Comprehensive Guide to Motion Control and Lift Assist Hinges

Comprehensive Guide to Motion Control and Lift Assist Hinges 

Enhancing Safety and Efficiency in Your Business

Download this Guide as an E-book

Don’t have time to read this guide right now? That’s ok! You can download it and read it later:

Lift Gate Pillar Page CTA horz

A waiter carries a tray of drinks to a table on the other side of a small but packed restaurant. He needs to pass through a flip-up bar countertop that separates the kitchen from the dining room to deliver the drinks. 

However, the nearly 70-pound granite countertop isn’t flipped up. The waiter has no choice but to set down his tray and flip up the countertop. It’s a heavy lift and causes him to sprain his wrist. 

After putting up the countertop, the waiter secures it in place with a makeshift hook lock. He picks up his tray, careful to avoid further injuring his wrist.

A waitress carries a tray of food from the kitchen and is just about to pass through the counter area. The hook lock fails, and the countertop slams down to the counter, knocking the tray out of her hand. The floor is covered with shattered plates, glasses, and food. The waitress, thankfully, avoided injury. However, a table of patrons has to wait for their food to be cooked again. The restaurant owner loses money on the wasted food and has possibly lost the future business of these customers.    

These incidents could have been prevented by installing a vertical lift hinge for the countertop. This addition would greatly improve the safety and convenience of flip-up countertops.

Lift-top counters can provide several benefits for businesses of all sizes, including improved efficiency, safety, and accessibility. 

Whether your business is a restaurant, a hotel, or a jewelry store, the right hinge can make a world of difference. 

Raising the Bar: Why Lift Assist Hinges Are a Must for Your Business

Designing a new space or upgrading your current establishment? Your goal is to create a unique and memorable space that delights customers. Whether you prefer modern or retro aesthetics, mechanical motion control solutions can bring that “wow” factor your customers and staff won’t forget.

Lift assist hinges aren’t just a beautiful addition to your space; they’re packed with functional benefits that can revolutionize how you use your counters.

What is a Lift Gate Assistant?

Flip-up countertops are a popular feature in many restaurants, stores, and hotels. Without the proper hinge, they can be difficult to lift, especially when your hands are full. This can lead to employees propping up the countertops, which creates a safety hazard and overrides the purpose of the pass-through. Lift assist hinges provide a safe and convenient solution to this problem.

Lift assist hinges use motion control technology to make lifting the countertop easy. They counterbalance the weight of the countertop, so it feels much lighter to lift. This means that employees can lift the countertop with one hand, even when carrying a tray. Lift gate assists also prevent the countertop from falling, even when partially open.

Raise Your Standards: Learn More About Controlled Motion Solutions

Elevate standards at your bar with dependable, safe, efficient, and stunning mechanical motion control solutions. Download our free “Intro to Motion Control and Counterbalancing” for more insight.

motion control and counterbalancing for product design

Understanding the Mechanics

At the heart of heavy-duty lift assist hinges is a robust motion control technology. Using heavy-duty springs and other mechanisms, these hinges offset weight, effortlessly opening heavy countertops like those made of granite, stone, or quartz, which typically require a force of between 85-160 lbs. With the right equipment and application of physics, these hinges counterbalance these weights, taking strain off the user and ensuring safety.

The Benefits of Using a Lift Gate Assistant Hinge

Heavy-duty hinge design isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about unlocking a world of possibilities for businesses. While costing slightly more upfront, our Lift Gate Assistant offers invaluable benefits:

