PIT EWP or HOIST

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Pit or Hoist?

When upgrading workshop facilities or building new premises careful consideration goes towards what equipment would best suit the fleet, the industry and improve workplace productivity.
If the facility has an existing pit is it worth upgrading? Does the workshop have a drive-through bay? Which suits a drive-through bay best, a pit or a hoist? Is the workshop roof high enough to accommodate a hoist?

What workplace safety needs to be addressed? Hoist safety and its safe working load (SWL) has improved over the years, however, it does introduce another set of responsibilities towards adequate staff training and annual inspections by certified personnel.

Are hoists a cheaper alternative to a workshop pit with an EWP?

This is dependent on the anticipated life of the operation.  If leasing a workshop short term, hoists could possibly be a viable option.  If the operation is projected to be long term then a workshop pit should be considered.   Workshop pits fitted with an EWP are a low maintenance, life-long asset which requires minimal maintenance.  Hoists tend to have higher maintenance and running costs due to the wear and fatigue associated with heavy lifting, reducing the service life of the hoist.  Hoists also require full re-certification every 10 years by a registered certifier or the manufacturer.

Evaluate your return on investment (ROI)

As well as contemplating the initial fees and running costs of the investment, resulting productivity, efficiency and safety are possibly more important to assess.

The comparison table below may offer some guidance with the decision process.

The EWP

The Standard Pit

Truck Column Hoist

Steps to access the vehicle undercarriage
Drive vehicle over pit.
Move onto platform with tools, parts and equipment.
Adjust platform to required height using the remote radio transmitter.
Remove barricades or pit cover.
Drive vehicle in place over the pit
Climb stairs/ladder into pit carrying tools, parts and equipment.
Drive vehicle in position to be hoisted.
Move column hoists and align under
wheels.
Operate column lifts by the control panel or remote.
Walk under vehicle to check height is correct, move from under the vehicle and re-adjust height if required.
Move tools, parts and equipment to location.
Vehicle types suitable
All vehicle types suitable All vehicle types suitable Most vehicle types suitable
Lifting adaptors may be required to suit different axle types or tracks.
Some heavy machinery may not be suitable.
Productivity during service & maintenance work
Equipment and tools can accompany mechanic on the platform.
Exit pit by raising the platform while on-board; or via mobile stairs or emergency ladder
Mechanic required to enter and exit the pit for tools and equipment.
Heavy equipment may need to be lifted into pit.
Exit pit via steps or ladder
Equipment and tools can be placed nearby.
Avoid column hoists when moving in and out from under the hoisted vehicle.
Height variances can be addressed easily while working by
using remote transmitter to raise/lower the EWP.
Inspections are more thorough, as no straining or reaching required.
Easy to access awkward places.
Height variances can be addressed by using stands, props, step ladders or crouching.
Inspections are less efficient and possibly not as thorough
as may need to strain or crouch.
Difficult to access awkward places.
Height variances can be addressed by adjusting the height of the hoist. Safety regulations require users to move from under the vehicle while adjusting the hoist.
Able to access awkward places with adjustment.
Hoist lifting adaptors and columns may obstruct view or access.
Access to the full length of long vehicles or hitched trailers is achieved by re-positioning the vehicle over the pit. Access to the full length of long vehicles or hitched trailers is achieved by re-positioning the vehicle over the pit. Access to the full length of long vehicles requires numerous hoist columns.
Trailers will most likely need to be unhitched from vehicle.
Service crew can work on the vehicle from underneath, side and top all at the same time. Service crew can work on the vehicle from underneath, side and top all at the same time. Service crew can work on the vehicle at one level once hoisted.
Undercarriage of vehicle is fully accessible, obstruction free. Undercarriage of vehicle is fully accessible, obstruction free. Hoist columns and lifting adaptors may obstruct view and access.
Brake testing can be performed over pit.
Run tests requiring undercarriage inspections are safer over a pit using a low stand.
Brake testing can be performed over pit.
Run tests requiring undercarriage inspections are safer over a pit using a low stand.
Brake testing cannot be performed with vehicle hoisted.
Run tests requiring undercarriage inspections are more hazardous as high stands
are required.
Trolley jacks can be rolled onto platform, and lowered onto pit rails.
Platform can be used to lift loaded trolley jack to floor level.  No manual lifting required.
Trolley jacks can be manually lifted onto pit rails.
Loaded trolley jack requires removing or unloading manually.
Tall jacks can be rolled into place.
Brake jack wheels, be cautious if top heavy load.
Lower hoist to load trolley jack.
No manual lifting required.
Efficiency between vehicles’ service/maintenance
Job completed, drive vehicle from over pit.
Drive in next vehicle over pit.
Job completed, drive vehicle from over pit.
Drive in next vehicle over pit.
Lower vehicle to ground.
Move hoist columns clear from vehicle. Drive vehicle out.
Drive next vehicle in to position.
Move column hoists into position under wheels, ensuring suitable alignment.
Operate column lifts by the control panel or remote.
Work completed for the day.
While on-board, raise platform to exit the pit accompanied by tools and equipment.
Store tools and equipment away.
Work completed for the day.
Carry or lift tools and equipment from pit.
Exit pit via steps or ladder.
Manually cover pit or move barricades into place.
Store tools and equipment away.
Work completed for the day.
Store tools and equipment away.
Store hoist columns away or ensure trip hazards have been reduced.
Workshop requirements
High workshop roof clearance not required. High workshop roof clearance not required. Workshop requires high roof to allow for vehicle lifting.
No extra storage or floor space required.  Platform covers pit, increasing workshop floor space without obstruction. Pit requires placement of barricades or a safety cover. Storage space required for column hoists.
Safety
EWP can be adjusted to suit vehicle undercarriage and mechanic. Machinery with ground clearance not suited to the height of the pit or mechanic forces crouching or straining. Hoist can be adjusted to suit vehicle undercarriage and mechanic.
Props are not required, reducing work hazards. Props often required to reach, increasing work hazards. Props not required.
Hoist columns and cables increase trip hazards.
Pit is safely covered by platform immediately upon completion of work. Barricades or pit cover placement is time consuming and frequently forgotten. Hoist columns remain a hazard when not in use if not stored away.
Vehicle has no risk of falling. Vehicle has no risk of falling. Vehicle has risk of falling in the event of hoist failure or incorrect setup prior to lifting.
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