The next step up from a linear actuator in lifting performance is a lifting column.  Like a linear actuator, a lifting column converts the rotational force of an electric motor into linear movement.  However, a lifting column goes one step above and provides you with the long-stroke action to horizontally or linearly carry, drop, push or pull platforms attached to them.  A lifting column does this using stages of telescopically encased tubes in various shapes either round, square, rectangular or varied to move the platform to distance that might be unsafe or mechanically difficult to attain using a single linear actuator.

A lifting column or a telescopic lifting device, which usually uses linear actuators with guides, is rapidly growing in use and applications in a variety of industries, from height adjustable desks to movable shelving, to medical devices and examination tables for patients.  Which begs the question, is there any difference in lifting columns that come in different shapes and should we consider variables such torsion resistance and a weight capacity of a lifting column before selecting one for a specific application?

A lifting column comes in a large variety of shapes and sizes and even comes with multiple lifting components that synchronize for lifting the specified platform.  With the variety of sizes and shapes each have varied load handling capability, torsion resistance, and rigidity and a superior bending moment.

From a purely scientific view, a circular lifting column will always have more torsion rigidity and resistance to bending.  This is simply because of the fact that a round or circular column has a uniform cross-section all around and as a result has a high moment of inertia.  In layman’s terms, a circular column due to its uniform cross-section has a higher tendency to resist angular acceleration and thus its material remains rigid and does not buckle or bend and thus provides greater torsion resistance than that of a rectangular or square column.

This is why adjustable height chairs usually have a circular column because they carry as much as 200-250 lbs of weight.  The circular cylinders and rods allow the column to withstand not only static weight but also the repeated pressures put on it while sitting down and getting up.

When it comes to stability however a rectangular shape is more stable than a round or a square shaped lifting column.  Rectangular tubes are more likely to provide the best overall stability because the ratio of the long-side to short-side of the rectangle can be tuned to optimize both inherent instabilities (longitudinal and latitudinal) as opposed to treating them equally.

It should be noted, however, that material used to fabricate the column, manufacturing and assembly techniques employed have a huge impact on a product’s stability.  But, from a purely physics-based approach, rectangular lifting columns tend to be the most stable of them all.

On the other hand, however, square and rectangular lifting columns not only are more aesthetically pleasing but also provide more stability where needed.  For example, when using a lifting column for a standing desk or an ergonomically adjustable station, square and rectangular lifting columns are more stable and provide a much better fit with the surrounding equipment and thus is suitable for such application.

When you are selecting a lifting platform, multiple factors such as cost, torsion resistance, the required level of stability, and suitability for the area where the application will be used should be considered.

In conclusion, with the modern metallurgical techniques, powerful motors and compact design Loctek Motion can provide lifting columns whether you are looking for ergonomic help in manufacturing environments, standing desks, conference tables, storage racks or kitchen cabinets.

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