  • Safety: A bar lift assist hinge can help prevent sprains and strains, which are the most common injuries reported in restaurants. Lift assist hinges in eliminating the need to prop up the countertop, which reduces the risk of accidents. They also prevent the countertop from falling, even when partially open. These hinges are also ADA compliant.
  • Space utilization: These hinges provide the flexibility to close the countertop when not in use, maximizing your square footage and optimizing your space.
  • Better staff traffic flow: A bar lift assist hinge can help to improve staff traffic flow in your restaurant. For example, if your kitchen is located on the other side of your bar, a lift assist hinge allows servers to pass through the bar area without walking around it. This can speed up service and reduce congestion.
  • Design freedom: Counterbalancing makes it possible to use heavier materials in your countertop design, such as rustic wood, reclaimed lumber, quartz, and granite. This opens up a wider range of design possibilities and allows you to create a truly unique look for your space.
  • Simplicity of design: A bar lift assist hinge is a relatively simple device to install, and it doesn’t require any major changes to your existing countertop. This means that you can get up and running quickly and easily. Our hinges are also field adjustable – but you shouldn’t need to make adjustments.
  • Durability: Lift assist hinges are designed for heavy-duty use in commercial environments. These American-made hinges are made from steel and can withstand repeated use. Our hinges have been designed to provide smooth, consistent counterbalancing for at least 100,000 cycles. 
  • Productivity: Easy to operate, hinged countertops save valuable time for restaurant and bar servers, reducing strain and improving overall productivity.
  • Wide applications: These hinges aren’t just limited to bars and restaurants; they have a wide range of potential uses across many industries (more on this later). 
  • Greater sanitation options: A bar lift assist hinge can allow you to use heavier, more durable countertop materials, such as quartz, natural stone, and porcelain. These materials are more resistant to bacteria and easier to clean, which can help to improve the overall sanitation of your business.
  • Enhanced customer experience: When your staff is safe and efficient, they’re better able to provide excellent customer service. Counterbalance hinges help you create a more positive customer experience.
  • Professional look: Counterbalance-hinged countertops are sleek and modern, and they can give your business a professional look. They are also much quieter than traditional countertops, which can be noisy when they are opened and closed.
  • Boosted speed of service: Counterbalance-hinged countertops can help boost the speed of service in your business. By making it easier for staff to access the pass-through, heavy-duty lift assist hinges can help to reduce wait times and improve customer satisfaction.

Why Your Business & Staff Deserve a Lift Assist Hinge:

Still uncertain about a lift-hinged countertop? These articles further explore the advantages:

For a glimpse of the difference counterbalance technology can make, check this demonstration comparing the counterbalance Lift Gate Assistant hinge to a traditional hinge:

Bar Lift Gate Assistant Innovations & Applications: How Counterbalance Technology Can Improve Your Business

As a business owner, you know how important it is to keep your employees safe and efficient. You also want to create a space that is welcoming and inviting for your customers.

Counterbalance hinges can help you to achieve both of these goals: 

Applications for Counterbalance Lift Gate Assistants:

It’s common to see pass-through countertops in hospitality settings, but these versatile fixtures have plenty of other applications. Here are a few places where a lift assist hinge can make a big impact:

  • Bars and restaurants: Counterbalance lift assist hinges are commonly used in bars and restaurants to improve safety and efficiency. They can be used to raise and lower bar countertops, pass-through windows, and other heavy objects.
  • Hospitals: Counterbalance hinges can be used in hospitals to improve the functionality of mobile privacy screening. This can make it easier for staff to use the screening and configure the space according to patient demand.
  • Jewelry shops: Hinged countertops can be used to display jewelry securely and stylishly. When the countertop is not in use, it can be lowered to prevent customers from touching the jewelry.
  • Retail stores: Hinged countertops can be used to create customer service areas that are both functional and welcoming. When the countertop is raised, staff members can easily step out from behind the counter to assist customers.
  • Banks: Hinged countertops can be used to create customer relations desks that are both secure and private. 
  • Hotels: Hinged countertops can be used to create front desk guest service areas that are both efficient and welcoming. When the countertop is raised, staff members can easily step out from behind the counter to assist guests.
  • Stadiums: Hinged countertops can be used to create small retail shops and concession stands that are both compact and functional. When the countertops are not in use, they can be raised to save space.

Explore the Possibilities:

See what’s possible with a Lift Gate Assistant in your next hospitality design.

hospitality resource page

How to Design a Counterbalance Lift Gate Assistant With Us

Designing a counterbalance Lift Gate Assistant is a simple process. Weber Knapp has a team of experienced engineers who can find creative solutions that meet your specific needs.

