10 Fun Facts About Industrial Cranes

10 Fun Facts About Industrial Cranes

Whether you’re working within the rigging industry or not, cranes have become a very large part of people’s lives. Cranes have become a part of our cities skylines, even if you haven’t noticed it! They are such an integral part of construction and development that they can sometimes blend right into the background. They are massive tools that make the existence of much of our infrastructure possible.

A crane bird

Since cranes are such a large but underappreciated part of not only our industry but community, we thought it would be fun to share 10 fun facts you may not have known about cranes. Read on to learn more!

1. Cranes are Named After the Bird

If you google the word crane, you’ll get a mixture of lifting cranes and this fun looking bird, also called a crane! Have you ever wondered why these two share a name? It’s because lifting cranes were actually named after the bird. Crane birds are tall and slender, bendy, and quick with their beaks, so lifting cranes got their name because early crane manufacturers thought they looked like these birds – do you agree?

2. Cranes were Invented in Ancient Greece

The first crane was built by the Ancient Greeks in 500 BC. The first crane was a primitive, wooden form powered by humans and animals, used to pull heavy objects and construct many of the beautiful structures that existed in Ancient Greece. One of the Greek’s most famous buildings, the Parthenon, shows evidence of cranes used in its construction.

3. Jibs Changed the Game

In the Middle Ages, what we know now as a Jib was added to the Greek crane which allowed the crane’s arm to move horizontally and not just vertically! Following this advancement, cranes began to first be used in harbors to unload cargo from ships – something that modern cranes are still doing now. By the sixteenth century, cranes were built with two treadmills, one on each side of a rotating housing containing the boom.

4. From Wood to Steel

As mentioned above, the earliest cranes in ancient Greece were made of wood which did the trick back in the day but wouldn’t have the strength to stand up against some of the jobs modern cranes take on today. Now, cranes are usually manufactured using steel.

5. The First Powered Cranes Were Powered by Steam

Until the middle of the nineteenth century, cranes still relied on human or animal power. What changed that? The invention of the steam engine! This technology was introduced to cranes and allowed them to be powered by a motor. By the end of the nineteenth century, internal combustion engines and electric motors were used to power cranes.

6. Cranes Build Themselves!

That’s right, cranes oftentimes build themselves. The only thing large enough and strong enough to build cranes, is other cranes. With the help of workers, operators use the crane to attach vital pieces of equipment. Sometimes cranes will literally build themselves placing pieces onto itself once the control panel is up and running – how cool is that!

7. There are Many Different Types of Cranes

Different types of cranes can be found on almost any construction project, each one specializing in its own specific task. Here are just a few of the most popular ones:

  • Mobile Cranes – A mobile crane is a cable-controlled crane mounted on crawlers or rubber-tired carriers or a hydraulic-powered crane with a telescoping boom mounted on truck-type carriers or as self-propelled models.
  • Carry Deck Crane – A carry deck crane is a small 4 wheel crane with a 360 degree rotating boom housed in the center of the machine.
  • Crane Vessel – A crane vessel, crane ship or floating crane is a ship with a crane specialized in lifting heavy loads. The largest crane vessels are used for offshore construction.
  • Rough Terrain Crane – As the name implies, these cranes are used for pick and carry operations off-road and on rough terrains.

8. The Current Largest Crane in the World

The SGC – 250, the Sarens Giant Crane also known as ‘Big Carl’, is a 250,000t/m heavy crane designed to sgc-250 craneaccommodate the heavy lifting requirements for refinery, oil and gas, mining, offshore platform, and third-generation components for nuclear power plants.

Built in 2015, this crane has a maximum lift capacity of 5,000-tons and features a 118m – 160.5m main boom configuration with a 40.5m – 99.5 m heavy-duty jib configuration. It operates on a 48.5m outer ring and requires a 5,200-ton counterweight. The jib can be extended up to 100 meters, giving it a maximum height of 250 meters (820 feet) and radius 275 meters (902 feet).

The SGC – 250 can operate on two different blocks at the same time—One on the main boom and one on the jib. The crane’s main hook block weighs 105 tonnes and has a safe working load (SWL) of 3,200 tonnes while the jib hook weighs 58 tonnes and has an SWL of 1,600 tonnes.

9. The Strongest Mobile Crane

Designed by Liebherr, located in Switzerland, the mobile crane, LTM 11200-9.1, is the strongest telescopic LTM 11200-9.1 cranemobile crane in the market and offers the world’s longest telescopic boom. It has a maximum lift capacity of 1,200-tons, a maximum hoisting height of 188 meters (616 feet) and a maximum radius of 136 meters (446 feet) – This is over the length of a football field! 

Some of the features found on the LTM 11200-9.1 are:

  • 100m long telescopic boom and 22m telescopic boom extension.
  • Lifting capacity of 65-tons at the 100m long, suspended telescopic boom.
  • 126m long luffing fly jib.
  • 60.5m long fixed jib, optionally hydraulically adjustable.
  • Fast and easy crane assembly with little required space.
  • Active, speed dependent rear-axle steering (all axles can be steered).
  • Economical transportation.

The LTM 11200-9.1 has been used to assemble larger portal cranes, radio towers, absorber columns, and wind power generators. When fully-loaded the base of the vehicle drives with slewing platforms, luffing cylinder and all four folding beams—With all of these elements, it will weigh in at over 100-tons. However, dismantling these elements is easy to do, making it so you only have to travel with what will be used on the job. Doing this can lessen the total weight to 34-tons, making it much more economical to transport.

10. Cranes can be Dangerous

As much as we admire the beauty and versatility of cranes – At the end of the day, they are a very large and potentially dangerous piece of machinery. Failure to follow safe lifting practices can lead to serious personal injury and cause damage to equipment and facilities. However, with proper training, inspections & maintenance, and workplace protocol you can greatly reduce the likelihood of many safety hazards. Hercules SLR can help with that!

