How To Select The Right Vehicle Winch

If you have a vehicle, you may want to make sure that you have a winch as well. While buying a winch you must know what parameters you should consider and how you can match your winch with the requirements of your vehicle. If you end up choosing the wrong winch, there are chances that you will find your winch to be less powerful than your vehicle and you will remain stuck in a messy situation.

  • The first step to ensure the selection of the right winch is to match the winch’s gross pull capacity (GPC) with the gross weight of your vehicle. The GPC denotes the total weight that your winch can pull in a perfect situation where other factors, such as multiple cables or weak battery, do not cause interferences. The GPC of your winch should be at least 30 percent higher than your vehicle’s weight.
  • Count the cable layers to determine the net pull capacity. The lowermost cable bears the maximum weight and if there are multiple layers of cables, the pull weight will be reduced by 10-20 percent.
  • Winches are electricity-run devices and hence, it is very important to match your winch’s capacity to the battery. It goes without saying, a completely-new battery will provide greater power to the winch compared to the one that you have been using for quite some time.
  • Check the design of the gear case and the pulley. Currently, the industry offers two models- worm-gear design and low-profile design. The worm-gear models, though bulky, provide greater power compared to their low-profile counterparts. However, low-profile winches come with a backup mechanism that stops the motor while allowing you to readjust the cable to promote a superior pull.
  • Make sure that you are aware of the mounting location of the winch. While external winches bulge out on the outside of the grill, undercarriage winches may get easily coated under mud or snow or they may get broken by boulders. You may find external winches to be quite unpleasant.

Above everything, budget plays a critical role in decision making. Ask yourself if you really have the budget to fund a specific winch. The price of winches ranges from £200 to £1000 and so you may want to make sure that you buy the right type of winch that perfectly matches your requirements. You can choose to check out different offers provided by different retailers. Even a five percent discount may bring value to you.

Choosing Between Rail Mounted Gantry Cranes and Rubber- Tired Gantry Cranes

Container Gantry Crane Rubber TypesIn container yards, we find mainly two types of gantry cranes, namely rail-mounted gantry (RMG) cranes and rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes, which are used to lift and relocate shipping containers. The choice of the perfect gantry crane will depend on a number of factors including the yard layout, size and operation. RTG cranes, as the name indicates, come equipped with rubber tires that promote free movement of the crane through the container yard. However, the rubber tires have their own limitations with regard to the size and lifting ability of the RTGs. On the other hand, the RMG cranes are designed to move on rails and hence, they cannot be made to move freely around stacks in the container yard. However, because the RMGs are equipped with steel wheels, they can carry greater weight compared to RTG cranes.

The higher load-bearing capability of the steel-wheeled RMG cranes makes them an option that can be modified very easily in terms of design. You can get a number of rail configurations installed to the RMG cranes to promote its versatile use in an intermodal container yard. An RMG can be made to cover more than 300 feet with cantilevers being used to lengthen an RMG’s range and with the average distance between the legs being 150 feet. An RMG crane can cover eight rail tracks as well as the stacking sections. Notably, they can be made to reach drive lanes for trucks as well.

However, when you deploy RMG cranes as the major relocation tool in your intermodal facility, you need to take additional precautions to ensure proper equipment upkeep. In the event of an outage, you may need to keep your operations halted for some time until you get your RMG crane repaired. There are chances that your RMG crane breaks down right in the middle of your site that remains busy throughout the entire day, demanding you to take quick actions to restore your operations to their full potential. RMG cranes are noted for their greater efficiency compared to RTG cranes and they are powered completely by electricity.

Electric Chain Hoists and ‘Inching’

mng11ckElectric Chain Hoists are generally very robust items of lifting machinery, designed to operate in an industrial environment. However, this doesn’t mean that they should be poorly maintained or misused. Such treatment will lead to breakdowns and deterioration of equipment condition rapidly. Just like any other tool or machine, you should care for them carefully.

Inching, what is it and how does it affect my hoist’s life span?

