Crane Equipment: cranes, chains & automobiles

crane equipment, hercules slr, rigging services

Cranes have been used since the first century – in that time, they were powered by humans or animals to lift heavy loads. Cranes have adapted and come a long way since – they now use an assortment of crane equipment and hardware to lift, lower and even sometimes move horizontally.

Read on to learn more about the modern variety of crane equipment available and Hercules SLR’s tips for using it.

CRANE EQUIPMENT: an overview

For rigging with cranes, different types of lifting equipment (also known as tackle) are used. These include:

  • Wire Rope Slings
  • Synthetic Slings
  • Shackles
  • Snatch Blocks
  • Hooks
  • Chain Hoists
  • Chain Pullers
  • Eye Bolts
  • Tirfors
  • Jacks
  • Lifting Beam
  • Spreader Beams
  • Beam Clamps
  • Plate Clamps

CRANE EQUIPMENT: wire rope slings

Pay special attention to wire rope slings as they are susceptible to server wear, abrasion, impact loading, crushing, kinking and overloading – small changes in the slings’ angle affect the safe working load of the sling. Care should be taken around rough edges and wire rope slings – even an edge you might not consider ‘sharp’ can make considerable damage to your wire rope sling, making it unsafe and ineffective. Use sleeves, wear pads or corner protectors to protect your wire rope sling from damage.

Be sure to not drop a load or run a load over the sling – this will crush the sling. Also, don’t stop and start suddenly while you lift and lower with a wire rope sling, as this increases the slings’ stresses and increases possible failures.















There are three ways to identify wire rope slings: the SWL, I.D. number and certificate number.

  1. Hard-stamped on ferrule
  2. A tag which has a wire running through the tag and eye of the sling
  3. Large metal washer where the wire of the sling is passed through when you make the eye of a sling


There are three main wire rope sling configurations:

  1. Double-Choker Hitch
  2. Pair of Double Wrap Chokers
  3. Single Choker Hitch

Round slings’ are versatile – they’re strong, yet delicate to the load to lift. They’re light, flexible in many directions and malleable which is especially helpful when lifting an awkward or delicate load.

Synthetic Round Sling Label

CRANE EQUIPMENT: synthetic round slings 

Round slings’ are not easily damaged by sunlight, humidity, grease, dirt or seawater. Round slings’ are identified by the colour of the label, and also have the SWL on it.

CRANE EQUIPMENT: web slings 

Web slings are suited for particularly those that can be easily damaged. They’re easy to damage if you use them improperly – your web sling shouldn’t touch a sharp edge, heat or chemicals that will cause damage.



For crane lifting, two different shackles are typically used – bow and d-shackles. When using synthetic slings with a crane, two types of shackles are available, wide sling shackle and a round sling shackle. Web sling shackles are wider and bow out in the middle, and round sling shackles are narrow and sometimes have small valleys in the shackle bow, which supports the synthetic strands better.

These prevent the sling from bunching and pinching, which can be an issue with bow or d-shackles – it also reduces the SWL capacity of the sling.

To use shackles for crane lifting safely, follow these tips:

  • Don’t replace the shackle pin with a bolt – only the proper fitted pin should be used. Bolts aren’t meant to take the bend that a pin can handle.
  • Pins must be straight and all-screw pins must be completely seated
  • Cotter pins should be used with all round pin shackles
  • Shackles worn at the crown or pin by over 10% of original diameter should be removed from service and destroyed.
  • Don’t pull your shackle at an angle with a sling or hoist rope – this reduces the shackle’s capacity by 50%. Spacers can be used to centralize the load on the pins with spacers.
  • Don’t use screw pin shackles if the load can roll under load and unscrew


A sheave block is a single, or multi-sheave block which opens on one side – this opening allows a rope to be pulled over the sheave and eliminates the need to be threaded through the block. When crane lifting with wire rope, sheave blocks can be purchased with configurations for hook, shackle, eye and swivel fittings.

