Raising/lowering platform for trailer

Project Info


Raising/lowering platform for trailer


  • The mechanical aspects of how to get the raising/lowering platform lift and stay level.
  • Designing a suitable mechanism to cover the great height of the trailer.
  • The raising/lowering platform must have a 2000 lbs lifting capacity.

Design Assumptions:

  1. The design is for a standard pallet to comfortably fit onto the lift
  2. Hydraulic flow valve below.
  1. The specs on the hydraulic pump system:

a.     Double acting Power-Up / Power Down
b.     3200 PSI Max. Relief Setting For Increased Lifting Power on A port
c.     1500 PS Max Relief Setting on B port
d.     2.0 GPM
e.     6 Quart Translucent Reservoir
f.      SAE # 6 Port, Horizontal mount
g.     Handheld pendant with 20-foot removal cord and start solenoid

Work done:

My client, Weston, from the United States asked me to design a raising/lowering platform mechanism installed on his trailer for loading and unloading a smaller vehicle such as a tractor on the trailer.

He gave us a very simple hand sketch (a very rough drawing illustrated below) as a general idea of what he purposed, in addition to the dimensions and overall sizes of his trailer.
This was the beginning of the story and then our engineering team started to design the raising and lowering mechanism for the trailer. The main challenge was to find a suitable mechanism to cover the great height of the trailer.

To raise the platform in one stage only, there were some challenges to be solved and we had to use long arms. Meanwhile, the cargo had to remain level and horizontally to guarantee the safety during the loading and unloading processes.

This lifter is supposed to raise an amount of 1 Ton and to work both manually and with a hydraulic pump. Meanwhile, the total weight of the system was restricted.

During the first simulation of the mechanism, and FEA analysis of the parts individually, we understood that the first design is not qualified and doesn’t meet the engineering standards. Therefore, we modified the design and by adding a net framework beneath the mechanism, the overall strength increased and while the weight was almost stable.

By the second simulation, we found out that the design works properly;
Below you can find some images of the product and the analytical research as well as the FEA report.
The customer was very satisfied and excited finding his idea converted into a tangible reality.



The client was looking for an engineer to design a steel platform with hydraulic cylinders to raise and lower on the back of a trailer (a raising/lowering platform). He needed the help of an engineer to get this lift right.
He wanted it to lift 36 inches up and down while keeping the platform level, which required two hydraulic cylinders that were correctly positioned and have flow adjustment valves. The hydraulic cylinders and levers were found on amazon.com.
It was necessary to have about a 2000 lbs lifting capacity while the main platform needed to be 56 inches wide and 48 inches long.
The project was completed successfully with a thorough satisfaction of the client. The mechanical tests, as well as the FEA virtual tests, went through with positive results.

Weston C.
October 9, 2017
Mechanical Engineering