To get started, visit our Lift Gate calculator and provide us with some basic information about your project, such as the weight and dimensions of the countertop you need to raise and lower. Then give our team a call. We’ll then provide you with a part number, price, and lead time.

If your larger volume project requires a custom solution, our engineers will work with you to develop a design that works for your space. Once the design is complete, the Lift Gate Assistant hinges will be manufactured using cellular manufacturing.

Planning for Your Lift Gate Assistant Hinge:

Incorporating a Lift Gate Assistant is straightforward, whether starting from scratch or upgrading. We need a few key specifications:

  • Countertop/lid material
  • Countertop/lid dimensions
  • Countertop/lid weight

Countertop/Lid Material:

The weight of your countertop will vary depending on which material you use: 

MaterialThicknessLbs./Sq. Ft.
Granite1 ¼”18-20
Laminate with kraft interior⅝”4
Marble1 ¼”12-13
Quartz1 ¼”18
Wood Usually 1 ¾”Lighter than stone, but depends on wood species

Countertop/Lid Dimensions:

Measure accurately for the perfect fit. Here’s a guide:

If you’re not seeing your estimates on this page, head here for more precise measurements.

Countertop/Lid Weight:

Calculating the weight is simple:

Countertop Weight = Length x Width (in square feet) x Pounds (per square foot)

Ready to get into the specifics and find your custom hinge? Check out our Lift Gate Assistant Lid Calculator!

Lift gate assistant lid calculator

Tips for Calculating Lid Weight:

  • If your lid has multiple pieces, calculate the volume of each piece separately and then add the volumes together to get the total volume of the lid.
  • If your lid has an irregular shape, break it down into simple geometric shapes and calculate the volume of each shape separately. Then, add the volumes together to get the total volume of the lid.

If you need to know the density of the material used in your lid, you can look it up online or contact the manufacturer of the material.

Controlled Motion Solutions and the Wow Factor

A lift-hinged countertop isn’t just about adding value; it’s about safety, optimizing space, and creating that “wow” factor. With field adjustability, industrial-strength durability, and superior weight mitigation, investing in a Lift Gate Assistant ensures long-term returns.

Case Study: How King’s Fish House Uses Lift Gate Assistants to Improve Safety and Efficiency

King’s Fish House was  redesigning its seafood houses to incorporate flip-up bar counters. The company was looking for a way to make the countertops easy and safe to lift, even when carrying a tray of drinks or food.

The Solution

King’s Fish House chose to use the Lift Gate Assistant from Weber Knapp. This allowed them to make a heavy wooden countertop easy to lift with one hand. King’s Fish House no longer has to worry about employees being injured by the countertop as the lift assist hinge prevents the countertop from falling, even when partially open. The Lift Gate Assistant employs Vectis technology to make lifting the countertop easy, quick, and safe. 

The Results

The Lift Gate Assistant has been a success for King’s Fish House, bringing several benefits to the eatery:

  • Increased maneuverability: Employees can now use the countertop pass-through to get to their destination faster, instead of walking around the stationary corner bar.
  • Improved employee experience: Servers and bartenders can now lift the flip-up bar counter with one hand or even a knee, which is important for carrying food and drink orders. 
  • Reduced workplace injuries: The Lift Gate Assistant prevents the countertop from falling, which reduces the risk of workplace injuries.
  • Increased efficiency: Motion control technology reduces the amount of time spent lifting the bar, pushing cabinet doors closed, or holding open doors.

How to Use a Lift Gate Assistant in Your Business

If you are considering using a Lift Gate Assistant in your business, here are a few tips: 

  • Choose the right location: The Lift Gate Assistant can be installed on any flip-up countertop. Choose a location where the countertop will be easy to lift and where it will not obstruct traffic.
  • Follow the installation instructions carefully: The Lift Gate Assistant is easy to install, but it is important to follow the instructions carefully to ensure proper operation.
  • Train your employees on how to use the Lift Gate Assistant: Keeping your employees safe starts with proper training on how the Lift Gate Assistant works.