  • Sheave blocks are normally used when it’s necessary to change the direction of pull on the line. When this happens, the stress on the sheave block is significantly greater than the angle between the lead and load lines. 
    crane equipment, rigging services, hercules slr, Crane Equipment: cranes, chains & automobiles
    Pulley with a sheave on a mobile lifting crane, with 25-ton lifting capability
  • When the lines are parallel, 1000lbs on the lead line results in double the weight on the block—2000lbs on block, hook and whatever the connection points are attached to. As the angle between lines increases, the stress on the block and hook is reduced.


Many different hooks are available for lifting and rigging operations – check with manufacturer instructions and warnings before using in a crane application.

When using hooks to lift with a crane, follow these tips:

  • Ensure hoisting hooks are fitted with safety latches (except grab and sorting hooks)
  • Inspect hooks often, looking for wear in the hook’s saddle – check for cracks, corrosion and if the hook’s body is twisted.
  • Inspect the shackle’s throat opening – if the hook’s been overloaded or is weak, the throat will open. If this is the case, remove from service and destroy so no one else attempts to use it.
  • Inspect for cracks in the hook’s saddle and neck
  • Be sure the hook is stamped with its SWL
  • Note that the SWL applies when the load is in the saddle of the hook, as this reduces the SWL.


Turnbuckles are sometimes called rigging screws and can be supplied with eye end, jaw end, stub end fittings and/or a combination of these.

  • Use turnbuckles fabricated from alloy steel with weldless construction.
  • If turnbuckles have end fittings, ensure hooks are fit with safety latches.


Chain hoists are often used with cranes to move larger equipment and machinery. Chain hoists vary in size and length, and require little effort to execute a lift.

Chain hoists are durable, but can be damaged easily. To prevent damage, check:

  • The SWL is right for the application/load
  • The chain hoist has been inspected or certified by a third party
  • The hoist’s body is free of cracks or broken castings
  • The hook isn’t deformed and is fit with a safety latch
  • Anchor pins are in place correctly, and are the right type
  • Chain is in good working condition
  • SWL is clearly marked on the chain hoist block

A lever hoist is similar to a chain hoist, but operates slightly different with a lever to lift and lower the load – it can also be used to pull loads.


When lifting with a crane and eye bolts, ensure eye and ring bolts are made of alloy steel and have shoulders or collars.

Do not load eye bolts at an angle – angular loading reduces the weight of the load they can safely support.


A tirfor is a mechanical device, equipped with a level handle to operate. They’re used to pull and add tension, and can also be used to lift if they have blocks.

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.

Important: Preventative Equipment Maintenance

Preventative Maintenance

Underestimating the importance of equipment maintenance could be taking a toll on your bottom line. The saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is too often the way some view equipment maintenance. Why pay for service on your equipment if there’s nothing wrong with it? Believe it or not, there are several reasons. All equipment is an investment — one that requires time and money to keep in optimal shape.


Preventative equipment maintenance is key to extending equipment life and ultimately saving you time and money. While your perception may be that paying for preventative maintenance is unnecessary spending, the reality is that without it, you’re often left with more expensive repairs. At Hercules SLR we believe in the importance of preventative maintenance, here are just some of the reasons why:


When equipment runs efficiently, work get done on schedule, keeping that optimal condition is key to maintaining that level of equipment efficiency. If maintenance is overlooked, efficiency suffers and ultimately, your bottom line suffers as a result.


We’ve all seen it; something isn’t working exactly the way it used to, but it isn’t affecting the job, so we continue, sometimes even adjusting how we use the piece of equipment to keep things moving. While it may seem like this is the most efficient way to get the job done in the short term, it could cause you major problems long-term.


While it may seem like it makes no sense to spend the time and money to have your equipment inspected or repaired when you’re able to work around it, the reality is that waiting, is going to cost you even more. Bigger, more complex repairs come with a bigger price tag. Think of more than parts? yes, a more complex problem will likely come with having to replace more and/or larger parts that are expensive, but it doesn’t end there.