We’re your one-stop-shop. Would you make three different stops in the morning to get your sugar, milk, and grounds for your morning coffee? Of course not—Why should your crane service be any different?

Hercules SLR offers crane certifications & LEEA-certified inspections, repairs, predictive & preventive maintenance (so you can pass those inspections!) and crane parts & accessories like wire rope slings, hoists & whatever else you need to lift.

Have a type of crane you need to be serviced, but we didn’t cover it here? Give us a call—We service anything. 

NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.

What’s a Banksman? An Important Rigging Role

What’s a Banksman? An Important Rigging Role

Have you ever needed to back your vehicle out of a difficult position and had a friend grab a better vantage point to guide you? In these situations, you may be able to hear your guide – but oftentimes rely on them signaling you to move, turn, or stop using hand signals.

Now, imagine that on the scale of operating a crane! A crane operator can’t hear you. So when your team removes an old rooftop unit and positions a new one, the people on the ground and on the rooftop must use established hand signals to communicate safely with the crane operator – that’s the role of the banksman! Of course, that’s boiling it down a bit, but largely the banksman is in charge of crane movements from the point of loading to unloading. A banksman may also control the movements of other equipment such as an excavator, by carefully monitoring the bucket for any obstructions or underground services. They often do this using a system of hand signals along with possibly a radio system.

Why the Worksite Needs a Banksman 

The role of the banksman is one of the most important roles on the worksite. Ask any crane operator and they will tell you that one of the main factors for a successful project is coordination. Working in-sync with your team on the ground is not only crucial for safety but can help your project run smoothly, on schedule and keep the boss happy. With absolute precision and accuracy needed for a job, being able to clearly communicate direction is critical – but this is not always an easy task.

It’s easy to imagine needing to use hand signals when communicating to the crane operator, but they are also needed on the ground. Construction sites can be exceptionally loud and busy, meaning verbal communication is at risk of being drowned out by roaring machinery.

As the eyes and the ears of a dedicated area or crane, a banksman carries many responsibilities.  Before a person can direct the operation of a crane they must first undergo formal training and complete a qualification in crane signaling. In training, a person will not only develop an understanding of standard hand signals, but they will also be required to become familiar with many different types of cranes, how each crane functions and any hand signals specific to particular equipment. The trainee banksman is required to grasp an understanding of the large library of signals without any memory prompts and show competence in recalling these during an examination by a third-party provider.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard method of signaling must be used when operating a crane unless non-standard hand signals are discussed during the pre-job meeting. OSHA enforces standards and training requirements for safe working environments across multiple industries, including construction in the United States.

Train to be a Rigger Slinger Banksman with Hercules Training Academy 

OVERVIEW

This training course provides students with the fundamental knowledge and practical skills of lifting and rigging to enable them to prepare, sling and release loads in an offshore environment. This is a 3-day program that combines theory and practical training. Students are evaluated by means of a written test and practical evaluation. Upon successful completion of the program, a certificate will be issued.

This program meets and exceeds the standards for offshore rigging set by:

CONTENT 
  • Regulations, standards, associations
  • Risk management
  • Rigging plan
  • Calculating load weight
  • Rigging triangle
  • Load control
  • Sling angles and the center of gravity
  • Rigging equipment (slings, hitches, hardware, hooks)
  • Pre-use inspection
  • Duties & responsibilities of the rigger and banksman
  • Communications (radio and hand signals)
  • Personnel transfer
  • Container inspection
  • Practical applications of the equipment and principles

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF

*PPSSTTTT… If you’re from or near Mount Pearl, NL, this course will be offered on Sep 28-30. Contact training@herculesslr.com for more info or to register! 

Keeping the Worksite Safe

The banksman is also responsible for preventing injury and accidents to the best of their ability, this is done by following strict procedure during crane operation, for instance standing in clear view of the crane operator, ensuring the operating area is clear of people or hazardous objects and performing one signal at a time to avoid confusion.

Safety is the number one concern for crane operators, a person performing the hand signals stand at a vantage point which allows them to view the load area from a perspective that is not visible to the crane operator. From this point, the signal person is able to confirm whether a maneuver is safe to perform and halt all activity if they observe a potential risk.

Cranes have incredible capabilities however if operated incorrectly, they can pose a significant danger to construction workers on the site and in some cases the public.  Hand signals have been established as a reliable, low tech and universal way to improve safety during operation and avoid accidents.

The Hand Signals

This age-old technique is used by crane operators across the world, aiding them to accurately receive unmistakable directions without the need for fancy equipment or even words!

Download your Hercules, handy reference sheet illustrating the correct hand signals here

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL LIST OF OSHA STANDARD METHOD HAND SIGNALS.


Rigging Through History | Skyscraper Appreciation Day

Rigging Through History | Skyscraper Appreciation Day

Did you know that today, August 10th, is Skyscraper Appreciation day? There really is a holiday for everything! Skyscraper Appreciation Day is recognized on August 10 as it is the birthday of the famous architect William Can Alen, who is the genius behind the construction of the Chrysler Building, which is one of New York City’s most iconic landmarks. Skyscraper Appreciation Day was initiated and founded by Dr. Tom Stevens – It was created so that the general public could admire the structural and architectural brilliance of skyscrapers and man’s ability to construct industrial masterpieces!

What is a Skyscraper?

Coming across a very tall building within a city is no longer something extraordinary – with more people and less space, it’s becoming more and more prevalent to take advantage of vertical space, and build up!

Terms such as “tall building”, “high-rise” and skyscraper are often used interchangeably to describe any and all tall buildings, but there is actually a difference between a tall building and a true “skyscraper”.

Three main criteria a building must meet to be a true skyscraper are the following:

  1. The structure must be self-supporting and not require tension cables or supports in order to remain standing.
  2. The structure must have habitable floor space which occupies at least 50% of the structure’s total height.
  3. The Structure must be a minimum height of 150 metres (492 feet).

Check out this video from The B1M by Dan Cortese to learn a bit more about this. 

