A weight off your shoulders
It’s a common scenario – you pull a workmate from one job to help you lift an air conditioner or another big piece of gear. Multiply this a few times through the duration of a project and you could have significantly hampered the productivity of the whole team.
What’s more, if you’re commandeering a ladder while trying to cart a huge box, you inevitably run the risk of damaging the product or over-straining yourself.
That’s why Taiwanese company KSF has introduced its range of JDPower portable lifters into the local market. By turning a two or three person job into a one man effort, the company aims to make sites safer, reduce the chance of injury and improve a team’s productivity.
This portable range comes in two options for contractors – the CM series and the CA lifter. Both are primarily aimed at residential and small industrial projects for general installation, building and maintenance tasks. All the lifters can be setup and operated by one person and the CM340 can even be carried in one hand when folded.
To operate the device, a hand-held variable-speed trigger is used. This controls a compact electrical motor and winch which winds the telescopic mast up and down. Additionally, for situations where no mains power is available, a cordless drill or manual winding handle can be used to operate the lift.
Each product in the CM lifter range has individual telescoping legs to stabilise it and enabling operation on uneven surfaces such as steps or paths. Depending on the model, the CM series can lift up to a height of 4.9m and can lift weights of up to 140kg.
The CA lifter is targeted at heavier loads and can lift weights of 150kg to a height of 4m. It also has fold-out legs, which give more stability. This is anchored by the rectangular-section mast, which also strengthens its stance.
All lifters come with interchangeable accessories which allow it to lift a range of materials, such as plasterboard, glass, awnings, garage doors, solar heaters and sheet metal.
However, it’s through the lifting of air conditioners where the devices truly excel – the lifters can be configured for lift operations adjacent to walls, air conditioners can be lifted in-line with their wall-mounting brackets. And to increase safety, all lifters have level indicators to help vertically align the mast before operation.
The original lifter was developed by Chin Piao, a Taiwanese inventor, who has experienced numerous successes and pitfalls in his remarkable career.
After designing and building the world’s first integrated rice harvester, he was seen as a critical person in developing Taiwan’s agricultural industry.
“When I was younger, I was working in a rice farm and we had to harvest rice manually, which was very hard work. I needed to find a way of making it easier,” Chin Piao says.
The Taiwanese Government set up a project to mass produce the harvester, however Chin Piao was shut out of the project as government process and bureaucracy took over. Poor management, corruption by government officials, and lack of patenting meant that his ideas were soon taken by other nations and copied.
Then, to make things worse, after starting a successful agricultural machine company, corrupt local government officials closed his factory claiming he owed a lot of unpaid tax. When Chin Piao refused to pay the local officials, they shut him and his employees out of the factory. Unable to meet compensation payment requirements, Chin Piao was forced to close the factory in 1979. For the next 10 years Chin Piao and his wife sold fruit and vegetables to make ends meet, but he continued to invent.
“I didn’t worry; when I failed I just keep going. I’m the sort of person who loves to just keep inventing. When people have had problems in the past, they come to me and I try my best to solve their problems.”
After seeing the heavy loads people installing and maintaining air conditioning units were having to lift, Chin Piao invented his first portable lifter, which was hand wound with adjustable legs. Using the savings from the fruit business, Chin Piao made 50 units and sold them directly.
In 1992, in order to expand his business, Chin Piao started KSF. From there KSF has never looked back – selling 50,000 units worldwide. The family tradition has continued with one son, Yu Ta, heading up design and research and the other son, Yu Feng, taking care of manufacturing. Both sons are now directors of JDPower – the local Australian distributor for KSF in Australia.