Products Materials Handling Systems

  • High-speed Lifters

Zip Chain Lifter®

Zip chain is a new chain product that can be pushed and pulled. It is so named because it consists of two chains that interlock in zip-like fashion to form a single, strong column. The Tsubaki Zip Chain Lifter employs a lifting mechanism (patent pending) that uses zip chain to directly transmit upward and downward thrust. The Zip Chain Lifter enables high-speed, high-frequency operation that cannot be achieved with conventional lifting equipment.

1. High speed: Operation three to ten times faster than that of conventional hydraulic lifting equipment
2. High frequency: Continuous lifting and lowering at rate of one lift cycle per minute.
3. High durability: Cleared more than one million lift cycles in endurance tests
4. High efficiency: Over 20% more energy-efficient than hydraulic lifting equipment
Zip Chain Lifter What is a zip chain?
Zip chain leverages Tsubakimoto Chain's global market-leading chain technology to allow pushing and pulling applications.
Ordinary chain is used for pulling applications; it is not capable of transferring power when pushed.
In contrast, zip chain consists of two chains employing hook-shaped plates that interlock to form a single, strong column that can be pushed and pulled.
When lifting, the Zip Chain Lifter interlocks two zip chains to form a strong, rigid, column-shaped body that pushes up the platform. When descending, the chains are unlinked and stored in a compact housing.

See Zip Chain Lifter® movement up close (Video)

1. Compact series 2. 1,000 kg type
Lifter movement Drive unit movement Interlocking mechanism
of zip chain and sprocket


1. High efficiency
- Drive force is transmitted directly because the zip chain mechanism pushes up the platform directly. No excessive load is placed on the hinges or roller bearings of the pantograph (scissor arms).
- The Tsubaki Zip Chain Lifter has cleared more than one million lift cycles in endurance tests conducted by Tsubakimoto Chain. Its outstanding durability ensures long lifetime.

Zip Chain Lifter
Durability: Over 1,500,000 lift cycles

Hydraulic lifter
Durability: 50,000 to 300,000 lift cycles
The weight and thrust of the lift unit are supported by the zip chain and only a small offset load is placed on the hinges or roller bearings of the scissor arms.
A force of 1/sinθ times the lifted weight is placed on the scissor arms and hinges.
5.8 times more force when θ = 10°
(F1 = 1,000 kg)
(F0 = 5,800 kg)
2. High-speed, high-frequency operation
- Enables high-speed lifting at speeds of 50 m/min. Supports high-frequency operation of continuous raising and lowering at rate of one lift cycle per minute.

Comparison with hydraulic lifter

Feature Zip Chain Lifter Hydraulic lifter
Speed 0.0 to 50.0 m/min 0.0 to 12.0 m/min
High-frequency operation Continuous operation possible Difficult due to increase in oil temperature
Life (lift cycles) 1,000,000 to 1,500,000 times 50,000 to 300,000 times

3. Easy control of positioning and speed
- The Zip Chain Lifter lifting mechanism operates by pushing the platform directly up at a constant speed proportional to the speed of the motor. Setting multiple stops and multi-level positioning are also easily achieved.

4. Energy-efficient and environmentally friendly
- Compared to conventional lifting devices that push pantograph arms diagonally upward, the Zip Chain Lifter is 20.3 percent more energy efficient in terms of transmission efficiency. Moreover, this efficiency remains unchanged when operating at speeds of between 1 to 50 m/min or even if the cycle time is reduced. (Hydraulic lifters may suffer reduced efficiency or become inoperable due to rising oil temperature.)
It also features a regeneration unit that returns energy produced when the platform is lowered to the primary power system, allowing the lifter to recover 30 percent of electricity consumption.

Successfully introduced products

- Automobile factory assembly line (180+ units)
- LCD display and solar cell production processes
- Food machinery, metalworking machinery, etc.

Example Applications (We have also successfully produced systems for pushing/pulling and lowering applications. Contact us to learn more.)
Example lifter applications

Product types

Standard model

Three standard models capable of lifting 750 kg, 1,000 kg, and 2,000 kg are available.

Standard Lifter Specifications List

750 kg Type 1,000 kg Type 2,000 kg Type
Lifting Weight 750 kg 1,000 kg 2,000 kg
Lifting Speed 30 m/min 30 m/min 30 m/min
Lifting Stroke 1,000 mm 1,500 mm 1,500 mm
Height with Chain Stored 350 mm 370 mm 540 mm
Table Width 800 mm 900 mm 2,100 mm
Table Length 1,600 mm 2,350 mm 2,350 mm

*Low-floor models, externally mounted chain models, high-frequency models, compact models, and other models are also available. Contact us for more information.

Compact series

This compact, space-conscious model was developed in response to customer requests for a smaller Zip Chain Lifter more suited to handling lighter loads.

Specifications Lifting Weight

Lifting Stroke
Time per 500 mm Table Size
(W x L)
Lifting Lowering
(Induction motor)
50 kg 500 mm 7.0 s 7.0 s 540 x 300 mm
(Servo motor)
20 kg 500 mm 1.0 s 1.0 s