The First Skyscrapers

Tall buildings and especially skyscrapers used to be something to marvel over as extraordinary feats of construction. Though they still are today – imagine how amazing the very first skyscrapers were following a time when construction of that nature and scale simply seemed impossible!

The very first range of tall commercial buildings built between 1884 and 1945 mostly located in New York City and Chicago. Economic growth in the United States following the Civil War caused increased intensive use of urban land, which made the switch from low-rise buildings to the development of taller buildings. As well, technological improvements made the construction of these buildings possible with the development of fireproofed iron-framed structures, deep foundations, elevators, and electric lighting.

The Home Insurance Building

Though it wouldn’t fit into modern skyscraper standards, the first towering skyscraper of the 1800s was Chicago’s 42 meter (138 ft) tall Home Insurance Building. The Home Insurance Building was located on the corner of Adams and LaSalle Streets in Chicago, Illinois, and was designed by engineer William LeBaron Jenney. The building was supported by steel frame, revolutionary for the time, which allowed for it’s much greater height and stability.

The Home Insurance buildings was first completed in 1885, and it originally had 10 stories. During its construction, city authorities were so worried that the building would topple over that they halted construction for a period of time so that they could ensure its safety. Five years later, after being sure the 10 stories were firmly planted on the ground, 2 additional floors were added to the top, making it a total height of 55 meters (180 ft). The Home Insurance Building stood tall until 1931, when it was demolished to make way for another skyscraper, the Field Building (now known as the LaSalle Bank Building).

This achievement paved the way for a group of architects and engineers called the Chicago School who together went on to develop the modern skyscraper, though New York would later become more known for taking skyscrapers to new heights.

Rigging Through History | The First Elevators

As we mentioned above, a few technological advancements truly made skyscrapers possible. The two essential advancements were the steel frame and the safety elevator. While the development of the steel frame is widely known and covered, the development of the first elevators in sometimes undefeated and overlooked.

The first passenger elevator installed in 1857 at the Haughwout Department Store in New York, it was shut down after just three years because customers refused to accept it. At the time, elevators were more of a tourist attraction than a means of transportation. The world didn’t have many tall buildings yet, and lower floors were the most desirable because they didn’t require you to climb many stairs. At that time, higher floors were valued less, and cost less rent!

Once elevators were fully developed and excepted, an the era of the skyscraper truly began and so did the idea of the modern city. These elevators were powered by a steam engine in the basement of buildings and it traveled at a mere 40 feet per minute. (Today’s fastest elevators can travel upwards of 40 feet per second.) Though these types of passenger elevators were new for the time, the elevator wasn’t an entirely new idea. Mechanized hoisting devices had existed since the early 1800s, and essentially that system just transitioned from carrying goods to carrying people. This did, of course, require some major updates to the mechanism as these early hoisting setups were open platforms and therefore very dangerous for passengers – but all in all, elevators are essentially just a hoisting system!

This was the beginning of learning how to take basic systems like a hoisting system and make it safe, which in turn, began the social interest in safety within innovations of this nature. Industrialist Elisha Otis, who installed the first passenger elevator in New York, held a public demonstration at the 1854 world’s fair in New York where he hoisted a platform above the crown then cut the cable with an ax, showing that the platform still did not fall. His system had a safety mechanism so if the rope snapped, a ratchet would pop open and catch on racks that ran alongside the shaft, stopping descent almost immediately.

Modern Skyscrapers

Inspired by the B1M video, Top 20 Projects Completing in 2020,  we wrote a blog at the beginning of the year where we dove into some of the most mind-boggling construction marvels that were set to complete this year. Amongst some of those projects, were some of the world’s tallest modern skyscrapers. Here are a few of those feats of construction!

1. Central Park Tower

Central Park Tower, tallest residential building in the world.

New York City, New York 

Once completed, this architectural landmark will be 1,550 feet tall making it the tallest residential building in the world. The building is positioned in one of the world’s most famous skylines, along Manhattan’s Billionaire Row, with a North-facing view of beautiful Central Park. Once completed the building is set to house 179 of the most exclusive homes in the world.

Designed by a top architectural firm, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the tower features elements of glass, satin-finished steel, and light-catching vertical and horizontal details that are designed to accentuate both texture and light. At the base of the tower, will be Nordstrom’s first full-line department store and the building will also feature one of the world’s most exclusive private clubs, Central Park Club.

The 179 ultra-luxury two-to-eight-bedroom residences begin on the 32nd floor of the building and range in size from 1,435 square feet to over 17,500 square feet. The sale of these residences begin this year and start at $6.9 million.


2. Premier Tower

Melbourne, Australia

Frame capture of dancers from Beyonce’s ‘Ghost’ music video – The inspiration for Premier Tower.

Premier Tower is one of Melbourne’s tallest and most prestigious developments, best known for how it was inspired…by Beyonce’s music video ‘Ghost’ (yes, you read that correctly) which features dancers tightly wrapped in fabric. Designed by Elenberg Fraser, this elegantly designed high-rise sits on an island across from the city’s main train terminal. once completed this year, the building will include at least 1 million square feet of space, comprising of 780 apartments, 180 hotel suites, 78 levels, 139 car parks and a variety of communal spaces including lounges, swimming pools, gyms, and dining areas.

Mimicking the curves seen in the dancers above using glass, concrete, and steel, as you’d imagine, is no walk in the park. The building has a very slender structure, with the ratio of height to a structural width of 8.3 from the ground up, with a much more challenging 10.8 above the podium. To maintain the building’s stability while moving in the wind, mega-columns on the façade maximize the width of the stabilizing structure and these are tied to the core by two-or three-story outriggers concealed in party walls, and secondary outriggers at the mid-height plant floor. These mega-columns are sized to be able to carry both gravity and the wind’s load – which were tested extensively in a wind tunnel to ensure they would be successful in doing this.