Often is the case with motorised chain hoists is that the user (usually due to inadequate training or failure to read operational instructions) will rig up the hoist and perform a lift, then, as the load is almost in place, in order to make small adjustments the operator will briefly continuously click the directional button which causes the hoist to only move a tiny amount as desired- less often is the case with a dual speed hoist (more about that below). This is known as ‘Inching’ or ‘Blipping’, although you get to make more precise operations this does have a negative effect on the life of the hoist motor. By inching the hoist you are constantly turning on and off the hoist motor, every time you click it is classed as a new start, this, in turn, draws more current known as ‘startup current’ which comes with heat, the more you inch, the more heat you pull into the motor which if performed often or for prolonged periods can cause the hoist or travel motor windings to burn out.

Although brief and occasional inching isn’t particularly frowned upon and in some cases cannot be avoided, this should not have a detrimental impact on the lifespan of the hoist motor, it is situations where startup current is frequently activated by inching that will shorten the lifespan of a motor. This can result in a very, very expensive repair bill, often is the case that changing a motor is beyond economical due to the simple fact that you are replacing the most expensive component in a hoist with the most intense refitting procedure- for example, some hoist bodies require a heat treatment to remove the motor as they are so tightly fitted.

Solutions to the problem:

Bar investing in a motor manufacturing plant, there are some easier and more cost effective solutions believe it or not! The only downside to these are that the solutions need to be considered when choosing the specification of a hoist, sadly it is usually complex and costly to implement the following to an existing hoist. Firstly, the most cost effective of the two is dual speed operation as I mentioned briefly above. Dual speed operation provides the user with two speeds of lifting, one slow ‘creeping speed and one fast ‘normal’ speed. Instead of inching at 4m/min the user can slightly let off the double pressure push button to activate the slow speed at 1m/min (speed figures are not the same on every hoist, but this is a common combination) this permits very small and slow movement instead of inching the hoist into place. The unfortunate side to this is that it is only available on three phase hoists, not in 230v or 110v models. Sometimes the operator will need to be even more precise and dual speed operation will still not suffice. This then leads to the second and more expensive option; frequency inverter control. In a nutshell a frequency inverter device when fitted to a hoist allows the fitter to programme it to control at really precise speeds which deliver a very smooth transition from speed to speed while giving super accurate positioning of loads, this feature is less common with standard Electric Chain Hoists and more common in wire rope hoist crane systems.


Can Ratchet Straps Be Used For Lifting?

Can Ratchet Straps Be Used To Lift LoadsWhat is a Ratchet Strap?

Ratchet Staps, otherwise known as Ratchet Lashings are originally designed for securing loads to the bed of trucks, vans and alike. Available usually in sizes up to 5000kg WLL with a breaking point that is 3 times this amount. Used in nearly every industry where goods are to be secured into place, such as transport, engineering, nuclear, aviation and many others.

Types of Ratchet Lashings

There are just a few types of Ratchet Straps available which make choosing the correct one easy, the main differences being the breaking load or WLL (which as above is 3 times the breaking load), as well as the length. Other variations include the end fittings, normally this is a standard chassis type claw hook which makes easy fastening to trailers and lashing points while some have open ‘Rave’ hooks and in some instances even endless formats.

Lifting With Ratchet LashingsThe big question- Can Ratchet Straps Be Used For Lifting?

The answer to this often varies amongst opinions, many say that due to their non-continuous construction (due to the ratchet joining them) that they should not be used to lift loads, only to secure them, I guess this is because the user could simply release the ratchet and drop the load, causing potentially fatal accidents. Others say that they are completely safe to lift with and should you be silly enough to release the ratchet under load then you get what you ask for. My personal opinion is that you should not lift with ratchet straps. I wouldn’t recommend lifting heavy loads, for that you should use proper lifting gear suitably rated for the purpose of your lift, but sometimes, when working in a garage environment this can be out of the budget, in cases like this you shouldn’t take the risk, budget should never outweigh the cost of safety.

