Basic Tips To Ensure Safe Use Of High-Pressure Hydraulic Tools


High-pressure hydraulic equipment is normally used to undertake activities such as lifting, bending, pulling, and pushing. Considered as one of the safest methods of applying force, hydraulic power technology is noted for its simplicity and ease-of-use. However, it is the simplicity in the use of such tools which may lead to their abuse, inviting negative consequences for the users and impacting equipment function at the same time. Before you handle high-pressure hydraulic equipment, you need to make sure that you go through the standard safety rules and understand them accurately.

You should be ideally protected by safety glasses, safety boots, gloves, hard hat, and protective clothing and these are not just safety norms, but obligatory fundamentals as well. Improper assembly or operation is one of the prime reasons behind the occurrence of majority of mishaps and hence, you should ensure that you understand what each function is and how it works. You should avoid ‘overloading’ scenarios that may destroy the cylinders, seals, and the plungers. Make use of a gauge to specify safe operational loads. Before setting up or disconnecting a hydraulic connection, make sure that there is no pressure in the system. Check the gauge.

Place the hydraulic cylinder on a solid base that can bear sufficient strength. You would certainly not want the cylinder to disappear into the soil beneath it! Try to use a jacking base or alternatively, you may use a steel plate to distribute the load uniformly. Allocate the load across the entire saddle and place the cylinders in such a way that the hose and the coupler get adequate place when the cylinder extends. Wipe the couplers before connecting and keep the oil connections clean. Make sure that you avoid over-extension of the cylinders as all cylinders do not come with safety stop-rings.

Avoid using an extension on the pump handle. This will not only make the pump lose its stability, but may also make the system excessively pressurised which may invite dangerous consequences if the pump is not equipped with a relief valve. When you use a power pump, make sure that hoses and fittings are linked to the appropriate inlet and outlet ports of the cylinder and the valve. Make sure that the oil level is accurate. Check the pump’s electrical specifications against the supply voltage. In case you are using an air-operated pump, make sure that the air is clean as dirty air is one of the major causes of failure of the air motor.

Make sure that you do not drop heavy objects on the hose as this may lead to hose failure. Additionally, make sure not to carry hydraulic equipment by the hose as this can put undue pressure on the hose fittings, which may cause leakage. Keep hydraulic couplers in fully tightened form as loose connections may lead to partial or complete obstruction of oil flow between pump and cylinder. With lubrication determining the life and operating ability of hydraulic equipment, you should abide by the manufacturer’s recommendations on oil use. Periodic oil changes are an absolute necessity.

Major Considerations That Shape Your Winch Purchase Decision

With the cost of a winch ranging from 100 pounds to thousands of pounds, you may find it hard to select a winch that not only suits your budget, but serves your purpose as well. There are a few major considerations that one should take into account when you purchase a winch so that you feel good about your investment at the end of the day. Think about your intended usage before you determine how much winch you exactly need. You also need to have knowledge about the purpose and safe use of winch accessories. As a rule of thumb, winch rating is calculated by multiplying the gross load weight by 1.5. The product indicates your minimum winch size. However, this is just the minimum rating and there may be situations that may demand your winch capacity to be exceeded. Hence, you should carefully determine usage before you make a choice.

Secondly, your choice of winch motor should also be determined by the frequency and intensity of use. Light duty winching and permanent magnet motors work well together whereas heavier and more frequent winching will demand the use of a Series Wound winch. Hydraulic winches are an appropriate option if you winch throughout the day regularly and beyond any electrical winch’s capability. The weight of the winch may be one of your primary considerations and the dimensions of your winch may also influence your choice as well as the orientation of which it is mounted and the rope deploys. Winches may come with an Integrated or Remote Solenoid Pack and each option has its own set of advantages, including their ability to reduce the space required to mount the winch.

Read the manufacturer’s warranty thoroughly to be aware of the warranty coverage time and other terms and conditions. Consider serviceability as a vital decision-making criterion as you need to ensure that you find a service centre whenever you need it most. You will surely not want to spend your time hunting down hard to find replacements of broken parts after the warranty period expires.

How Do You Know If It Is Time To Change A Load Rope?

Safety should be your primary consideration when it comes to handling lifting equipment. When you do not practise adequate care to minimise risk elements, you put your life and others’ lives at risk and this is the last thing that you will want to be affected with. Fatalities at work sites are commonly caused by dropped loads and needless to mention, such incidents can be attributed to the use of excessively worn load chain and ropes. While timely inspection and maintenance can prevent mishaps, the fact is that even a little bit of negligence can reverse situations and cause irrecoverable damages.