3. Australia 108

Melbourne, Australia

Rendering of the Australia 108, tallest residential building in the Southern Hemisphere

Australia 108 is a residential skyscraper in the Southbank precinct of Melbourne, Australia. Late last year, in November of 2019, it was topped out and become the tallest building in Australia by roof height and second tallest building by full height – This makes it the highest residence in the southern hemisphere. Construction on the $900 million skyscraper commenced in October 2015 and is just getting those final touches going into 2020.

Once completed the building is set to house 1105 residential units over 100 stories. The building recently broke records for the most expensive apartment ever sold in Australia, when they sold the 750-square meter penthouse for $25 million.

Fun Fact: In the initial plans for the Australia 108 included 108 stories, but had to be reduced to 100 following concerns it would interfere with airplane flight paths – Now that’s a tall building! 

Nobody describes this breathtaking feat of construction quite like it’s architect…

“Australia 108 is a highly sculptural residential tower unlike any other in Australia. Its slender form is highlighted at the Cloud Residences levels by a golden starburst expression and then morphs into a curvaceous profile against the sky. The starburst which contains the resident facilities is inspired by the Commonwealth Star on the Australian flag and is an obvious celebration of the sense of community within the building.” – Fender Katsalidis


4. PWC Tower

Milan, Italy

Rendering of PwC Tower by Struttura Leggera

Milan is known for its fashion, elegance and cutting edge architecture – And the PWC Tower fits perfectly into those expectations, if not blowing them totally out of the water. Standing at 175-metres this skyscraper designed by Studio Libeskind is slated for completion in 2020!

Dubbed, “Il Curvo” (translation: The Curved One…doesn’t sound quite as fancy)  is known for the way its prismatic outline catches the eye as it leans forward into the Tre Torri Square with arching steel and glass. It accompanies two neighboring skyscrapers within Tre Torri Square, the already completed Allianz Tower, and Generali Tower.

While the buildings don’t directly match in the way one might expect, Studio Libeskind principal Yama Karim explains in an interview for AchiExpo e-Magazine, “these towers were always conceived as a group, I see them as chess pieces, in dialogue with one another. Our tower completes the composition”.

No matter how BIG or small the project – Hercules SLR is here to support you every step of the way.

Hercules SLR is your source for cranes, hoists, wire rope, fall arrest equipment and much, much more. We also provide equipment rentals and perform inspections, repairs, and certifications, at your business or in one of our fully-equipped shops. Need assistance staying safety compliant? Our experienced consultants help with risk assessment, PPE specification, hazard analysis, fall protection, and incident investigation. Other services include the design and installation of horizontal lifelines, vertical lifelines and anchor points.

Hercules SLR is your one-stop-shop for securing, rigging and lifting!


NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.

Self-Retracting Lifelines | Inspection Checklist

Self-Retracting Lifelines | Inspection Checklist

Not keeping up with inspections and maintenance can cause equipment failure, unscheduled outages, increase business cost and most importantly, can have a major effect on your workplace safety.

Self-retracting lifelines (SRL) must be inspected before each use, annually inspected by a competent person and recertified every five years.

When it comes to fall protection, you must be sure your equipment is up to the job. The reality is, when working at heights, workers are depending on equipment like SRLs to ensure they can return home to their family. You never know when an accident may take place, and when it does, you want to be connected to an SRL that is up on its inspection and ready to do its job!

Who should inspect SRLs?

Daily inspections should be performed by trained employees before beginning the workday. It can be helpful to do inspections alongside other co-workers, so that way if something of concern is found, you have the opportunity for a second set of eyes to look at it. However, if anything does look concerning, always turn to certification experts. The checklist and tips to follow in this blog will cover how to best perform these daily inspections.

Mandatory annual inspections are only to be performed by a trained and competent or designated person. Hercules SLR has qualified technicians to inspect and repair your securing, lifting and rigging equipment on-site or in one of our full service, rigging shops. Our experienced and LEEA certified team will ensure that your equipment complies with provincial regulations. Once inspections, repairs, and testing is complete, we will supply full certification on your equipment to show that it complies with provincial and national safety regulations.

If you’re having trouble keeping track of your equipment inspections, try our web-based certification tracking system Hercules CertTracker ®, which helps maintain your inspection records, provide notice of inspection due dates and schedule service times to ensure your worksite equipment remains certified. Contact us to learn more!

SRL Inspection Checklist

Before you begin, it’s important to always inspect and operate the SRL in a mounted position – do not pull the cable out of the housing or let it retract while the unit is lying flat. As you go through these steps, the SRL fails anything mentioned, it must be removed from service immediately.

  • Visually Inspect the external housing or cover for any cracks or damage. The housing is not removable and will require special tools open – DO NOT open the unit unless you have been authorized and trained.
  • Ensure you can read the label including the date of manufacture, serial number, manufacture information, and warnings. If you can not read this information, you must remove it from service.
  • FOR WIRE ROPE SRLs – Using a glove to protect your hand, slowly pull the cable from the housing looking for cuts, frayed areas, worn or broken strands, rust, pitting corrosion or deterioration. Also look for any misshapenness in the rope including things like crushed, jammed, or flattened stands, kinks, bulges in the cable, gaps between the strands, or heat damage.
  • FOR WEB SRLs – Slowly pull the webbing from the housing look for holes, tares, abrasions, discoloration, or fraying of the webbing. Make sure you look at both sides and pull on the webbing to visually confirm there are no holes or tears.
  • FOR WEB SRLsBend the webbing to make an inverted “u” shape so you can get a better view of the surface. Look for any shiny spots, loose stitching or broken fibers.
  • FOR WEB SRLsRub the surface of the sling using a bare hand feeling for any hardened spots as this could be a sign of heat damage.
  • Ensure there is a wear pad in place.
  • Check the carabiner ensuring there are no cracks, bends in the metal, discoloration, and make sure the lock is functioning properly. You can test this by opening and closing the carabiner to make sure it locks into place on its own and doesn’t get caught.
  • Perform a retraction and tension test by pulling out 50% of the lifeline, and then allow it to slowly retract retaining a light tension on the cord (do not let it go). Check to make sure the lifeline can retract smoothly. Then repeat this, pulling out the full lifeline. It is important to maintain a light tension on the lifeline at all times during this test as a bird’s nest could be formed within the housing if it retracts too fast.
  • Test the brakes by grasping the lifeline and apply a sharp and steady pull downwards until the breaks engage, and then keep tension on the lifeline until the breaks are fully engaged. There should be no slipping felt during this process. Again, allow it to retract keeping light tension. The brakes should release and allow the lifeline to retract smoothly back into the housing. Repeat this several times at different length points.

