Focus on Automatic/Mechanical Parking - Mechanical Stackers Important to Growing Range of Users
March, 2002Continued urbanization in the U.S., resulting in increased congestion, has made mechanical parking systems not only more attractive in recent years, but essential in certain markets. Parking conditions that exist in all our major cities, not only New York, combined with rapidly escalating property values make mechanical parking systems more important to a growing range of users.
Mechanical parking systems range from two-high car stackers to multi-level carousal and automated parking systems, constructed from mild steel and usually operating with cables or mechanical arms. The equipment lifts vehicles into the air using hydraulic power.
Mechanical car stackers in their simplest form offer exciting levels of efficiency and income potential for parking operators and owners. They further offer an extremely cost-effective storage system for the automotive industry, for service departments, car sales and body shops.
Suitable for use in virtually any parking or storage facility, mechanical parking systems provide added capacity and convenience. Most units can be installed both indoors and outdoors and operate in all weather conditions. (Remember airliners can operate at altitudes of, say, 30,000 feet and their hydraulic controls do not freeze.)
Some units require little or no site preparation and can be mounted at grade on a well-compacted blacktop surface without any ground attachment system.
There are many benefits of these systems, not the least of which is cost. Mechanical car stackers cost about a third of the price of conventional concrete or steel structures. Another important benefit is the speed of installation -- a good supplier should be able to install and commission up to 30 units in a day, providing 150 to 200 additional spaces within a week.
Going forward, good quality mechanical stackers that are well maintained can provide many years of trouble-free operation. There are many examples of mechanical systems that have been in use for more than 25 years. Maintenance costs per parking space are much lower than that of conventional structures, around $250 per annum.
Mechanical parking systems can be easily dismantled and relocated or removed, providing additional capacity for temporary projects and shorter-term requirements. Some suppliers provide the flexibility of tailored financial programs to provide equipment under both operating and financial lease options as well as outright purchase.
The equipment is very safe, with better systems having positive mechanical safety locks and conforming to rigid U.S. and California earthquake codes.
Mechanical parking systems come in a variety of models designed for specific customer needs, some lifts have variable width and height options allowing the user to customize the installation to suit their operation.
When choosing your supplier, make sure you ensure the equipment has been approved for installation in your area or city. The equipment should have been inspected and load tested by a certified professional engineer and the supplier should have adequate spares, back up and service.
Thanks to Eric Webb of Park Plus for his input on this article.