How Does A Platform Lift Work?

Platform lifts can be used to quickly and easily transport goods in industrial settings, without the need to install a full passenger or service lift.

Platform lifts – like all other kinds of lifts – work using a lift drive system. Platform lift drive systems can be classified into three main types, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages. Platform lifts used in modern buildings are controlled electronically by a central processor, and motors or pumps are activated to move the platform between levels by this processor unit.

There are a considerable number of benefits to installing platform lifts in your home or business, including:

  • Efficiency – A platform lift can carry a lot of weight while retaining its speed and safety. They are also energy-efficient, as they don’t consume large amounts of energy.
  • Safety – Platform lifts are significantly safer than staircases when it comes to transporting people between floors.
  • Independence for users – A platform lift can help people to remain independent in their own homes, as it allows easy access to different levels of the home.
  • Confidence and stability – They provide safety and stability to users when on the move, and their features protect users from accidents and injuries.

The three main types of drive systems for platform lifts are:

In this system, the lift platform is connected to a hydraulic ram. Hydraulic fluid from a central reservoir is pumped into the ram in order to move the lift. By increasing the pressure using this hydraulic fluid, the ram is extended and the lift rises. The flow is then reversed to lower the lift. Its main disadvantage is that the hydraulic fluid can sometimes emit an odour in hot weather. The mechanism for hydraulic drive systems also requires quite a lot of physical space.

In this lift drive system, there is a steep screw pole that runs the length of the shaft. It is driven by a motor on the platform, and this motor turns the nut to make the lift move up or down, depending on which direction it is turning. A wall is often necessary to support this system, especially for lifts with longer travel distances. One disadvantage of this system is that the thread on the screw and drive nut is prone to wear and tear, so routine lubrication is required, often via a self-lubricating system.

With this system, chains are encased in a durable polyurethane casing, which guides the chain and prevents it from slipping. The chain is attached to the drive shaft, which is turned by the motor and gearbox. The driveshaft rotates, pulling or pushing the chains, which move the platform up or down. Drive systems of this type are highly durable, allowing a much longer warranty period.

Looking for a Lift Solution for Your Home or Business?

At Sheridan Lifts, we’re highly experienced in lift installation all over the UK. Platform lifts can be a vital part of any accessibility strategy, and help to make sure businesses are compliant with all relevant legislation, as well as providing more opportunities for access for people of all abilities. Platform lifts can be used to help improve:

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  • Physical accessibility for users with disabilities, or users who have difficulty using stairs, including people with mobility problems or those with visual impairments.
  • Providing access to people with injuries, especially in areas where they would otherwise be unable to use the building. It can be difficult or impossible to transport an injured person down a flight of stairs, whereas platform lifts provide easy access to medical personnel, equipment, and people who need medical treatment.
  • Accessibility for families with children, pushchairs or prams is made easier with a platform lift.
  • Easy transport of goods and merchandise, particularly heavy goods. Using a platform lift can also improve safety in these instances, as team members don’t have to shoulder the burden and risk of carrying heavy goods.

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Why Choose Sheridan Lifts?


We are naturally a fully affiliated member with LEIA (Lift & Escalator Industry Association) and we carry all required certification to undertake approved lift installation works.


Customers are assured of peace of mind that all lift installations are undertaken with due diligence and project management whilst products used boast of being completely open protocol ensuring the ease of future maintenance and fault finding.


We can also offer extended warranties of up to 5 years.

What Else?

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We are contactable 24 hrs a day via a dedicated UK based phone number


We have engineers and lift technicians situated throughout the UK

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We are a family run and managed business offering a more personable service focused on the needs of our customers


Longevity and loyalty – some of our longest serving clients have been on our books for 30 years. If that isn’t testament to our services, then nothing is!

FAQs About Platform Lifts

Yes, there are several different platform lifts available, and at Sheridan Lifts we are passionate about always building our knowledge to ensure we’re offering a wide range of lift solutions to our customers. Among the many types of passenger, commercial and platform lifts, we work with:

  • Access Lifts – to improve accessibility and mobility in commercial buildings, office buildings, hospitals and care homes, and residential buildings.
  • Home Lifts – to improve accessibility at home for those with lowered mobility.
  • Through Floor Lifts – an eco-friendly and energy-efficient option for increased accessibility at home.
  • Step Lifts – an alternative to steps and staircases in public buildings and shared spaces, usually outside.
  • Stairlifts – innovative and space-saving lifts to help reduce the need for using the stairs in residential homes and improve safety for residents.

The price of platform lifts will depend on many different factors, including the type of platform lift you choose, the functionality your lift needs, where your lift is installed and the building structures your lift needs to work around. At Sheridan Lifts, our team take the time to really get to know you and your project, which means we are able to give you the most accurate and cost-effective quote for the work you need.

Like all lifts, platform lifts require regular maintenance in order to ensure they remain safe, secure, functional and compliant. After we carry out lift installations, the team at Sheridan Lifts offer long-term lift maintenance contracts, so that you know your lift is always working as well as it can be. There are slightly different maintenance regulations for goods lifts and passenger lifts, but this is something we’ll be able to advise you on during the installation process. No matter what kind of lift you choose, our team of experienced lift engineers will visit regularly to make sure your platform lifts are always safe, secure and fit for purpose.

The short answer here is both! Platform lifts are an excellent tool for improving accessibility both at home or in commercial settings. Whether you’re looking to improve access at home for someone with mobility issues, or want to improve your building’s accessibility in public spaces, the team at Sheridan are always happy to advise on the right type of lift for you.

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