Larger problems often translate to more downtime, the more downtime means you’re suddenly behind schedule and/or unable to take on a new project. Employees scheduled to use that equipment need paying, so now you are paying for work that cannot be done during the downtime.

Don’t wait for the bigger problem — invest in the small one.


Within the construction industry, 17% of fatal construction accidents are due to contact with objects and equipment. If your equipment isn’t being serviced on a regular basis, there’s a chance it isn’t working properly. If it isn’t working properly, you’re increasing your chances of workplace injury or death because of equipment failure.

Regardless of how much safety training you or your employees have been through, they don’t have control over equipment failure. Of course, there will always be unexpected breakdowns, but you can minimize them through being proactive about your equipment maintenance.

Workplace injuries and fatalities are tragic and expensive. Company morale suffers, and so does your bottom line. One of the benefits of maintenance doubles as a proactive step in reducing the number of injuries or fatalities you have on site. You can’t put a price on your team’s safety in the field.


Service records and documentation answer many of these questions and put many of the concerns of the unknown to rest. At Hercules SLR all our customers have access to CertTracker®, our FREE online equipment management system.

CertTracker® delivers innovative solutions that streamline any inspection and maintenance process. Mobile computing, Radio Frequency (RFID) tagging and internet applications provide you with enhanced accuracy and operational efficiency. Not to mention eliminating most of the paperwork.

CertTracker Cycle

The CertTracker Advantage


In conjunction with technology, there is no substitution for the human touch. It takes a trained operator to understand the problem and a trained technician to know how to fix it or to alert someone that it needs repairing. Educating your equipment operators and any technicians you have on staff is key to extending the life of your equipment, as they will be sure that small problems don’t turn in to big ones.

If training isn’t feasible, there needs to be a summary of best practices and an operation manual in place so you can ensure operators are using the equipment the way it was meant to be used. Always respect all weight limits and guidelines. An untrained equipment operator could unintentionally cause costly repairs, so make sure the best practices and expectations are outlined clearly and regularly.


Every piece of equipment is different. They all have their own intricacies and need a maintenance and repair schedule to match. Rather than waiting for parts to cause a problem, replace them when they are scheduled to be replaced.

How do you know when that is? The piece of equipment will have an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) maintenance recommendation. Commit to it. It may seem like by being proactive you’re attempting to fix something that isn’t broken, but trust us, neglecting to do this will result in expensive repairs.


No, inspections are not the same thing as maintenance schedules. equipment should be inspected every time it’s used. Trained operators should know what to look and listen for to ensure equipment is working properly. Checking for simple things, like signs of wear on equipment, can go a long way. The reality is equipment is often used with vibration, high temperatures and friction? all of which contribute to the wear and tear. Add age to the mix, and you have a recipe for deterioration.

This happens with all equipment, and the key to extending equipment life is to make sure you do something as simple as adding an operator visual inspection to your equipment use requirements. Noticing slight wear and tear may seem small, but these things can be identified through a visual inspection and fixed before they cause a larger problem.


When it comes to inspections, testing, repairs and certification, you need to know that you and your equipment are in safe and experienced hands.

The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) is established across the globe as the leading representative body for all those involved in the lifting industry worldwide. They provide third party training and examination for technicians in the lifting equipment industry.

At Hercules our inspectors have undergone this internationally recognized training and some hold multiple diplomas.


  • Familiar with the most recent technology in the lifting industry
  • Skilled and confident in their inspection skills
  • Constantly learning and expanding their knowledge
  • LEEA Registered Technicians

LEEA Header

For all your maintenance requirements, let our experts help. If you need to book your equipment in for service or have any concerns, questions or call us Toll Free on:  1-877-461-4876.


Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.





Rigging Tips: avoid common wire rope damage


Wire rope has many applications—today the focus is on Wire Rope slings. Read on for tips from our Brampton rigging experts to inspect your wire rope sling and prevent common wire rope damage, so your wire rope slings have a long life.

