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Leverage is the force needed to lift and, if necessary, move loads. This is achieved using a lever, which in physics and engineering is technically known as a force transducer. It works by a rigid lever body tipping on an axis – in the same way as a seesaw.

The lever law takes into account both one-sided and two-sided levers. What all levers have in common is that they can be used to change the magnitude and direction of forces. The lever effect makes it possible to lift and move heavy loads with comparatively little effort.

In various construction and production businesses, leverage is used with lifting tools such as crowbars, spanners or crane systems. This can simplify various assembly and construction work as well as load transportation. Leverage is also used for power transmission on machines, meaning in-house processes can be carried out safely and comfortably.

Calculating effort required for operational applications using the lever law

The power of leverage is defined by its own law. The law reads: 

Force x Force Arm = Load x Load Arm

Left torque = Right torque

The load arm defines the side on which the load to be moved is located. The force or power arm defines the side on which the moving force is located. The so-called fulcrum or pivot point is the point around which the lever can be turned. This results in the following leverage formula for calculating lever force:

Calculation of leverage

Lever force for one-sided and two-sided levers

A distinction is usually made between one-sided and two-sided levers.

One-sided levers:

  • Load and force arm coincide
  • Pivot point is at one end of the lever arm
  • Forces act in one direction

Two-sided levers:

  • Force application points are on different sides of the lever
  • Pivot point is in the middle of the lever
  • Forces act in two directions and are in equilibrium when left and right torque are balanced

If levers are not designed as straight devices, they can also be referred to as bent levers or angle levers. The latter are used in inclination scales, for example. With all types of levers, the friction at the pivot point must be taken into account in addition to the lever force. If the lever is turned over the axis, part of the energy used is converted into heat. Therefore, depending on the material of the lever and the load, an additional force is necessary to the required lever force.

Lifting equipment uses leverage to move heavy loads

Hoists use the leverage effect described above to reduce the amount of force needed to lift and move heavy loads. These include both manually operated and electro-hydraulic lifting systems, as well as hoists with and without a tilt function. Hoists can be found in logistics as well as on construction sites and combine a high lifting capacity with easy and comfortable handling. Typical hoists in operation include:

Due to the differing power transmission ratios, hoists can facilitate work in many operational areas. They contribute to effective and safe work processes and increase the handling speed in warehouses and production facilities. In addition, operating costs can be significantly reduced through the use of high-quality hoists.

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