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The “Whys” of ServerLIFT Product Design

At ServerLIFT, we believe that server-handling devices should be able to cope with any tricky transport, positioning, or transfer issue an operator may face. Thanks to careful research and the deliberate decision to keep all three of these essential functions at the forefront of all design choices, ServerLIFT data center lifts can be safely operated by any person, in any data center, with any server rack, to lift any server in the world.

The following are the three critical design elements ServerLIFT incorporates into our products, and the “why” behind each of those data center lift design choices. 

1. Easy transportation

man easily using a serverLIFTOperators can bring a ServerLIFT data center lift into elevators and they can pass through standard-sized doors with no problem. 

Transporting servers through a multi-level building can be harrowing without the right tool for the job. Small spaces, heavy equipment, and unpredictable elevator movements could spell disaster for workers attempting to move servers with push carts or other manual options. 

General-purpose warehouse lifts may seem like a better option for transporting servers than manual carts, but they are often too big to squeeze through doorways and onto elevators. 

The tallest of our data center lifts fully retracted is less than 6.5 feet* (198.12 centimeters) and easily fits through standard doorways and elevator openings (* they extend up much higher to reach even the tallest racks). This ensures that you don’t have to stop and transfer equipment in mid-transport or risk trying to maneuver through doorways with oversized carts.

Glide smoothly past obstructions on the floor or overhead. 

In addition to the common floor obstructions found in any workspace, data centers often have cables and ramps that workers must contend with during transport. Overhead obstacles such as shelves and trays complicate matters. 

That’s why we equip our data center lifts with large, stable wheels capable of making precision turns. We have also built in a 0.9-inch (2.29-centimeter) clearance that allows cables to pass safely beneath the undercarriage. Our lift devices will not bottom out, get stuck, or tip over while traversing any common data center obstacles, as long as the equipment is used according to instructions and your data center uses standard ADA ramps. 

Comfortably navigate through narrow aisles.

Data center aisles are typically designed to minimize, not maximize space for easy server transport. Racks may be positioned as closely as 3 feet (91.44 centimeters) apart or less, presenting numerous problems with safety and convenience when it’s time to move servers around. 

Many lift manufacturers design their devices to receive or offload equipment from only the front, within a closed frame, or from a single side. To install or remove servers from both sides of an aisle, an operator would either have to carefully turn the lift 180 degrees (if space even permits it) or exit the aisle entirely to execute a wider spin. 

ServerLIFT data center lifts address this problem with an open frame design. Our devices allow access to both sides of the aisle, with no turning or rotation required. If operators need to reach the other side of the unit, they can easily lock the wheels in place, guaranteeing safety and stability, and slip past without having to turn the lift around. The open frame is designed to give operators free access to servers and all equipment, even in the tightest of confines. 

2. Effortless positioning and support

Safely reach any position without sacrificing stability.

SL-1000X ServerLIFT in a doorway所有 ServerLIFT devices can extend up to reach heights of at least 8.16 feet (248.72 centimeters). The SL-1000X device reaches higher, to a maximum of 8.7 feet (265.18 centimeters) without any extension. These heights are sufficient for nearly all data center racks. 

For racks beyond this height range, we recommend attaching the RL-500 Platform Riser to carry servers up at least 9.5 feet (289.56 centimeters) high. Additionally, the PL-500X Platform Extension allows lifts to access the lowest positions in a server rack, even down to floor level. 

Unlike other purported “data center lifts,” ServerLIFT machines are fully stable and won’t shift during a move all on their own. Other lifts that are marketed as appropriate for data center tasks don’t have a braking or self-stabilizing system. Some even have to be strapped to your rack to prevent it from tipping over! A ServerLIFT-brand lift will never lean on your valuable equipment for stability.

Maintain perfect alignment throughout the transfer. 

Improper post-to-post or front-to-back alignment can disrupt the process of installing servers into racks. When working with such heavy, expensive hardware, the last thing operators want is to have to jostle it around and use brute strength to achieve optimal positioning. It’s not safe or practical, and it could lead to injury or equipment damage. 

ServerLIFT solves this problem by fitting our units with stable, rigid frames and platforms that don’t sag or bounce  under heavy loads. Additionally, our SmartTILT™ system allows workers to precisely and incrementally change the angle of the platform until the server is perfectly aligned with the rack posts. 

Eliminate the need for manual intervention when sliding servers into racks.

During server installations, operators typically line up the server installation points with rail slots or fixed brackets by hand, which is a difficult endeavor under the best of circumstances. 

We understand that our customers may be moving server kits that weigh hundreds of pounds, multiple times a day. It is simply not feasible for one person to manage, and difficult even for a team. 