For more advice on lifting and rigging products feel free to get in touch with me or browse my blog further, I have been posting away for many years in order to discuss and help others in the industry make the right decision while providing an uplifted opinion.



Comparing Ratchet Binders with Lever Binders

Yale RLSP Ratchet Load BinderPeople often find it difficult to choose between ratchet binder and lever binder as they have little information on the use of chain binders. So what does a chain binder refer to? Chain binders are often termed as load binders and they are used to tighten chains that are deployed to secure loads during the transportation process. Chain binders are of two types- ratchet binders and lever binders. The two types of binders are differentiated in terms of the binder tightening method that is deployed under different circumstances.

In a ratchet binder, you will find two types of machines, a handle and two tension hooks on either side. The handle performs the role of a lever and the binder features the screw thread as well. The combined use of these simple machines allows you to magnify the force that you apply manually to the tie-down assembly. In other words, you will need to put lesser pulling force on the handle to apply pressure compared to the degree of effort that you will need to put with a lever binder. Additionally, ratchet binders promote slower and steadier loading and unloading of forces, which, in turn, allows you to stay safe from stress or strain.

With ratchet binders, you can expect safer take-ups. The take-up distance of a ratchet binder is twice that of a lever binder and ranges from eight to ten inches. While you may end up spending a few extra minutes during take-up with a ratchet builder, you will benefit from a controlled and safer operation. Lever binders, on the other hand, consist of a simple lever and tension hooks on both the ends. You can use the lever to apply force to a tie-down.

A lever binder, on the other hand, is a simpler structure featuring a tension hook on the either side. With this lever, you can amplify the force that you will exert on a tie-down. The binder is hinged and it gets locked after the lever completes a 180-degree rotation around the hinge. This is an easy-to-use machine that can be maintained with minimal efforts.

The lever binders and ratchet binders work in a similar way, but you need to make sure that you adopt certain security measures to promote safe equipment use. Wear gloves to ensure a tighter grip on the handle. The lever binder should be completely locked to prevent the load from getting shifted. It is not a good idea to use cheater bars to raise the degree of the tie-down force. This is mainly because of the fact that cheater bars can put undue pressure on the tie-down, which may eventually lead to tie-down breakage. It is always recommended that you adopt a slow and steady approach to undertake the ratcheting process.

Moving Bulky Loads With Furniture Moving Trolleys

Moving heavy and bulky furniture can be a nightmare. Most people don’t know where to turn other than recruiting a couple stocky chaps to take care of the task at hand, when in fact, there are lots of more cost effective options on the market which can turn a 3-4 man job into a single man job- nice!

The first question to consider is how heavy is the load you are challenged to move? Generally, there are movers with capacities up to 1800kg on the market, any bigger and you would be considering a machine skate. There’s also not much furniture around weighing more than that so 1.8Tonnes should cover it.

Secondly, the size of the load must be considered- too large and it might need multiple dollies or a larger ratchet strap to secure the load. Too small and, well, you might as well lift it! (unless of course, it’s a lead weight)!

Consider your lifting plan and pathway of travel, ensure clear access at all times, no trip hazards or objects that could obstruct the load. Safety over everything is most important, even if it adds time to the process.

There are multiple different types of furniture moving trolleys and load moving dollies available from numerous manufacturers, some better than others. My favorite Furniture Movers and the most popular on the market are the FM series from Raptor and George Taylor, these movers are top quality hydraulic lifters with a huge capacity as above up to 1800kg. Simply slide one under each end of the load, strap it in with the included ratchet straps, crank the hydraulic jack which raises the load and wheel away.

Things that you should consider before purchasing a used electric hoist

If you are looking to invest in a second-hand electric hoist, you may come across some really great bargains and capitalise on your investment provided the equipment you choose has been maintained properly and is now in a functional state. A second-hand electric hoist that is maintained in a good state will not only come for a low-cost, but would also function like a new device. This boils down to the fact that you can use a second-hand electric hoist for years and if you take adequate care, you may even sell your equipment and earn good returns on your investment. So the best way to buy a used electric hoist is to get it inspected to make sure that it is in working condition and will serve your purpose for a certain period of time.

