Rotary Lift sponsored a webinar as part of the School Transportation Network Series that discussed the proper methodology for lifting every type of school bus.
Doug Spiller, Rotary Lift's heavy-duty product manager, explained the most common type of lifts on the market as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each. He also defined what vehicle lifts are and what they are meant to do — that being, of course, a means of conveyance to maintain a vehicle. They are also valuable tools to ease the inspection process. He added that about 99 percent of school bus facilities nationwide that Rotary Lift has visited, from rural to urban, have some kind of lift in their facility.
"You have to consider what you want to do with that vehicle and if you have the bay space," Spiller said during Tuesday's live event.
For example, runway-style lifts, the most common entry lift, are anchored to the ground and best suited for quick service needs, he added. The disadvantage of this style of life is it takes up a lot of space in the garage, requiring a dedicated bay. It also makes transmission work or removing an axle, for example, more difficult.
Many technicians looking for a lot of space to maneuver under a vehicle, and to use other equipment to perform heavy maintenance, prefer in-ground lifts that can come in two-, three- or four-post configurations, Spiller said. This style offers vehicle-weight equalization options and works well for long or short wheel bases and lifting heavy capacity, from 50,000 pounds to 105,000 pounds. But bus operators should first consider their future before installing these lifts in concrete pits, continuous pits or with metal columns.
The latest technology, said Spiller (pictured, at left), is mobile column lifts that give fleets "the most bang for their buck" because they tend to be the least expensive, can be wired or wireless and can be easily stored when not in use. While mobile columm lifts are quickly becoming the most popular entry-level lift, Spiller said they are not good for wheel work.
"What we've found for the industry is mobile columns and inground lifts are best," Spiller said, referring to school buses.
Meanwhile, frame-engaging lifts that leave the wheels free because they are in-ground lifts are good options for fleet maintenance or other district vehicles, he added.
Spiller also discussed proper safety labeling of lifts, as customers should ensure that any equipment they purchase come affixed with a gold label from the Automotive Lift Institute or with safety logos. He said manufacturers should also be ISO:9001 certified, indicating their manufacturing processes meet quality standards. Spiller said OSHA and inspectors look for this labeling. He also showed several examples of improper and unsafe lifting techniques.
Fleet managers can purchase ANSI standards for safety that provide requirements for installation and service, operation, inspection, maintenance, testing and validation. These books can be purchased from the Automotive Lift Institute.
The free webinar is archived online for 24/7/365 viewing.