Download a printable version of this inspection checklist by clicking below:

Web – SLR Inspection Checklist Downloadable PDF 
Wire – SLR Inspection Checklist Downloadable PDF

Without inspections and maintenance, equipment failures can have a major effect on business costs, cause unscheduled outages and most importantly, could cause major and possibly deadly safety hazards. Hercules SLR offers LEEA-certified inspections, repairs, predictive & preventive maintenance (so you can pass those inspections!) and parts & accessories like wire rope slings, hoists & whatever else you need to lift.

We inspect, repair, and certify:

  • Wire Rope
  • Fall Protection
  • Lifting Gear
  • Rigging Hardware
  • Hoist & Cranes
  • Winches & Hydraulics

NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.

5 Top Tips | Caring for Wire Rope

5 Top Tips | Caring for Wire Rope

Rigging equipment has a tough job lifting and moving heavy loads for hours and hours a day. In order for that equipment to be able to be its job, we have to take proper care of it. We expect longevity and endurance from equipment like wire rope, but that can easily turn if not properly treated. Equipment that is properly treated, handled, installed, inspected and stored will reward us with a prolonged life of service, better job performance and peace of mind in knowing it won’t fail.

Riggers don’t have the luxury of simple equipment slip-ups. If your rigging equipment fails you, it can cause damage to product, property and worst-case scenario, an extreme safety hazard resulting in injury or loss of life. Since wire rope is a material of choice in heavier lifts, extreme safety hazards can be a real possibility if you’re using rope that’s in an unsafe condition.

But that can be avoided! Here are 5 top tips to help you keep you wire rope in tip-top condition…

1. Seizing Your Wire Rope

Seizing and cutting operations are not difficult to perform, but are crucial in the performance of wire rope. Proper seizing must be applied to both rope ends to protect the wire ropes from loosening – Carelessly or inadequately seized ends may cause distortion or flattening of the rope. If you use wire rope that is not properly seized it will cause uneven distribution of the load over the strands causing the life of the wire rope to be drastically shortened.

Normally, one of two methods are used to do this. Typically method one is suitable for wire ropes with a diameter over one inch, and method two is those with a diameter one inch and under.

Method One:

  1. One end of the seizing wire is placed between the valleys of two strands.
  2. Turn another end around the rope and the fixed end of seizing wire closely and tightly at right angles.
  3. Stop turning after the proper length of seizing has been applied.
  4. Twist two ends of seizing wire together and make sure they are seizing the rope tightly.

Method Two:

  1. Wrap with small wires as shown in the picture.
  2. Twist the two ends of seizing wire together.
  3. Alternatively tight twist with end cutters.

2. Care When Unloading & Handling

If you’re dealing with loading or unloading wire rope in a reel or coil, it’s important to know that that is not a protected storage method and if you drop the reel during this process, it can lead to serious damage to your wire rope. Because of this, it is important to handle reels of wire rope with care and focus not to drop or damage the reel. Damage to the reel can also make it incredibly difficult to remove the wire rope from the reel, so it’s not only an important safety precaution but will also save you time and frustration in the future.

It’s also important to take care when removing wire rope from the reels or coils. When doing this, ensure the reel or coil is rotating as the wire rope unwinds. Below you will see some of the rights vs. wrongs for unwinding rope.

3. Installation By Trained Professionals

In the rigging field, it’s very important that workers be properly trained in any and all tasks they are performing because many lifts can become extremely dangerous if even one aspect is done incorrectly. So the most important thing to take away from this tip is to seek out proper training from certified professionals before taking on tasks like installing wire rope!

Once you have that training you will know how important it is to take into account the design factor of any equipment being used with wire rope, being sure to take note of the nominal diameter of wire rope to use with the equipment, as specified by the manufacturer. Installing an incorrect size will result in a failed rope or shorter service life as the rope can get pinched into a smaller space compromising its integrity.

Wire rope diameter is determined by measuring the outer circle of the strands, which is the greatest dimension that can be measured with a pair of parallel-jawed calipers or machinist’s caliper square. You can easily make a mistake if not taking care in measuring the largest dimension, as shown below:

 

4. Keeping up with Inspections and Assessments

Keeping up with the required inspections is something that must be prioritized for all rigging equipment. Wire rope is often used for heavy lifting, which means they are being used in situations where they are trusted to keep not just your load safe, but the people and the environment around it. That means that you have to be confident that your wire rope is up to the task – And how do you do that? Inspections!

Based on manufacturer/organization recommendations, ensure your wire rope is being inspected by a certified professional where the rope can be dismantled and tested through visual assessment and non-destructive testing. Hercules SLR can make this a worry-free part of your business – Our experience and LEEA certified team can take this completely off your hands, on-site or in our fell service rigging shops! 

On top of these professional inspections, wire rope should also be visually assessed by trained and experienced workers at the start of every shift or when resuming stalled work. Thorough visual assessments should also be carried out after reattaching or refitting the wire rope on the same or different equipment. Machine operators should be trained to visually assess the entire wire rope, with emphasis on points of attachment.

