How Lift Kits Add Value to Modular Workbenches

How Lift Kits Add Value to Modular Workbenches

Nathan Bong
Nathan Bong
PA Engineer

Having a workbench is essential for accomplishing hands-on work like carpentry, metalworking, and electronics repair. Modular workbenches offer the added versatility of being able to adapt to different conditions by changing the composition and arrangement of their smaller subdivided modules at any given time. If you’re looking for project ideas to help add value to modular workbenches, this is just the article for you! We will be covering examples of how electric linear actuators and lifting columns can be integrated into modular workbenches to achieve greater capabilities and more features.

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Lifting Columns as Lift Kits

Lift kits are commonly used in many different industries for applications that require a method of providing mechanical lifting motion. When multiple lifting columns are required to travel synchronously, we recommend columns with hall effect sensors. This is because they have hall effect feedback that goes to a control box which would then be able to make the needed corrections if one side travels at a different speed from the other. All our lifting column sets also come with remotes and control boxes included to ensure a fully functioning setup. We will cover some examples on how lifting column sets can add value to modular workbenches when utilized as lift kits.

 

Mobile Lifting Workbenches

A comfortable working height reduces the risk of back pain by ensuring the user has proper posture and ergonomics. Modular workbenches may not always come with the ability to conveniently change heights to accommodate users changing from standing and seated working positions. The DIY Automated Mobile Lifting Work Bench built by Ken Smith of Kiser Controls demonstrates how a workbench can utilize lifting columns as lift kits to allow for height adjustments.

 

Ken was able to raise and lower his DIY Automated Mobile Lifting Work Bench using our FLT-04 lifting column set. Each corner of the workbench has a lifting column securely integrated, ensuring greater stability and a high lifting capacity of 700 lbs with the four legs combined.

 

FLT-04 lifting column set

FLT-04 lifting column set

 

Custom Ergo Carts

Custom Ergo Carts

 

In some cases, modular workbenches may require a compact size for superior portability and convenience when moving from one building to another. Our customers at AE Ergonomics also utilizes some of our custom lifting columns for their Custom Ergo Carts. These carts are designed for mitigating workplace injuries due to heavy lifting, however, the design idea is similar in concept to usable lift kits for modular workbenches. Their versatile custom designs can accommodate for different work conditions by being available in configurations with 1 pillar, 2 pillars or 4 pillars.

 

Each Custom Ergo Cart can be chosen to have either aluminum or butcher block tops. The powerful motors and high quality aluminum construction ensured each custom column was capable of handling their rated weight capacity of 450 lbs. Paired with our RT-11 remote, the FLTCON series of control boxes allows the Custom Ergo Carts to stay in synchronous motion when integrating multiple columns.

 

Hidden Cabinets

Hidden Cabinets

 

Cabinets with racks and holders are often used as storage places for tools and equipment.Workbenches with a smooth flat working surface on top are the most ideal for general purpose work, however, a flat static work surface can limit how much extra storage space is available. Hidden cabinets are a useful design that can be integrated into workbenches for increasing storage capacity while still being able to accommodate a flat top surface when concealed. An example by our customer Todd DeYoung shows how a hidden cabinet is useful for increasing storage capability:

 

Todd’s hidden cabinet was being raised with our FLT-06 lifting column set. Using a two-leg lifting system is the perfect fit for his hidden cabinet design since only a portion of the top’s surface was required to raise and lower.

FLT-06 lifting column set

FLT-06 lifting column set

 

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Linear Actuators for Modular Workbenches

Electric linear actuators are highly versatile electronic devices for providing linear motion as they can come with different specifications, shapes, and sizes to accommodate many different applications. We will cover some examples on how electric linear actuators can be integrated to keep workbenches organized while also improving operational convenience.

 

Automatic Drawers

Automatic Drawers

 

Drawers offer a convenient way of keeping our belonging well organized by having multiple compartments keeping things physically divided into sections. Compact sized electric actuators can be used for providing linear motion to open and close drawers inside workbenches. Our PA-14 mini linear actuators are popular units for various woodworking projects as they offer a compact size, many different stroke length options and sufficient force ratings for light duty tasks. Their simple brushed DC motors can be controlled using double pole double throw type rocker switches. Below is a video example on how to wire a DPDT rocker switch:

 

Linear Actuator Vise

Linear Actuator Vise

 

Many hands-on tasks require both our hands working to achieve maximum effectiveness. Using a vise helps to keep a workpiece fixed in one spot. By integrating electric linear actuators into the vise of a modular workbench, user operation becomes much more convenient. An example of this concept can be found from the Linear Actuator Vise Build which was done by DIY Builds:

 

 

By harvesting an old power lift chair, the power supply and linear actuator parts ended up being salvaged and put into use for the project. This concept can also be practiced using models such as the PA-04 actuators which offers a variety of different stroke lengths and comes with a standard force rating of 400 lbs.

 

Secret Tail Vise

Similarly, a tail vise can also make use of electric linear actuators to improve user convenience during operation. A tail vise is mainly intended to hold a board flat on the surface of a workbench for tasks such as sanding, planing and routing. DIY Builds shows an example of this concept with the Secret Tail Vise in action:

 

The harvested actuator used in this example was also salvaged from an old power lift chair and could use a model like our PA-04 actuators. Not only does the PA-04 come with a variety of stroke lengths and a 400 lbs force rating, it also has IP66 ingress protection to protect from dust and particulates experienced by modular workbenches.

PA-04 linear actuator

PA-04 linear actuator

 

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In Summary

The integration of electric linear actuators and lifting columns can help add greater value to modular workbenches. Whether it be for increasing storage capacity, keeping tools organized, improving operational convenience, or adjusting workbench heights, lifting columns and electric linear actuators offer you endless possibilities!

We hope you found this article informative and helpful at giving some new ideas for your future workbenches! If you have any queries or wish to discuss our products further, please do not hesitate in reaching out to us! We are experts in what we do and want to ensure you find the best solution for your application.

sales@progressiveautomations.com | 1-800-676-6123

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