A lift assembly system and method can include a substantially rectangular tube, a motor operably connected to first and second traction drives and a rotatable drum and structurally connected to one end of the tube, a head block fixed to the opposite end of the tube, and a plurality of loft blocks positionable at an infinite number of locations within the tube. An elongate member attached on one end to the drum can be routed through a generally horizontal path from the drum to the first and second traction drives, the head block, and the loft blocks, and then through a generally vertical path from the loft block to an attached article. The elongate member can be wound about the drum to raise the article, and unwound from the drum to lower the article. The system can further include a load-side braking mechanism. The tube can include a compressible material adapted to absorb at least a portion of a horizontal load placed on the lift system.
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