Things to look for when visually assessing a wire rope:

  • Broken Strands –  One of the easiest ways to do this is to run a cotton cloth over the length of the wire (if possible), checking for any places where the material get’s snagged. Any cable that has a single broken wire strand located around critical fatigue areas (where the cable runs around a pulley, sleeve or through a fair-lead; or any section where the cable is flexed, rubbed, or worked) must be replaced. Generally, SOME broken wires in non-critical areas are okay, but always consult your service/maintenance manual.
  • Surface Wear and Tare – Look out for any flat spots, any areas where the cable twist is unraveling, or any other condition resulting in the cable being distorted—If any of these things are present, you must replace the cable.
  • Internal Ware and Tare –  It is recommended to remove the cable whenever possible and flex them to ensure that all cables on the inside of the wire rope haven’t worn down due to environmental deterioration, distortion or fatigue. If you haven’t been keeping up with regular inspections, this is particularly necessary as it is possible for wire rope to look completely sound from the outside, but as soon as you move it around, it completely fails.

5. Proper Storage Methods

Wire rope needs to be stored in a well-ventilated, dry, and covered area and should not come in contact with the floor. If it is necessary to store it outside, they must be covered so that moisture cannot get inside and cause corrosion. You should also make sure that they are protected from dust, water, steam, salt, chemical fumes or adverse climatic conditions.

Turning the reel occasionally is a good practice to get in the habit of. This will prevent the wire rope’s lubricant from wearing off. If ropes are stored for a long time, it is advised for you to get them examined periodically and apply a coat of lubricant to them.

Bonus tip: If you live in an area that is prone to termites, protect the wooden reel by storing it on cement flooring. 


In the market for wire rope? Need an inspection? We’ve got you covered!

With our full service, one-stop-shop with all the service, inspections and repairs that any company would need, we can top the rest! Our goal is to make it look like you don’t need us! From advice, help with design, problem solutions, through to seamless procurement and excellent customer service, we are here to support your business and move it forward—Whatever it is, we can help.

NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.

National Space Day | Rigging in Space

National Space Day | Rigging in Space

Did you know that today, May 1st, is national space day? We here at Hercules Group of Companies wanted to participate in the fun spirit of today by having a look at some of the ways rigging and fall protection equipment is used in outer space!

Yes, you heard us right – Rigging is essential in many different sectors, and space exploration is included on that list, how cool?! Check out these 5 ways rigging and fall protection equipment like wire rope, harnesses and shackles make space exploration possible:

1. Specially Designed Steel Rope Riser Cables – Orion Spacecraft

NASA’s Orion spacecraft is built to take humans farther than they’ve ever gone before. Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.

In order for the Orion spacecraft to safety return to Earth, it relies on it’s parachute – a parachute that’s equipped with specially designed steel rope riser cables! in 2014, NASA conducted a test flight for the Orion Space Capsule where after making two orbits of the Earth, it reentered the atmosphere and was brought to a successful splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

 

2. Cicoil engineered Biomedical Harness – Apollo 11

When Neil Armstrong took his historic first step on the surface of the Moon, he was wearing a bio-belt that was fitted with a Cicoil engineered Biomedical Harness. This harness took the typical safety measures of a lead and harness and kicked it up a notch, with special biotelemetry technology that allowed for tracking vital signs of the astronauts, such as heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, body temperature, and pulse rate to be recorded and evaluated.

Since at the time they were uncertain of the effects on the human body associated with Space flight, this elevated harness allowed for surgeons at the Ground Command Center in Houston to identify problems in real-time and provide quick solutions. Without this important piece of what we like to think of as EXTREMELY elevated fall protection, who can say that the Moon landing expedition would have been possible.

 

3. Exercise Countermeasures – ISS

The human body goes through a lot when going into space, and negative effects on the body can be associated with long periods spent in space. NASA uses exercise countermeasures on the International Space Station (ISS) in order to maintain their crew’s health and combat these negative effects. Most of these countermeasure exercise systems rely heavily on textile and wire rope as well as fall protection style systems and harnesses.

There are many different specially designed exercise machines used in space. If you’re interested in learning a bit more about these, click here for some examples! In the photo here you see an astronaut using a specially designed version of a treadmill, strapped in using a lead and harness to allow him to complete his workout without floating away!

 

4. PBI Fiber Rope Sleep Restraint – Apollo 11

Looking at another example from the famous Apollo 11, sleep restraints were made out 10-foot PBI (polybenzimidazole) fiber rope with plastic ferrules on the ends to prevent fraying. Sleeping bags were latched to the center aisle of sleeping quarters using this special rope. This is a system that at its core is still in place in modern space exploration, but has of course been updated.

The photo featured here is one of the five ropes flown on the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. These were transferred to the Smithsonian in 1970 as important aspects of history being made in space exploration!


No matter how out of this world the project – Hercules SLR is here to support you every step of the way.

Hercules SLR is your source for craneshoistswire ropefall arrest equipment and much, much more. We also provide equipment rentals and perform inspections, repairs, and certifications, at your business or in one of our fully-equipped shops. Need assistance staying safety compliant? Our experienced consultants help with risk assessment, PPE specification, hazard analysis, fall protection, and incident investigation. Other services include the design and installation of horizontal lifelines, vertical lifelines and anchor points.

Hercules SLR is your one-stop-shop for securing, rigging and lifting!

NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.

Herc How-To | Chain Sling Inspection Checklist

Chain Sling Inspection Checklist

Not keeping up with inspections and maintenance can cause equipment failure, unscheduled outages, increase business cost and most importantly, can have a major effect on your workplace safety.

In Canada, the rigging industry recognizes the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) standards for securing, rigging and lifting industries. Standard ASME B30.9 applies to wire rope slings, chain slings, web slings or synthetic slings and round slings.

In-between those required inspections, it’s always a good idea to be proactive about your workplace safety and perform pre-operation inspections. Below are some tips to keep in mind to ensure your required annual (or otherwise) inspections are being kept up with, and you’re equipped with the knowledge necessary to ensure they are safe in-between.

Who should inspect chain slings?