When using slotted rails for server attachment, the RS-500X Rail Lift takes the effort out of the process with adjustable forward angling. A single operator can manage the move of a several-hundred-pounds server without requiring assistance from coworkers, and without much physical exertion. The server nailheads drop effortlessly into place and workers can move on to the next task. Similarly, when installing onto fixed brackets or rails, the GT-1000X Glide Table, makes sliding any server in (or out) of the rack and into position, nearly friction-free and easy.

3. Safe and efficient transfers into and out of racks

Provide steady support throughout the entire installation or removal process.

When you choose the correct type of data center lift, you ensure that your servers are supported continuously throughout every transfer. There should be no point where server equipment is unsupported or where the installation/removal must be assisted with human strength.

Lifts from other manufacturers, including general-purpose warehouse lifts, may be able to extend to the necessary heights and hold payloads in place with some degree of stability, but they do not offer adjustable, supportive platforms capable of fitting servers precisely into racks. 

Choose your ServerLIFT data center lift based on your need for front loading or side loading. While some of our units feature side-to-side sliding shelves that allow travel of six inches on either side, others support front-loading with shelves that reach forward. These options provide support where operators need it most, allowing one person to move and place a server with ease. To extend the reach of a front-loading ServerLIFT device to over twenty inches (50 centimeters) into the rack, consider using the FE-3X Extended Shelf attachment in concert with the SL-500FX Front Loading lift. 

Maintain complete access to all important areas while protecting workers from dangerous moving parts. 

With ServerLIFT data center lifts, all potential pinch points in the winch-pulley-cable system are enclosed, out of reach of the lift area where workers’ hands would be. Operators can safely access all areas of the lift platform without worrying about their hands being caught in a moving cable or pulley. 

hand getting caught in racklift vs safety with a serverlift

Despite the enclosure of the lift system, operators still have access to all necessary places on the front, back, and sides of the platform. The frames and structure of our lifts do not interfere with installation, removal, or any other operational process. 

Keep the unit and all payloads stable, even while moving.

Stability should never be an issue during server-platform transfers. Heavy equipment plus expensive hardware equals a recipe for disaster if something gets dropped or tips over. Vibrations and bumps from uneven floors may cause internal damage to servers if they are on unstable lifts. 

Uneven floors, ramps, and top-heavy payloads are no problem for ServerLIFT data center lifting devices, as long as the size and weight of transported materials does not exceed the recommended capacity. The large wheels are capable of handling less-than-ideal terrain, including standard-sized ramps and raised or grated floor tiles. 

Stabilized brakes quickly and securely lock the data center lift’s wheels into place, blocking even slight movements or wobbles from occurring when loading or unloading servers. 

Our server-handling lifts are so stable that you may believe it’s unnecessary to use safety straps. We recommend you always use the safety straps to ensure all hardware is secured during movement. Strapping and unstrapping servers is easy and convenient with our data center lifts.

ServerLIFT is the only data center lift designed with all of these goals in mind. 

No other company produces server-handling devices that meet or exceed all three of the crucial design considerations that affect safety, convenience, and efficiency. That’s why ServerLIFT is proud to remain the industry standard server-handling solution in the world. 

Does your data center need a dedicated server-handling lift, or can you get by with push carts and hand-cranked platforms?

Each data center is unique. A center may have wide or narrow aisles, high or low server racks, many or few obstructions to navigate during transport, or any number of other variations. Some data centers occupy multiple levels of a building, while others are on only one floor.

It’s easy to assume that the choice between data center lift  solutions for each company would be slightly different, depending on those unique needs. Small or budget-restricted data centers often try to manage using manual tools such as push carts, hand-cranked platform lifts, or even lifting straps wielded by whole teams of workers. 

Though data center managers may have mastered business operations and built a solid team of employees that keeps the daily workflow moving smoothly, it can be easy for them to overlook the many challenges those employees face when performing routine server moves. 

It may seem cost-effective to stick with manual, warehouse tools or to purchase a cheap, poorly designed lift brand claiming to be up to the task, but a great data center lift is an essential investment that pays dividends over the long term. The time saved during effortless server transfers and the employee morale gained by easier job duties translates directly to higher productivity and a stronger business model. 

Consider also the safety of operators and the cost of downtime because of injury or replacing broken hardware from the use of improper server handling equipment. The misconception that data center lifts should be inexpensive, or that they are a luxury purchase instead of a necessity, leaves your highly trained people frustrated and creates conditions that could be dangerous for workers or damaging to expensive equipment. 

It’s important to purchase server-handling devices designed specifically for use in data centers, and let the data center’s needs dictate which model and optional additions offer the most benefit. 

Contact us for help.

For more information, or if you need help choosing the best ServerLIFT unit for your data center’s unique needs, contact the ServerLIFT team. 

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