UK law requires companies to inspect above the hook equipment every 12 months whereas the equipment that is used more intensely should be examined on a frequent basis. It is quite easy to inspect load chains and a visual inspection on a daily basis may help you notice the danger signs. Check if the diameter of the rope looks worn. While this is one of the most obvious signs, you should look for other signs such as splintering and kinking. If you spot a minor splintering, monitor it regularly so that you can prevent an imminent accident. If the splintering appears to be substantial, you need to replace the existing rope with a new rope.

When it comes to inspecting chains, you need to adopt a slightly different approach. The lower inside half of the chain link is subjected to most wear and tear as this is the area that faces the maximum amount of pressure. Excessive wear is often attributed to the lack of lubrication to the inner sides of the links. There can be a lot of doubts and questions during inspection which may put you in a “change-not change” dilemma. The best way to deal with such scenarios is to eliminate your doubt completely. Change – if you think that this will reduce risk, save lives, and give you peace of mind.

When searching for a reliable supplier for a new load rope, regardless of the manufacturer, size or complexity Cranes-UK are the UK’s premier crane servicing company offering nationwide support, installation and global supply of crane components, give them a call or visit their informative website for further details.

Choosing The Most Appropriate Platform Trolley Depending On Your Specific Requirement

platform trolleyWhile the main purpose of using trolleys at work sites remains the same, there can be unique needs that businesses may look to address. This explains why the use of platform trolleys has a wide and a varied scope and why businesses typically want to invest in customized trolleys that would match specific job requirements. The nature, weight, shape, and size of products that need to be transported should be taken into consideration in order to identify the most appropriate models that best serve your purpose.

A platform trolley is of high quality if it is constructed with a sturdy steel frame that has no sharp edges. Platform trolleys may have a width of 500 mm and a length of 600 mm and they may come with a carrying capacity that ranges from 300 kg upwards. Businesses can choose to customize the carrying surface depending on the nature of job. The base can be constructed with metal or wood. If you need to transport curved items, such as oil drums or bottles, you may choose to equip your trolleys with specially tailored cages. If you need to carry materials that have long lengths, you may choose to add racks to ensure safe carriage. If you think that you need to secure items, you may get a security cage installed to safeguard your items.

A customized platform trolley can come with sides added to it. The sides can be constructed with steel, plywood, mesh, or plastic and they can be hinged or gated depending on your requirement. The size and the nature of wheels of your platform trolley depend on the type of surface that the trolley is supposed to be used and the weight of the materials that the trolley needs to carry. If you need to transport heavy loads, go for trolleys that have wheels constructed with cast iron and polyurethane treads. If your trolley needs to be used on uneven surfaces, select trolleys that come equipped with air-filled pneumatic castors. More sensitive environments may demand the use of nylon or anti-static castors. Platform trolleys come with the same braking system as we find in an airport trolley which requires us to push down the handle so as to release the brake.

Reputed manufacturers may offer you quality add-ons that may enhance your operating experience, helping you capitalise on your investment.

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.

Fall Restraint and Fall Arrest EXPLAINED

A frequently asked question amongst the industry when it comes to buying Height Safety Equipment- “What is the difference between Fall Restraint and Fall Arrest equipment?”

When working at height one must always take the preventative measures to ensure complete safety at all times when working at height- fail to do so and you leave yourself at risk from serious injury and potentially death. Now who wants that on their site?!

Roofing Height Safety KitIf working at height and want to prevent a fall by safely anchoring yourself to an anchor point which when secured there is no risk of a fall as the lanyard connected is shorter than the fall hazard and there for restraining you- this is called Fall Restraint.

When working at height and there is a constant risk of a fall then Fall Arrest equipment is necessary- this can be in the form of a fall arrest lanyard (lanyard similar to restraint lanyard but features a shock absorber to break the fall) or a Fall Arrest block which is usually a cable or webbing reel that allows one to travel greater distances without having to re-anchor a short lanyard. When a fall is detected by the sensitive units it is broken safely to reduce pressures on the person falling and reduce risk of serious injury.

Either of the above methods of Height Safety can be connected to a suitable anchor point such as a height safety eyebolt, beam clamp or trolley. If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments section.

Moving Machinery With Load Moving Skates

Load Moving Skates are one of the most handy tools you can possess when considering moving a large machine or object such as a cabinet/piece of furniture. Making light work of moving loads up to 100Tonnes short-medium distances but suitable for moving light loads too, machinery skates offer a versitile solution to load moving.

When moving a machine such as a CNC machine one would usually take a large purposely tested roller pinch bar (up to 5000kg) and carefully push the load slightly from the ground to enable an assistant to place a low entry toe jack under the machine in one corner, then repeat the opposite side of the machine.
Secondly two people then jack both of the jacks up high enough to slide the Load Moving Skates in to position, one can then release pressure from the jacks to safely lower the machine down on to the bed of the front steerable skate. Repeat the same on the opposite side, the correct method would be to perform this lift with 4 toe jacks however many people take the risk of using only two jacks. (You should always use 4 jacks).