A chain sling should only be inspected by a trained and competent or designated person. Hercules SLR has qualified technicians to inspect and repair your securing, lifting and rigging equipment on-site or in one of our full service, rigging shops. Our experienced and LEEA certified team will ensure that your equipment complies with ASME and provincial regulations. Once inspections, repairs and testing is complete, we will supply full certification on your equipment to show that it complies with provincial and national safety regulations.

When should you inspect chain slings?

A thorough examination, including chain usage, should be carried out by a competent person at least every year or more frequently according to statutory regulations, type of use and past records. If slings are being used in extreme conditions, The Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) recommends they be inspected every 3 months instead of the standard once per year. Inspections must be recorded.

Click to download the PDF

If you’re having trouble keeping track of your equipment inspections, try our web-based certification tracking system Hercules CertTracker ®, which helps maintain your inspection records, provide notice of inspection due dates and schedule service times to ensure your worksite equipment remains certified. Contact us to learn more!

Chain Sling Inspection Checklist

The CCOHS recommends the following steps to properly inspect a chain sling. These are steps that can be referenced when performing daily checks before putting your chain sling to use – But leave the scheduled annual (or monthly) inspections to the trained professionals!

Follow along with our checklist here, or download our printable version to have on hand at your workplace. You’ll find other engaging, practical resources on topics ranging from rigging, warehouse safety, fall protection, personal protective equipment, transportation and more by checking out our full list of toolbox topics.

  • Clean the chain sling before beginning the inspection
  • Check the identification tag to ensure it is legible.
  • Hang the chain sling up or stretch the chain out on a level floor in a well-lighted area. Remove all the twists then measure the sling length to ensure it hasn’t been stretched.
  • Perform a link-by-link inspection of the chain, master link, loads pins, and hooks observing for the following:
  • Observe overall wear, discard if this exceeds 15% of a link diameter.
  • Note any surface damage, discard of you find any cuts, nicks, cracks, gouges, burns (or evidence of heat damage), weld splatters or corrosion pits.
  • Ensure no individual links are closed up or stretched longer and that all links are able to hinge (articulate) freely.
  • Ensure hooks have not been opened more than 15% of the normal throat opening, measured at the narrowest point, or twisted more than 10° from the plane of the unbent hook.
  • Manufacturers’ reference charts show sling and hitch capacities. Record manufacturer, type, load limit, and inspection dates.

 

If you find any of the above-mentioned defaults, remove the chain sling from service immediately. If you see something presenting that’s causing doubt as to the safety of your chain sling, even if it’s not featured on this list, ask the experts! It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Also note: Slings must be repaired by the sling manufacturer, or a qualified person, per ASME B30.9.

BONUS TIPS: The Dos and Don’ts of Using Chain Slings Safely

Staying on top of mandatory inspections for your chain sling is the best way to ensure it’s up to the task. However, a piece of equipment is only as good as the person using it! Using rigging equipment properly is very important, so proper training is key.

Below are some quick dos and don’ts to keep in mind when using a chain sling. But remember, this does not replace a training course!

Do

  • Always know how to properly use the equipment, slinging procedures before attempting the lift operation. Don’t have that knowledge? Train with the best at the Hercules Training Academy.
  • Inspect the slings and accessories before use for any defects.
  • Replace broken safety latches.
  • Find out the working load limit (WLL) before lifting. Do not exceed the rated load of the sling.
  • Ensure chain slings fit freely – Never force, hammer, or wedge chain slings or fitting into position.
  • Always keep your hands and fingers from between the load and chain when tensioning slings or when landings loads.
  • Ensure the load is free to be lifted.
  • Perform a trial lift and trial lower to ensure the load is balanced, stable and secure.
  • Balance the load to avoid overstress on one sling arm or the load slipping free.
  • Lower the working load limit if severe impact may occur.
  • Pad sharp corners to prevent bending links and to protect the load.
  • Position hooks of multi-leg slings facing outward from the load.
  • Reduce the load limit when using chain slings in temperatures above 425°C (800°F).
  • Store chain sling arms on racks in assigned areas and not lying on the ground. The storage area should be dry, clean and free of any contaminants which may harm the sling.

Don’t

  • Avoid impact loading: do not jerk the load when lifting or lowering the sling. This motion increases the actual stress on the sling.
  • Do not allow access to the lifting area to unnecessary personal.
  • Do not leave suspended loads unattended.
  • Do not drag chains over floors or attempt to drag a trapped sling from under a load. Do not use a sling to drag a load.
  • Do not use worn-out or damaged slings.
  • Do not lift on the point of the hook.
  • Do not overload or shock load a sling.
  • Do not trap slings when landing the load.
  • Do not splice a chain by inserting a bolt between two links.
  • Do not shorten a chain with knots or by twisting other than by means of an integral chain clutch.
  • Do not force or hammer hooks into place.
  • Do not use homemade connections. Use only attachments designed for the chain.
  • Do not heat treat or weld chain links: the lifting capacity will be reduced drastically.
  • Do not expose chain links to chemicals without the manufacturer’s approval.
  • Do not stand in line with or next to the leg(s) of the sling that is under tension.
  • Do not stand or pass under a suspended load.
  • Do not ride on sling.

Without inspections and maintenance, equipment failures can have a major effect on business costs, cause unscheduled outages and most importantly, could cause major and possibly deadly safety hazards. Hercules SLR offers LEEA-certified inspections, repairs, predictive & preventive maintenance (so you can pass those inspections!) and parts & accessories like wire rope slings, hoists & whatever else you need to lift.

We inspect, repair, and certify:

  • Wire Rope
  • Fall Protection
  • Lifting Gear
  • Rigging Hardware
  • Hoist & Cranes
  • Winches & Hydraulics

NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.

Product Spotlight | Crosby Shackles

Product Spotlight | Crosby Shackles

Crosby is one of the most recognizable names in the rigging industry, and has been for over 100 years. Crosby makes over 2,000 rigging and lifting products to meet all your hoisting needs, and Hercules SLR is proud to be an Authorized Crosby Distributor and a Certified Crosby Repair Center.