Wire Rope: basic components

A piece of wire rope has three main components. Individual wires that make up each strand, the strand itself and finally, the core it’s built around. (See figure 1). The core is typically composed of fibre core (FC) or steel wire core, called independent wire rope core (IWRC). The steel core increases strength by 7% and the weight by 10%, which provides more support to the outer strands than fibre cores. Steel cores resist crushing and are more resistant to heat.

The design factor of wire rope tells you the ratio between minimum breaking load of the rope and the working load limit (WLL).

Figure 1

Wire Rope Lay Patterns

(L-R) Right Lay/Ordinary Lay, Left Lay/Ordinary Lay, Right Lay/Lang’s Lay, Right Lay/Reverse Lay (Cross Lay)






Wire Rope Sling Inspection: what to look for

It’s important to inspect your wire rope sling before use to prevent common wire rope damage—but also for safety. Wire rope slings don’t normally pass around a pulley, therefore it’s important to look out for wear from the environment, like:

  • Abrasive dust, little to no lubricant
  • Normal wear-and-tear
  • Corrosion (look for discolouration, lack of flexibility and rough to-the-touch feel)
  • Abrasion
  • Thermal damage (over-heating)
  • Termination failures

When inspecting the wire rope itself, look for wear at the crown, the core strands and inter-strand wear. Check for kinked, damaged or broken wires. This kind of damage is often caused by slinging a previous load incorrectly—if excessive wear is present, it may be best to look at how wire rope slings are used on the worksite. Keep reading for tips to avoid common wire rope damage and wear and tear on slings.

Wire Rope Sling Don’ts:

  • Don’t join slings by threading eyes;
  • Don’t pull loops in your sling or use a knotted/kinked sling;
  • Don’t tie knots in sling legs to reduce length;
  • Don’t overload the sling;
  • Don’t pull from under a load;
  • Don’t life a container with only two slings;
  • Don’t place slings near welding/cutting operations;
  • Don’t force the eye to open more than 20° (this places undue tension on the ferrule;
  • Don’t stand under a load;
  • Don’t land the load directly on the sling;
  • Don’t wrap a wire rope around a hook—this kinks the wire and ruins the sling.

Wire Rope Sling Do’s:

  • Always use a shackle with at least the same SWL to join slings together;
  • Use suitable storage/packaging;
  • Minimum radius sling can be bent is 3 times diameter of sling wire rope.

Most damage to wire rope slings is caused by unnecessary chaffing against the load, ground or nearby objects. Avoid abrasion and don’t place your sling in contact with adjacent structures, don’t drag your wire rope sling from under a load, and avoid double-choke hitching to prevent common wire rope damage.

Wire rope sling corrosion is a major cause of deterioration, and is caused by poor storage, exposure to weather and corrosive chemicals. Thermal damage happens when the operating temperature is too high, electric arching was used during welding or if the sling was exposed to lightening. External wear can typically be seen from the outside, however, it’s more difficult to asses internal damage—the rope must be opened up. See figures 2 and 3 for examples of internal wire rope corrosion.

Internal wear is most affected by pressure and friction. Factors that affect internal wear include:

  • Level of rope tension
  • Bending ratio
  • Bending frequency
  • Lack of lubricant
  • Tension fatigue (affected by degree of tension)
Figure 2
Figure 3









Wire Rope termination: what to look for

  • Wire breaks
  • Corrosion
  • Reduction in rope diameter
  • Unusual rope movement
  • Evidence of rope end
  • Evidence of any incorrect fitting
  • Evidence of any component wear

Avoid Common Wire Rope Damage: battening down

When a rigger strikes the eye of a sling in a choke hitch to force the bright closer to the load in an attempt to ‘make it more secure’—this is known as battening down (not to be confused with a batten from theatre rigging), and is actually very dangerous. The bight should always assume its natural angle, which is usually about 120°.

Battening down: dangerous!

Practice inspections and know what to look for, avoid battening down, avoid exposing your wire rope sling to abrasive forces and chemicals, and you can avoid common wire rope sling damage.

Want more wire rope? Check out our pages on types of wire rope construction and wire rope grades.


Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.