See the Lift Gate Assistant in action: 

Weber Knapp’s Lift Gate Assistant is built to last a minimum of 100,000 cycles and is designed to meet ADA requirements for safety.

Lift Gate Assistant: A User-Friendly Lift Assist Hinge

At Weber Knapp, we’re committed to delivering a superior user experience (UX) for all of our products, including our Lift Gate Assistant. From ordering to installation and operation, we’ve designed our lift assist hinge with the user in mind.

How We Optimize for UX

We use the following five criteria to benchmark the usability of our Lift Gate Assistant:

  • Effectiveness: Does the hinge deliver results?
  • Efficiency: Does the hinge help users get jobs done faster?
  • Engagement: Does the hinge provide a pleasant and gratifying experience?
  • Error tolerance: Does the hinge minimize mistakes and maximize recovery?
  • Ease of learning: Is the hinge intuitive and easy to use?


The primary goal of a Lift Gate Assistant is to provide a smooth and reliable mechanism for lifting and lowering a flip-up countertop, lid, or table. Our hinge operates flawlessly, ensuring that the countertop securely stays in the position you leave it – whether that’s up, down, or partially open.


Installation is straightforward, and we’ve eliminated unnecessary steps so you can start using your Lift Gate Assistant as soon as possible. This means your staff can start enjoying the benefits lift assist hinges provide in no time.


Our lift hinge strikes a balance between visual appeal and functionality. It’s made of steel and powder-coated to provide additional protection. Its smooth operation, ergonomic design, and quality materials all contribute to an engaging experience.

Error Tolerance

Error tolerance is the maximum amount of error that a system can tolerate without failing. It is a measure of the system’s robustness and reliability. Knowing the weight of an object before installing a hinge is crucial to ensure that the hinge can safely support a countertop or lid. 

We have developed a range of Lift Gate Assistant hinge models to cater to different requirements. We offer single- and dual-hinge models in light, medium, and heavy capacities.

During the process of ordering and installing a lift assist hinge, you may encounter some engineering challenges. Our experienced team of engineers is available to assist you with any installation-related queries or issues.

Ease of Learning

A flip-up countertop hinge should align with users’ mental models of how such hinges work, making it intuitive to operate. We’ve made ordering, installing, and operating our lift assist hinge as easy to understand as possible.

We also provide a comprehensive PDF walkthrough of the step-by-step measurement process to ensure a perfect fit and optimal functionality.

Need help designing the right hinge for your application? Click below for help:

New call-to-action

How to Maintain and Care for Lift Gate Assistant Hinges

Lift Gate Assistant hinges are designed to be durable and low-maintenance, but there are a few things you can do to ensure their longevity and optimal performance:

  • Clean your hinges regularly: Use a mild soap and water solution to wipe down the outer housing of the hinges and remove any dirt or debris. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as these can damage the finish of the hinges. Do not use water and soap or solvents to clean the inside of the hinge. 
  • Inspect your hinges regularly: Look for any signs of damage, such as cracks, bends, or rust. If you notice any damage, replace the hinge immediately.
  • Avoid overloading your hinges: Do not exceed the weight capacity of your hinges. Overloading the hinges can damage them and shorten their lifespan.
  • Do not slam your countertop lid: Slamming the countertop lid can put excessive stress on the hinges and damage them.
  • Protect your hinge: If you are not using your countertop lid for an extended period, close it and lock it in place. This will help to protect the hinges from dust and debris.
  • Live in a coastal area? You may want to inspect your hinges more frequently to protect them from corrosion.

By following these tips, you can help keep your Lift Gate Assistant hinges in good condition and ensure that they continue to operate smoothly for many years to come.

Counter Hinges: FAQs About Lift Gate Assistant for Pass-Through Countertops

Have questions about the Lift Gate Assistant that we haven’t yet answered?  Here are some of the most common questions about Lift Gate counter hinges:

Do You Provide the Recommended Piano Hinge?

