As mentioned before, the only types of lifts that will bring efficiency and safety are specialized server lifts that are designed specifically for the data center. Because the process of transporting servers manually can be a grueling task, techs will likely appreciate the help of any machine to lift heavy servers. This is understandable, but acquiring a server that wasn’t meant to perform inside the data center will not deliver the assistance that data center techs are looking for. You’re probably thinking “All I need is a machine that will lift and carry the heavy servers for me.” That’s true, but you need a machine that will protect your equipment as well. Using a lifter that wasn’t meant to carry servers will create an unnecessary risk of equipment damage.
A specialized server lift will have certain specifications that make it compatible for use inside the data center. Having these specs will also provide the necessary protection for your equipment during the server deployment and installation stages. This post will take a close look at the Dayton Manual Lift to determine whether or not it is suitable for use inside the data center based on its compliance with the 14 specifications that a data center Server Lift must have.
Design intent is critical when it comes to data center lifts, because the environment in these facilities is vastly different than, say, a warehouse. It’s important for a lift to be small in width and have the maneuverability to travel around tight corners without damaging other equipment around it. The Dayton Manual lift appears to be a smaller version of a forklift featuring a width of 24” and a length of 34 ½ “. Because the machine is front-loading, it will have to be turned and positioned length-wise in front of the server rack, a position that might be impossible to achieve in the narrowest data center aisles.
Servers, chassis, switches, and power supplies can easily weigh hundreds of pounds. In addition to being able to handle the equipment, the lift must also possess enough stability to allow for a more efficient installation process. With a load capacity of 400 lbs., the machine will not be able to handle the heaviest servers that can weight around 500 lbs. Furthermore, the mast frame of the machine is constructed out of aluminum, making the machine less rigid and stable.
Having a stable platform that doesn’t move or bend during alignment and installation of the equipment is crucial to prevent accidents from happening. A stable platform can also speed up the installation process. One of the biggest obstacles that the Dayton Manual Lift has is that it does not possess a platform that the equipment can sit on. Instead, the machine features two steel forks, creating the risk of the servers falling in between the forks if the equipment moves or slides. Even if a platform accessory can be attached, it will not have the required stability and rigidity.
Because most data center aisles are cramped in space, it’s important to have a lifting unit that allows for side-loading of the equipment instead of loading from the front. The Dayton Lift is a front-loading machine, and this will make it difficult to position the servers. The controls are on the back of the machine, and this will obstruct the view of the equipment and ultimately affect the alignment of the equipment with the server rack.
The Dayton Manual Lift models are not FCC or CE certified.
Data center lifts, both manual and automated, must have the ability to precisely align the equipment with the server racks. A specialized lift will have the controls that allow for very fine up and down movements for precise positioning with the server rack. The controls of the Dayton Manual Lift do not allow for incremental movement, making it very challenging to correctly align the servers to the right U level.
It’s important for these lifting units to have the capacity to raise equipment to 8 feet in height, because that is the standard height for most data center racks. The Dayton Manual Lift is only capable of lifting up rack mount equipment to 6 feet in height. This will obviously create problems down the line for data centers that need to install or remove servers at the highest levels of the rack.
A proper breaking system is an integral component of the specialized server lifter, for it enables stability during the positioning of the equipment onto the rack. The type of breaking system necessary in these machines is a dual point stabilizer break, which resists rotation and any side-to-side movement. The Dayton Lifts do not have stabilizers, but instead have wheel locks, which don’t provide any stability.
A genuine server lifting machine will have large caster wheels that allow it to traverse the unique flooring of a data center. In addition to having extensive cables and wires running throughout the floor, it can also have raised floors as well as grated floors. A machine that has small wheels will be difficult to move through these types of environments. The Dayton Manual Lift has two large wheels in the back of the machine, but the front has two very small casters. If the small wheels cannot properly navigate over the cables and grates, it can be difficult to keep the equipment safe during transport.
Through extensive research, it is apparent that side-loading machines are the most suitable for data centers. Because most data centers are crowded with various types of equipment as well as having very narrow aisles in between the server racks, only a side-loading machine will provide the greatest accessibility to its operating controls. As mentioned before, the Dayton Manual Lift is a front-loading machine, which will not provide easy access to the operating controls. Typical of front-loading machines, the operating controls are on the back. The technician would have to access the controls in the back, if there’s any room, but will have an obstructed view of the equipment. This will clearly affect the installation process by reducing efficiency and increasing the risk of damaging the equipment.
Because the Dayton Manual Lift does not possess 10 out of the 14 specifications that a data center server lift must have, it can be concluded that these machines are not safe for use inside the data center. A lift that was not meant to handle IT equipment will not have the necessary features that protect the equipment during transport and installation. Further, a lift that was not meant to deploy servers will not have any features that help during the installation phase. To avoid problems that will arise from acquiring a sub-par lift, invest some time on ensuring that your server lift possesses all of the 14 specifications.