A platform lift is an electromechanical device that is mainly designed to help disabled people with accessibility. Today it is also commonly known for those who are not disabled to use the lift as a luxury product for comfort and security.
You can find many of these modern platform lifts in low rise buildings and private residences. As far as we know they are often being seen with screw driven technology.
In this technology, the platform is attached to a guiderail, a large screw and two nuts. The screw is being placed in the centre of the guiderail going through the lift car (yoke). It is then being secured by a drive-nut and a safety-nut.
The drive-nut itself is connected to an electrical engine that makes the drive-nut spin. While spinning it will make the platform move up and down on the screw while being perfectly centred thanks to the guide rail.
Are platform lifts safe and when did they become popular?
Platform lifts are indeed safe to use. Screw-driven platform lifts with enclosed shafts has been in the market since the 1980’s and the demand is still growing.
By doing a quick research you can see that many lift companies started their businesses in the 1980’s. One of the reasons could be due to the non-discrimination laws and accessibility regulations that was implemented by the EU and particularly by Sweden and Norway during this time. In one of J. Tøssebro articles from 2016 he explained that the regulations did also seem to have impacted the awareness and the general image of users and usability. Because of these regulations we can nowadays see elevators, escalators and lifts in every public building.
At the same time the ageing population is increasing rapidly every year. United Nations (UN) mentioned in their World Population Ageing report from last year (2019) that the global population aged from 65 year and above has increased from 6 % in 1990 to 9% in 2019. These numbers has been projected to rise further to 16 per cent in 2050, which in turn means that one in six people worldwide will be aged 65 years or over in that time.
By having these numbers in our mind we could only assume that we will be seeing much more platform lifts in the future.