Weber Knapp does not provide the recommended piano hinge, but they are readily available online and at most hardware stores.

What Part Number Do I Need to Order for My Project?

To determine which part number you need, use the online Lift Gate calculator.

What If My Lid Length and Lid Weight Are Out of Range According to the Online Calculator?

Most often, this means that a slight weight adjustment is needed. This can typically be done by adding just a bit of weight underneath the lid to get within the needed lid torque range. If you need assistance, please contact Weber Knapp support.

What is the Range of Lid Lengths the Lift Gate Supports?

Weber Knapp lift hinges will work on lid lengths from 30″ to 48″.

What Colors Does the Lift Gate Come In?

The Lift Gate is currently only available in a black powder coat.

Can the Lift Gate Be Used in Outdoor Applications?

Yes! The Lift Gate hinge is made of steel and powder coated to provide additional protection from the elements.

Does the Lift Gate Have a Warranty?

Absolutely! All Lift Gates come with a one-year limited warranty that protects if the part does not function properly due to manufacturing defects.

What if I Installed a Lift Gate Hinge and It Doesn’t Seem to Function Properly?

If you have any problems with your Lift Gate hinge, please contact Weber Knapp support. They have a talented team of engineers who can assist you or walk you through most installation questions or issues.

How Do I Order a Lift Gate?

Lift Gate counter hinges are the perfect solution for any hospitality business that wants to improve the flow and safety of its pass-through countertops. To order a Lift Gate, please visit our Lift Gate calculator first. Then, contact our team. They will be happy to assist you. Cost depends on factors like weight and length of your top. Contact Weber Knapp today to learn more!

Do you have other questions about our flip-up countertop hinges? Contact us and we’d be happy to help.

Motion Control Basics: A Glossary of Terms

Motion control plays a major role in modern product design. Many high-end products use innovative hinge mechanisms to stand out from the crowd.

Building a product with heavy-duty industrial hinges can be complex, so we created a glossary of motion control basics (which also serves as a basic ergonomics glossary).

Reviewing these terms will help you communicate more effectively with your vendor:

Motion Control Basics

  • 3-bar hinge/mechanism: A hinge or mechanism with three links to provide nonparallel motion up and down.
  • 4-bar hinge/mechanism: A hinge or mechanism with four links connected by a pivot. This mechanism can provide parallel or nonparallel motion.
  • 6-bar hinge/mechanism: A hinge or mechanism with six links and pivots. The higher the number of bars and the more complex the design, the higher the cost.
  • Articulating hinge: Has complex movement falling under the “kinematic motion” category in that it features both translation and rotation. May also be called a multilink hinge.
  • Balance angle: The number of degrees at which the center of gravity is directly above a pivot.
  • Balance point: The location where the center of gravity lines up directly over the top of the pivot. At the balance point, a lid or door will stay put and not swing in either direction.
  • Center of gravity: A point that represents the average location of the weight of an object. Click here to learn more.
  • Center of mass: The same measurement as the center of gravity.
  • Coast close: The lid will tend to move toward the closed position because the lid torque is greater than the spring plus friction torque.
  • Coast open: The lid will tend to move toward the open position as a result of the lid torque being less than the spring minus friction torque.
  • Compression spring: Stores mechanical energy in the wire of the spring. The force is generated by compression.
  • Concealed hinge: A hinge purposely hidden in the product’s design. This is typically done for aesthetic reasons, but can also help consolidate product footprint and avoid high heat and other sensitive areas of the product.
  • Counterbalance hinge: A complex hinge that incorporates various types of springs. Mitigates the force felt by users so they can easily open heavy lids and doors. Click here to learn more.
  • Damping: Restraint of vibration (mechanical, noise, etc.) by dissipation of energy. Click here to learn more.
  • Ergonomics: The study of people and their working conditions in relation to motion and comfort. The end goal is to improve mental and physical health through more efficient equipment, posture, etc.
  • Extension spring: A spring that stores energy or provides force when you stretch it (i.e. a screen door spring).
  • Force: The resulting push or pull from an interaction between two objects (including air). Click here to learn more.
  • Gas cylinder: An energy storage device that relies on gas and oil to provide a controlled force.
  • Gas spring: Another name for a gas cylinder.
  • Gravity lock: A feature common in ergonomic products. With this feature, as users tilt a keyboard mechanism or similar product, they unlock the links and can move it up and down as needed. When the user lets go, the device locks in place. 
  • Handle force: The amount of force you need to exert on a handle for the attached object to move.
  • Kinematics: A branch of physics that focuses on the motion of objects (velocity, acceleration, etc.). The object’s mass is not taken into account.
  • Kinetics: A branch of physics that focuses on kinematics while also describing what forces or torques are influencing the kinematic motion. This branch takes the object’s mass into account.
  • Lid torque: A function of the lid’s weight multiplied by the horizontal distance between the object’s center of gravity and the pivot axis.
  • Mechanical spring: Allows controlled application of force, as well as storage of energy. The spring returns an equivalent amount of energy when released.
  • Motion control: The process of having an object move through a desired path. To get there, a component can use linkages, pivots, mechanisms, etc. Click here to learn more.
  • Multilink hinge: A complex hinge that can have more than four links. Also known as an articulating hinge.
  • Negative tilt: When the axis makes a negative angle along the lines of longitude. An angle used when positioning an ergonomic keyboard tray or similar device for posture. The tray is tilted down and away from the user to allow for a more neutral, low-stress posture. Negative tilt is recommended for an upright position.
  • Pivot hinge: A mechanism that rotates around a pin. Allows full turning of the attached assembly.
  • Pop-up: A slight rise of a few degrees from the closed position due to the spring torque being greater than the lid torque. This can be advantageous when a latch is used, as it creates a gap for opening the lid.
  • Positive tilt: When the axis makes a positive angle along the lines of longitude, toward the user. An angle used when positioning an ergonomic keyboard tray or similar device. This is recommended for a reclined position.
  • Simple hinge: A 2-bar hinge with two members of a single pivot.
  • Slam: Undesirable, violent closing resulting in a negative user experience. Lack of a properly counterbalanced unit can create noise, an abrupt stop, damage to the product, and even injury to the user.
  • Soft close: The rate of final closing controlled by the use of a counterbalance that limits the closing torque. Excess energy is absorbed to prevent a sudden slam.
  • Soft open: The rate of final opening controlled by the use of a counterbalance that limits opening torque. Excess energy is absorbed to prevent a sudden stop.
  • Spring assist: Force that offsets the heavy feel of a lid. The lid will coast open and/or closed from wherever the engineer desires. This is different from a counterbalance in that it won’t stay put when released; it will either drift open or closed based on your design.
  • Spring torque: Used to counteract the torque caused by gravity. At angles where spring torque is higher than lid torque, a lid will self-open. When the spring torque is lower, the lid will self-close.
  • Tension spring: Another term for extension spring.
  • Torsion spring:  Stores mechanical energy in the wire of the spring.
  • Translation: Movement that’s in and out (or vice versa) or left and right (or vice versa).
  • True counterbalance: When a lid stays exactly at the desired angle. This occurs when the lid torque (force times distance) is matched by spring torque and controlled friction. This balance improves safety and ease of use.

Lift Assist Hinge: A Modern Solution for Safer, More Efficient Businesses

Lift assist hinges are an ideal solution for any business that wants to improve its staff’s safety and efficiency. They create a visually stunning aesthetic while providing groundbreaking innovation and functionality. Their modern design and intuitive operation make them easy to use, allowing you to focus on what matters — excellent service for your customers.


Get Started on Your Motion Control Solution Today

At Weber Knapp, our expertise in motion control solutions helps ensure you get the perfect lift-assist design that works best for your needs. Whether you need something retro or modern, we have the knowledge and technology to deliver. Contact us today to find out how the Lift Gate Assistant can revolutionize your business.

Contact Us