There are many types of Toe Jacks available on today’s market varying from standard low entry models, adjustable toe jacks where the toes can be conveniently tucked away or moved and rotational Toe Jacks which as you can imagine rotate.

When To Change My Load Rope or Load Chain

As I am sure you are aware; safety is paramount when it comes to lifting gear, risking anything usually means lives are at risk- and that shouldn’t be something you ever intend or practicing.

Excessively worn Load Chains and ropes are the main cause of dropped loads and fatalities, correct maintenance and inspection should never allow this to happen, but in the hands of the neglectful, it can. And it does. Above the hook equipment by law should be thoroughly inspected every 12 months, while it is recommended that equipment used intensely be inspected more regularly.

Load Ropes in particular can be more noticeable when it comes to a light ‘everyday’ visual inspection. Wear to the diameter of the rope is the most obvious signs while splintering and kinking can be another. Minor splintering should be monitored where as heavy splintering requires a new rope. With chains it is slightly different. Most wear occurs on the lower inside half of the chain link- this is where the majority of pressure is exerted, excessive wear if the hoist is not used often is usually down to lack of lubrication to the inners of the links. Many doubts and questions are raised when issues with Load Chains/Ropes arise due to an inspection, most companies will recommend a change, but the true decision is down to the company that own the equipment. My best advice is don’t risk a life to save a penny.

If in doubt- change it!

Kito Electric Hoists- The best quality on the market?

Kito ER2 Electric Chain HoistIf you work closely with lifting equipment and hoists you maybe aware of the Kito brand, having become more established in the UK market over the last few years Kito are well respected on a global scale for producing some of the most robust and technologically advanced hoists with favoured Japanese engineering.

The construction of Kito’s ER2 series of hoists is impeccable, offering as standard their aluminium die cast body designed with both strength and stability in mind while also remaining lightweight and tough, many hoist makers out there now are using plastic covers which will certainly not standup to the work that the Kito ER2 can. The Nickel-plated load chain offers an alternative to the traditional Zinc-plated version that many alternative brands offer, ideal for demanding environments.

A huge feature of the Kito ER2 is the thermal motor protection device which prevents the operator from using the hoist beyond its capability and burning out the motor (a common occurrence with poorly trained operators) A sensor in the hoist cuts the power to the motor in any case of overheating, when activated with a load suspended the load will remain securely braked in place while the motor cools down, once cool the operator can begin using the hoist again and safely lower or raise the load suspended, this feature can save you from having to replace the most expensive component in the hoist, a huge investment as standard!

Not only does the hoist protect the operator from burning out the motor (and having their boss to answer to when he has a broken hoist motor) but also protects the user from overloading the hoist, the Kito ER2 features a unique friction clutch developed by Kito as an overload protection which cuts the transmission power from the motor in the case of overload.

A feature that few other hoists offer (especially as standard) is Kito’s CH meter with integrated inverter which neatly displays the number of operation hours the hoist has encountered, ideal when it comes to servicing and especially in the case of warranty claims, this also helps control inspection and maintenance intervals and shows the true usage of the hoist. Standard upper and lower limit switches protect the operator from human error when controlling the hoist, limits can be set to prevent the hook from travelling too high or too low, these limits are extremely precise.

Why Crane & Lifting Gear Inspection Is Vital For Safety

With health and safety regulations getting tighter each and every day we are forced to pay attention to new legislation. It is essential by law that all cranes and above hook equipment is inspected by a qualified body every 12 months, with under the hook equipment requiring 6 monthly inspections (this is most likely because there is more chance that under the hook equipment gets damaged or worn out). With hoists or cranes in a more intense environment such as a nuclear facility or wet room it is recommended by experts that equipment be inspected every 3 months by a qualified body and of course a visual inspection by the operator before each use as standard.

Preventative maintenance not only helps reduce the risk of equipment down-time and expensive repair bills but also ensures that your team remain as far away from danger as you can help, the last thing you want on your hands is a fatal accident and years of court dates with potentially the responsible persons looking at serious jail terms for not abiding by the law.

When searching for the ideal company to carry out an maintenance plan for you the best thing to do is a quick internet search for your nearest lifting equipment or crane company that offers servicing and inspection. Many think that these two things are the same; they are not. Often people believe that the inspection their insurance company provides is sufficient, in terms of law abiding it is, however a visual inspection of the crane and load rope will not help prevent in depth issues, visual inspections do not open up the gearbox and check the whole crane, a service will provide you with an inspection but at the same time a full service of mechanical parts as well as an oil level check and much more. The service is a more physical look in to detailed components of the crane or hoist as opposed to a tick sheet of visual conformities.