With the ability to extend out from a work deck to conform around equipment edges, sliders have proven especially useful on aircraft maintenance stands and other work platforms where straight decks leave dangerous gaps between the deck and the equipment.
Sliders have been a part of work platforms for many years. But if you think you know all there is to know about sliders and their benefits and challenges, you may want to think again. Very recently sliders have undergone a revolution, dramatically improving safety and ease of use.
The Original Sliders
The original sliders were far from user-friendly. After being positioned around equipment, each slider had to be individually secured in place using a friction lock under the deck. The setup of the sliders alone took a significant amount of time. In addition, they were often flimsy, and many facilities resorted to placing plywood over the sliders to decrease the flex. In short, they were usually more trouble than they were worth.
The Modern Version
In recent years, some manufacturers have developed a far superior slider. One big change is the slider locking method – a pneumatic slider locking system. Rather than securing each slider individually, the pneumatic system allows all sliders to be locked instantaneously with the flip of an air switch, and they remain secure even when air pressure is lost. If air service is not available, the sliders can be secured manually with a foot pedal or one turn of a wrench.
Some manufacturers have also significantly improved the strength of the sliders by using a sturdier material, virtually eliminating flex. Sliders now feel as secure as the deck itself.
Today, a new revolution is hitting the work platform market. Whereas traditional sliders sit approximately 2” (5 cm) below the work deck, the new “thin-line” platforms have sliders that lay hardly over 1/8” (.3175 cm) below the main surface. This system decreases trip hazards and allows for closer fit up to equipment (due to the decreased deck size) for little to no extra cost.
|2″ gap between deck and slider||1/8″ gap between deck and slider|
A second innovation in work stands is the introduction of ultra-conforming sliders. Traditional sliders are limited by the width of the material; the wider the slider, the greater the potential gap between deck and equipment. But even narrow sliders leave some gaps, especially on curved edges. The new ultra-conforming sliders are able to rotate to accommodate the shape of the equipment, which is particularly useful for curved surfaces on aircraft, space vehicles, and other similar equipment.
Controlled Precision Slider System
Spika’s latest and most precise slider system design allows users to adjust sliders to fractions of a millimeter while on top of the work deck. Using an intelligent gear structure, this system provides a smooth and accurate adjustment of the sliders. Watch a video of it in use.
Are you interested in work platform design? You may be interested in these other blog posts:
- Industrial Work Platforms: Aluminum or Steel?
- Four Methods of Work Platform Actuation: Which is Best for You?
- Five Key OSHA Standards for Work Platforms