply with the Essential Safety Requirements of machinery safety regulations.

Scissor Table Lifts

Scissor table lifts are used to load trucks and unload goods in order to place them in storage.  They are available with single, double or triple vertical scissors depending on the length of the platform.  Every unit is designed to accommodate each individuals companies requirements in relation to the platform size and lifting height.

They can be installed in either a pit or at floor level with the option of a concertina safety mesh around the perimeter.  Hydraulic power packs drive the lifts either mounted or remotely depending on its size. Work cradles can be mounted onto the structure if required.

A full perimeter pressure safety bar causes the lift to stop immediately if there is an obstruction when it is being lowered. The lifts are built to comply with the essential safety requirements of machinery safety regulations.

Service Lifts

Service lifts are traditionally known as, ‘Dumb Waiters’, because they transport food and dirty dishes to and from the kitchen.  They are set at a height which makes unloading and loading comfortable for the user. They are also referred to as under bar lifts and are supplied with either a 50 kg or 100 kg capacity. The maximum distance is 4000 mm between each floor.

They are operated by a push button call station with lights to indicate progress.  A sprocket and chain drive drives the lift and is mounted in a machine room at the top of the lift.  Food grade stainless steel is used and the machinery complies with the essential requirements of machinery safety regulations.  Challenger Dumb waiters also carry a CE mark.

If you would like to find out more about the different lifts we manufacture please contact us.


Lifts With Wow Factor

At Challenger Group we are very proud of the lifts we manufacture but are first to admit that; disability platform lifts, mezzanine goods lifts, scissor table lifts and service lifts are more practical than interesting.  We thought that we would lighten up your coffee break or commute with examples of amazing lifts all over the world.

AquaDom – Germany

Source: Visitsealife

If you dream of swimming in the deep ocean with lots of beautiful fish without getting wet, then this truly is the most amazing lift you will ever experience.  The AquaDom is located in a sealife centre in Berlin.  The dimensions of this lift structure are:-

  • 25 metres high
  • 2000 tons
  • 12 metres wide
  • 1 million litres of water
  • Over 1,500 fish
  • ¾ divers clean the tank
  • 8 Kg of food is used every day.

People even get married in the AquaDom – hopefully that is not when there is a school trip on.

Rising Tide Elevator

Source : Oasis of the sea Blogspot

Keeping with a nautical theme, if you love the ocean and a cocktail or two this is the lift for you. The Rising Tide Elevator or Bar, as it should be more accurately called, is located in the MS Oasis Of The Sea.  The lift acts as transportation and entertainment in the largest cruise ship in the world.  Apparently the whole journey takes 8 minutes and you can enjoy cocktails with 34 other passengers.  There is even a zip wire on the deck of this giant floating paradise.  If you happen to win the lottery you may want to experience this lift for yourself – don’t forget to send a postcard.

Hammetschwand Elevator – Switzerland

Source: My Switzerland

Located in Switzerland, the Hammetschwand Elevator is not for the faint hearted.  With the accolade of being the highest external lift in Europe.  It travels 153 metres to look over Lake Lucerne.  The experience last less than a minute.  In 1935 it was upgraded from being a wooden structure to being a metal one.  It is obviously the quickest way to reach the summit so if you don’t like heights close your eyes.

The Sky Tower – Auckland (NZ)

Source: Wikipedia

The Sky Tower is huge with a wonderful view and iconic status in the Auckland skyline.  There are three glass fronted lifts that whizz up to the top in seconds and the structure is earthquake proof.  Here are some more amazing facts about the Sky Tower.

  • 328 metres tall.
  • Tallest man made structure in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Part of the Skycity Auckland Casino Complex.
  • Took three years to build 1994 – 97.
  • Has a rotating restaurant
  • Five levels can be accessed by the public.
  • Over 415,000 people visit per year.

One family wasn’t impressed by the structure on the 7th August 2011 because the lift stopped working for 45 minutes and they were trapped inside. (Source: Auckland Now)

They are all amazing lifts in awesome settings but they all actually work on the same principle as that conventional lift in your office – only in a much more exciting location.  If you would like to find more information about our practical well manufactured lifts please contact us here.

How Installing a Disability Platform Lift is a Bonus For Your Business

In 2010 the Government passed the Equality Act which aims to ensure that employees with disabilities are not discriminated against in the work place.  As well as legislative guidelines relating to issues such as; ability to fill in application forms and interview attendance, the act requires the employer to, ‘Make Reasonable Adjustments in The Workplace’.  These adjustments refer to either adjusting working hours or providing special equipment to make mobility easier.  The Disability Discrimination Act in 2005 required public areas to provide suitable arrangements to allow disabled people to move around with the same ease as an able bodied person.

One of the most effective ways to adjust the workplace environment, so that it is accessible for both employees and customers is to install a disability platform lift.  Challenger manufactures disability platform lifts that conform with both the 2005 Disability Discrimination Act and the 2010 equality Act.  Our disability platforms provide safe movement between floors in commercial, retail and public access buildings.  Challenger can also provide annual servicing and maintenance contracts for all installations.

Challenger Disability Platform Lifts are designed to operate between two to six floors with a maximum travel of 9000 mm. The disability platform can be entered/exited through various sides of the lift compartment.  Each disability platform can be designed to fit individual floor plans.  The lifts are self contained units that only require being fixed to the building at each floor level.  Safety interlocks ensure the safe operation of the platform.

Each disability platform lift can accommodate up to four people or a combined weight of 400 kg. The system is a screw and nut assembly powered by a VAC electric motor.  Each disability platform has a non slip floor covering, which will comply with health and safety guidelines.  All disability platforms are fitted with a back up battery, control box at each level and a phone which means that passengers will not be left stranded if there was a power cut.

Without a doubt installing a disability platform lift is a bonus for your business because it means that you won’t miss out on employing a fabulous member of staff, or closing a lucrative business deal because they couldn’t access your building.

If you are interested in installing a disability platform in your business premises we would be happy to offer any advice.  Please click here to contact us.