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Wheelchair lift (sometimes wheelchair platform lift or simply platform lift) is a type of elevator, either vertical or inclined, that is designed to carry a wheelchair from one level to another by having the wheelchair roll onto a platform. Wheelchair lift has two types; inclined and vertical.

Inclined wheelchair lift

An inclined wheelchair lift is basically a stair lift that has a platform rather than a chair or in addition to a chair. The person on wheelchair roll onto the platform and then the stair glide takes you up to the next floor. Since it has to accommodate a platform it has to be beefier than a stair lift and the platform is going to take up a lot more space than the chair. A wheelchair platform lift will be substantially more intrusive than a stair lift. This type of wheelchair lift requires a staircase at least 36 inches wide, but some systems may require a wider staircase.

Vertical wheelchair lift

Vertical wheelchair lift (or platform lift) looks a little like an elevator. The platform goes straight up. Sometimes the platform has something like a scissor lift underneath, but some have conventional hydraulic or a screw/nut driven system.

Vertical wheelchair lifts usually only have a drop of a few feet of the floor base rather than getting from one floor to the next floor. These are often called porch lifts. They are perfect for porches and for split-level homes or buildings or dropping down into conversation pit areas or similar small elevation changes.

Vertical wheelchair lifts normally have outer manual glass swing door instead of automatic doors. Fewer units, however, have electric-powered swing doors which have to be opened by pressing the door open button on the outside or inside the platform.

Fixtures and control

Most wheelchair lifts have a small controller inside the platform which consists of a up and down or floor buttons, and emergency buttons like alarm. Some units also have emergency phone installed inside the platform. In most vertical units, when controlling the lift, the person have to press and hold the floor button in order to make the platform moves up and down, this also applies on the external call button. When the hall call or floor button is released, the platform will stopped moving or in other case, it will lower itself down to the bottom floor and refuses to move until the button is pressed and holded again. Some units, however, are automatic and doesn't required to press and hold the button in order to make the platfor moves up and down.

In the inclined units, the person simply press the direction buttons (depends on his/her direction he/she wanted to go) on the platform, or in some case a mechanic or staff is pressing the direction buttons from the bottom or top floor where the platform terminates.

Benefits and detriments of wheelchair lifts


One of the benefits on inclined wheelchair lift is that the person can roll right on and right off, without transferring to a seat.


Since vertical wheelchair lift is not an enclosed box, the person could also in the risk of getting caught between the ascending platform and the surrounding structure. Protections can be put in place, but it is just not as protected as an elevator with its enclosed shaft.

Another problem is the risk of falling from inclined wheelchair lift, especially on very steep staircases.

Notable manufacturers




(Silver Rocket) Elevator @ Bukit Timah MKT&FC

A wheelchair lift at Bukit Timah Market & Food Centre, Singapore (video: ElevationLowJJ). This lift has been replaced into a new Kone MonoSpace 3000 MRL in 2013.


Raffles City underpass-DOMUS LIFT Platform elevator-0

IGV (DomusLift) platform lift at Raffles City Underpass, Singapore (video: circleline28

External links


Drive systems: Traction • Winding Drum • Hydraulic

Types of elevators: Double DeckDumbwaiterFireman'sFreightIncline • PassengerResidentialWheelchair lift

Concept: CapacityDestination dispatchElevator algorithm • Elevator control systemElevator machine room • Elevator maintenance • Elevator monitoring systemElevator modernizationACOP & UCMPMachine room less elevatorMajor alterationsRated speed

Elevator systems, controllers and equipments: Elevator emergency automatic rescue device • Elevator fixtures • Elevator keys • Elevator special modesElevator doorsDoor camDoor interlocks (Interlock wiring communication system) • Door restrictorElevator Inspection CertificateEmergency stop buttonFloor designatorsGate switch • Old Deadman controls • Overspeed governorMotor-generator set & Silicon-controlled rectifier (for DC-powered elevators) • Insulated-gate bipolar transistor (for AC-VVVF-powered elevators) • SelectorTape headRegenerative converter (for AC-VVVF-powered elevators)

See also: List of elevator fixtures guide • List of elevator and escalator companies • Elevator door sill guide (Non-proprietary elevator component door sill guide) • Floor numbering (Unlucky floor numbers) • Elevator incidents and accidents

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