Devices that are sold in EU will come with an EC Declaration of Conformity which indicates that they fulfill the criteria laid down by the European Machinery Directive. Initially all devices will come with a number of certificates that will guarantee safe and efficient usage, but later, you may need to look for certain signs to make sure that the equipment you buy will be worth the price you pay. Check if you are able to spot the presence of cracks in the equipment itself. Fissures or cracks are the signs of wear and tear and they indicate that you may not be able to use the equipment for a long time. These cracks may lead to undesirable incidents and may indicate that your equipment is not safe for use.

Regular servicing and proper care actually work to preserve and prolong the functional life of an electric hoist and you may want to hire the services of an inspector to make sure that the device does not have problems with regard to bearings, electronics, or cogs. Some companies offer used electric hoists that are backed by warranties and this may give you some confidence to invest in those devices.

There are certain other factors that you should consider while buying a used electric hoist. You should take into account the reputation of the equipment manufacturer while making a purchase decision and you should look for suppliers that can provide you with the necessary usage and care-related documentation. It is a good idea to involve an independent third party in the inspection process. Independent professional inspectors who handle such devices on a day-to-day basis will be in a better position to guide you on the purchase of the right equipment.

How Electric Chain Hoists Work

A hoist is used to lift or lower a load by means of a rope or chain that is wound around a lift wheel or a drum. Electric hoists have drums or wheels that use electricity for their operations. Hoists may come with different lifting media with chain being the most common option. Today, most industrial undertakings use electrically operated chain hoists as the lifting media and they feature a closed chain in the form of a loop which facilitates lifting. The chain hoist may come equipped with a number of big and small pulleys that facilitate lifting.

Electric chain hoists are used in diverse industries including manufacturing establishments and construction projects. You need to pull the chain to lift the load. At this time, the large pulley pulls in more chain compared to what the smaller side requires and this marks the onset of the lifting process. While the use of manual chain hoists dominated the lifting scenes in the past, today, most manual lifting operations are being replaced by electrically operated lifting processes. Electric chain hoists allow you to transfer heavy loads from one location to the other by requiring you to just push the button. Electric chain hoists do not require you to engage an experienced operator to operate them and this means that you can save money which otherwise you might be spending on hiring professionals. Simply put, your operations will turn out to be cost-effective in the long run.

You need to abide by guidelines specified by the trade association’s centre on chain use, upkeep and inspection to minimise the chances of accidents. Additionally, you should apply gear lubricant oil on the load chain before initiating an operation and the frequency and degree of lubrication will typically depend on the operating conditions and the degree of usage. Electric chain hoists feature an electric motor that spins fast, facilitating a lifting operation. The chain may move at a speed of 8-32 feet per minute and a strong brake comes with shaft which ensures that the chain rotates in place.

Electric chain hoists are typically used in risky lifting scenarios and they come in various designs and capacities and so you may need to do a careful research to identify the model that will address your specific needs with regard to usage and the weight that you will need to carry. When you decide to purchase an electric chain hoist, you should consider a few parameters including the hoist’s suspension and speed, the lift height, the hoist’s capability to lift heavy loads, the voltage, and the trolley’s speed and projection width. By understanding your unique requirements and by studying the specifications of different types of products, you can select the appropriate product and make your operations faster, safer, and cost-effective.

Tips To Stay Safe While Working At Height

In Britain, the construction sector employs just 5 percent of the total workforce, but it has been found to be associated with 27 percent of fatal injuries, many of which have been the outcome of falls. However, it needs to be noted that construction workers are not susceptible to fall injuries alone with falls from ladders or through brittle roofs being observed as other common fall-injury incidents. The information provided by this article is intended to help you devise an appropriate working-at-height policy and fall protection strategy.

Firstly the most efficient and effective way to provide height safety is to invest in good quality Height Safety Equipment which will provide optimum safety at height when used in the intended ways, further to that I have the below recommendations and procedures that will ensure you take the necessary steps to comply fully with expectations.

