Lifting Shackles- a riggers best friend

Green Pin ShackleHave you ever looked at a construction site and wondered in amazement how huge loads are hoisted several hundred feet above the ground?
A closer look will give you a hint about how this is possible. Lifting and rigging equipment is made up of several complex components, each of which plays a critical role. Among the most integral components are lifting shackles.
They aren’t the largest devices, but lifting shackles play an important role in all kinds of rigging. They are made of a thick piece of metal that is curved or shaped like a ‘D’ or bow-shaped, like Ώ’. Lifting shackles usually have a pin or bolt across the opening. Depending on the length and the purpose of their use, a screw pin can be used or the more secure nut and bolt option which can be reinforced with a locking mechanism.
Shackles are typically used to connect the lifting device such as the hoist or rigging equipment with the object to be lifted. They can be used in a variety of hoisting, rigging and pulling applications. Because they are used as a connecting device, they need to be extremely strong to withhold weight on both sides and must be checked regularly for safety and maintenance.
An experienced rigger needs to be aware of how to use a shackle safely to ensure that the weight of the object being hoisted is balanced properly on the shackle and shackle does not tilt at an angle while an object is being lifted. The right kind of design makes all the difference in ensuring that a shackle works correctly. The most common designs are the ’D’ shaped and bow-shaped shackles, but it is also possible to have shackles shaped like a triangle or with a very long and narrow ‘U’ curvature.
The sturdiest shackles are made from super strong carbon, alloy or high-grade stainless steel. Depending on their size and composition, they need to meet US Federal certification guidelines. If the rigging equipment is being exposed to corrosive material or is being used in extreme heat, shackles that can withstand these environmental conditions must be used. Shackles used for lifting can bear weights up to 1000 tons or slightly more.
Typically, lifting shackles need to be inspected by a competent authority at least once every six months to check for their integrity and safety. Shackles should also be stored carefully and care should be taken to ensure that the pins and bolts in a shackle fit correctly and the threading is not damaged with each use. Deformed shackles should be discarded and no attempts should be made to weld or repair them or replace pins or bolts from another shackle.
Shackles are an integral part of rigging equipment and an experienced rigger counts on them to do all the heavy lifting.


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