When You Need To Lift Servers The Size Of Pigs

We’ve heard so many Data Center Technicians tell us they have to perform server lifts on some real “pigs” and it’s a problem for them. They weren’t describing the snorting farm animal but referring to huge, oversized servers that go far beyond “standard depth”.

When they need to lift large and heavy devices like this, some server lifts just don’t cut it because of difficulty navigating and carrying the pig sideways through narrow aisles. Standard warehouse lifts are out of the question for too many reasons to mention here.

Serverlift device for over sized loads. Server Lifter model RackLift 600RS.

Server Lifts capable of lifting devices the size of pigs.

It is very difficult and dangerous to lift and shift devices like that, not to mention the cost of dropping one. Part of the challenge is getting the load onto a lift and the second part is balancing it safely during transport.

The big question was,
“How Do You Solve This Problem?”

We presented this issue to our engineering department and asked them to come up with a design that would solve that problem. We placed five constraints on them:

1. Like our other models, it has to remain a tower style design so this unit could also rotate 360° in a two-tile aisle.
2. It has to cost the same as our previous, popular model the RL600S.
3. Lifting capacity has to be 650 pounds, 295 kg.
4. The lift table hast to protrude about 2 feet, 30 cm into the rack.
5. It has to lift pigs. (This probably should have been #1)

After taking more time than us impatient marketing guys can endure they presented us with the model 600RS.

It was worth the wait people!

They came up with a simple, yet elegant design. The vertical posts were constructed in a way to allow the RackLift 600RS to operate with an “open back” design. Because there are no obstructions in the back or the front, the lift table supports a pig-sized load that can be balanced in the center with the head end and tail end overhanging. Furthermore, just getting the device onto the table is so much easier with open space to manipulate it from both sides.

We presented this to our focus group and they were visibly excited about the new concept. Some asked if the lift table could be made to slide in both directions. Since not everybody needs this we incorporated the bi-directional sliding tray as an option for those who do.

RackLift has the right server lifts to raise pigs on your server farm.

A Warehouse Lift Is Not A Data Center Lift

Genie Lift No, RackLift Yes

When you’re evaluating a serverlifter for your data center there are two aspects to consider – one is about suitability for use in data centers and the other relates to code or policy violations. Sure, you can buy a general purpose warehouse lift very cheaply and in doing so you’ll be trying to jam a square peg into a round hole.

Here’s Why:

Most are poorly designed, not robust and hard to maneuverable in tight aisles. They lack adequate safety features that prevent them from toppling over or dropping your equipment. None of them have a means of extending the load into the rack. It’s like using a screwdriver to chisel wood; looks similar, lower price, easy to get purchase approval – but the result is an epic fail.

The other concern is for lift systems that use hydraulic fluid or oil in the mechanisms. Sooner or later they leak. Not a question of “if” but “when”. A couple drops on the floor are worse than invisible banana peels. Someone is sure to slip and fall. Unlike cartoons – not funny. Oil driven systems are probably a violation of your data center policies which are in place for a good reason – to protect people and equipment.

If you truly have a tight budget you might consider buying a demonstrator model or a rental unit to save money. For gosh sakes, whatever you do, get a proper data center lift tool to protect your people and equipment. Nuff said.