The Working At Height Regulations 2005 apply to activities that are associated with a risk of fall injuries. An amendment made to the regulations in 2007 required people who had expertise in caving or climbing to lead and provide instructions to people who had to work at height. The team leaders or the duty holders need to ensure that all work at height is organised in an appropriate manner and carried out by competent individuals. They are also required to conduct risk assessment studies and keep mechanisms in place to prevent fall incidents that might result from working on fragile surfaces. Additionally, they are also responsible for work equipment inspection and maintenance.

Additionally, there are certain common guidelines that you should follow to ensure operational safety. Keep appropriate arrangements in place to carry out maximum tasks from the ground. For example, you may assemble materials or structures on the ground and use lifting equipment to lift them up to the required position. You should practise enough care and keep precautionary measures in place when workmen are required to work on or near fragile surfaces. Make sure that your workmen get enough space to conveniently enter and leave the work area. Keep emergency evacuation and rescue procedures in place and deploy appropriate measures to prevent injuries that may result from falling objects. Make sure that the access surface that your workmen use is strong enough to support their body weight or the weight of equipment that they would carry with them.

Avoid using ladders or step ladders if you are required to handle loads or to spend more than thirty minutes to complete a task. It is not a good idea to use ladders if you are not able to maintain contact at three points while carrying out a task. Avoid trying to overreach while you are on a ladder, making sure that both of your feet rest on the same step while you undertake a task. Most importantly, you may want to attend a safety training course to get an in-depth knowledge on the use of fall protection equipment and on various safety procedures that you can undertake to safeguard yourself and your teammates from potential hazards. Additionally, you will also gain a deeper insight on the legal responsibilities which will help you to devise better work practices.

Extend The Life Of Your Overhead Cranes By Keeping An Effective Maintenance And Inspection Program In Place

You do not need to be a rocket scientist to ensure that your overhead cranes are safe and functional. By scheduling your inspection and maintenance jobs regularly and by ensuring that you undertake preventive maintenance in a professional manner, you can definitely preserve the health of your overhead cranes and extend their life. In fact, regular maintenance is the simplest way to ensure efficient as well as safe crane operations.

Overhead crane failure can be attributed to several reasons and there are very rare occasions when your equipment registers a mechanical failure without sending out early warning signs or symptoms. Your cranes may need to be frequently inspected if they are used frequently. There are chances that you may fail to detect problems even though your cranes are being inspected to the Health And Safety Executive (HSE) standard. This is a case that you may come across when you are not allowing for enough inspections. Sometimes, a failed crane may be excluded from a maintenance regime just because it was not included in the inspection contract.

While most overhead cranes come with the manufacturer’s recommendations on the frequency with which each component of an overhead crane should be inspected, many companies still fail to design an appropriate preventive maintenance program that is based on those guidelines. Sometimes, companies assume that they can ensure equipment reliability just by keeping an annual HSE inspection in place, but the fact remains that the HSE inspection needs to comply with the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) inspection and preventive maintenance guidelines. Often, the inspection contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder on a fixed quote and this may prevent companies from getting a professional service that addresses their specific equipment maintenance needs.

If you are looking for a vendor, you should ideally check if the vendor has a strong reputation in the industry and whether it can tailor its programs to accommodate your needs. You should also check whether your vendor agrees to conduct routine maintenance jobs while complying with HSE and OEM guidelines. When you evaluate your existing service provider, you should try to identify the areas that can be improved upon. Your vendor might be providing you with a set of services that are specifically mentioned in the contract and that may just be the minimum requirements. To be very honest, the programs that are based on a limited budget are not the best options.

Additionally, you cannot adopt a one-size-fits-all approach while scheduling inspections. Some cranes are used more frequently than others and they will demand greater attention. While selecting a vendor you should check whether it can address your specific needs and if you really want to extend the life of your overhead cranes, you would surely want to invest in a professional inspection program.