Vanair ETL-500 Lifts up to Three Heavy-duty Tools from Your Truck and Places Them on the Ground



Designed to eliminate the back-breaking labor of loading and unloading a crew’s heavy tools from their truck, Vanair Mobile Power Solutions ETL-500 Electric Tool Lift raises as many as three pneumatic tools—weighing up to 500 lbs—at a time. With the ETL-500 on board, tools can be transported to a jobsite and then safely lifted from the truck to ground level. The ETL-500 connects to its vehicle’s battery for power, eliminating the need for a hydraulic system. Because the unit’s actuator has a compact design, it is easily incorporated into the frame of the lift, leaving more room in the bed of the vehicle, or in a compartment.


That’s good news for crew members who either themselves have suffered injuries, or seen their colleagues do so, moving heavy equipment out of work trucks. If a truck isn’t equipped with the lift, workers sometimes have to pick up and transfer heavy equipment on their own or in tandem. The weight of tools used on jobsites varies greatly, but can reach well into hundreds of pounds. Lifting those tools and placing them at ground level can be taxing on one’s back simply because of the weight, and also because it isn’t always an ergonomic-minded feat. In fact, to reduce the risk of injury, OSHA recommends that an individual lift no more than 50 lbs at work.Even with machinery that weighs less than 50 lbs, crew members might have to rotate, take a few steps, then bend over or squat to put down the equipment.

“For any fleet that has a focus on safety, especially with long-term employees, the ETL-500 is a shining example of a technological solution to help ease people’s work in the field,” says David Imach, strategic sales and marketing manager for American Truck & Trailer Body in Tracy, California. For 25 years, Imach’s employer has been building and assembling medium- and heavy-duty trucks, trailers, equipment, and upfits for a range of clients, including utility companies, municipalities, and water agencies. “Vanair has a national footprint, and we are Vanair’s number-one dealer in the USA.”

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The ETL-500 Lift measures 4 ft in height and 17.5 inches wide. Its maximum reach is 32.25 inches, with a maximum drop of 2.5 ft, and a drop edge of 17.37 inches. The unit weighs 225 lbs, and is capable of lifting more than twice that. When folded inside a truck in a resting position, the lift measures 16.5 inches deep.
“It folds all the way into the back of the cabinet so there is room to put lots of other things in,” Imach says.

ETL-500’s features include:

  • Integrated tool holders
  • Integrated protective equipment safety shut off
  • Various hex tool posts ranging from 7/8 inch to 1.25 inches

The Lift’s power specifications:

  • Linear actuator: 12 VDC ball screw with 30 amp maximum current draw
  • Maximum stroke speed: 2.7 inches per second
  • Temperature range: -40 degrees to 140 degrees F
  • Operating voltage range: 10 to 16 VDC (ratings at 12 VDC normal), with built-in thermal overload control

Imach says American Truck & Trailer has installed hundreds of the lifts on trucks. They usually make each accessible through a roll-up door, which Imach says is safer since roll-ups increase worker visibility, keep them away from traffic, and eliminate the chance of doors opening during travel. Since tool sizes and truck sizes vary, some of American Truck & Trailer Body’s customers leave an array of tools onsite while their truck is equipped, so it is configured with plenty of space.
“There are no two work trucks that are completely identical,” Imach says about the finished trucks.


San Jose Water Agency is one of American Truck & Trailer Body’s best customers, Imach says. One of the tools this water agency uses is a large 90 lb jackhammer, which can weigh between 85-95 lbs. An example of how the agency might use the jackhammer is to bust through asphalt to access a leaking pipe. Without the ETL-500, crew members would have to unload the jackhammer from the truck manually.
“You’d probably have two people lifting it, which means you need twice the manpower,” Imach says. “The lift saves a lot of backs of workers that are 25 to 30 years out in the field.”


Vanair Manufacturing has been providing mobile power solutions since 1972. The company serves customers in the mechanic and service industry, municipalities, utilities, railroad maintenance, the Department of Defense, and construction. For more, visit


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