Focusing today on Crosby shackles, as Crosby says, “there is no equal”. When you buy Crosby, you’re getting some attributes that are guaranteed when you buy their rigging and lifting equipment. The attributes that make Crosby shackles stand out from the rest include:

  • Design – Crosby carbon shackles have the highest design factor (6 to 1) in the industry. Crosby purchases only special bar forging quality steel with cleanliness and guaranteed hardenability. All material chemistry is independently verified prior to manufacturing to assure that strength, ductility and fatigue properties are met.
  • Closed Forged – Each shackle is closed die forged which allows for an increased cross-section that, when coupled with quenched and tempering, enhances strength and ductility. Close tolerance holes and concentric pins with good surface finishes are provided by Crosby and are proven to provide improved fatigue life in actual use. Crosby shackles are fatigue rated as well as load rated.
  • Quenched and Tempered – All Crosby shackle bows and pins are quenched and tempered, which enhances their performance under cold temperatures and adverse field conditions. Crosby’s Quenched and Tempered shackles provide the tensile strength, ductility, impact and fatigue properties that are essential if they are to perform time after time in adverse conditions. These properties assure that the inspection criteria set forth by ANSI will effectively monitor the ability of the shackles to continue in service.
  • Identification and Application Information – Crosby forges “Crosby” or “CG”, the Working Load Limit, and the Product Identification Code (PIC) into each bow and “Crosby” or “CG”, and the Product Identification Code (PIC) into each pin of its full line of screw pin, round pin, and bolt type
    anchor and chain shackles.

Crosby creates a variety of different shackles ranging in size, type, class, capacity and more to exceed the toughest demands of any industry, including land-based and offshore energy, construction and infrastructure, cargo handling and towing, marine, mining, and transportation. Below we take a bit of a closer look into a few of the key shackles in Crosby’s extensive library – But if you aren’t seeing something you’d like to know a bit more about, reach out! Our experts are always happy to help.

Anchor Shackles

An anchor shackle can be identified by it’s larger round “O” shaped bow. They are sometimes referred to as bow shackles, however, a bow shackle typically has a larger, more defined “bow” area than an anchor shackle. This “bow” we’re referring to allows for single or multiple leg slings to be collected in the bow, and for it to be sideloaded. This is an essential process used in a variety of material handling applications, making anchor shackles one of the most widely used of the shackle family.

Wide Body Shackles

You can pick out a wide-body shackle from it’s much larger bow cross-section. This wider shape provides an array of advantages, especially in heavy lifting applications. The significant gain in the sling bearing surface eliminates the need for a thimble and makes for an easier time dealing with synthetic Nylon and Polyester slings. It also increases the useable sling strength, which can greatly improve the overall life of wire rope slings.

Chain Shackles

Chain shackles are often known as D-shackles (or dee shackles) which refers to the “D” shape. This design is narrower than a bow or anchor shackle and generally has a threaded pin or pin close. Their design enables efficient movement of materials, particularly in compact lifting environments. Don’t be fooled by the name “chain shackle”—this type of shackle is used primarily with single-legged wire rope slings and various attachment points. The smaller loop is designed to take high loads primarily in line. Side and racking loads may twist or bend a D or chain shackle.

Theatrical Shackles

Theatrical shackles are specially designed for the entertainment industry. They are designed with all the strength and dependability of a standard shackle but have a black finish that allows it to blend in with the stage surroundings. This allows theatrical riggers (also known as grips) to rig in a safe and dependable way, using industry-standard equipment without distracting from the on-stage action.

Crosby supplies one of the most-used theatrical shackles in the entertainment industry which features a flat black baked-on powder coat finish which gives it the matte black, easy to blend in look you see in the photo.

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Shackles

ROV shackles are a piece of equipment that is heavily relied on in the subsea industry. In the early days of subsea rigging, standard shackles were being used, but since work with these shackles are done completely by divers or remotely operated vehicles, standard shackle pins and nuts were far too difficult to work with. ROV shackles are specially designed with handles to allow for different robotic grips which make this far easier. They are also made with industry-standard colors to be highly visible which makes them much easier to locate under their conditions.

Shackle Variations

As you saw above, with the anchor shackles and chain shackles, we featured two different variations of that shackle – A screw pin shackle and a round pin shackle or bolt type shackle.

Screw pin shackles

Screw pin shackles feature a threaded pin that is inserted through the ears and tightened. These shackles are often the choice for applications where slings and other hardware are being changed out often, and they are not recommended for permanent or long-term use. Screw pin shackles can be used in multi-leg sling assemblies and where side-loading may occur, but the WLL must be accounted for.

Tip: Be cautious of a live line where the screw pin is being rotated, torqued, or twisted because it can cause the pin to unthread itself. This is also why it’s important to tighten the pin prior to each lift.

Round Pin shackles

Round pin shackles have a round unthreaded pin that is secured in its place by a cotter pin. This variation is the most popular in tie-down, towing, suspension or applications where the load is in a strict line. They are known for performing well under conditions in which they are subject to torque or twisting and are not recommending for overhead lifting. They are also not recommended for use in attaching multiple-leg slings or in any application where load sliding is a possibility.

Bolt Type Shackles

Bolt type shackles can look similar to a round pin shackles at first glance but are a more secure option. It features a combination of a bolt and nut along with the cotter pin. These shackles can be used in any applications appropriate for the round pin shackle or screw pin shackle – With the ability to handle rotation or torque. These are often the most popular choice for permanent or long-term installations because the nut and cotter pin combination eliminate the need to tighten the pin prior to each lift!

How to Choose a Shackle?

  • Refer to the manufacturer’s table for the safe working load limit (WLL) of the shackle. The rated capacity should always be printed on the shackle and be visible.
  • Shackles are sized according to the diameter of the bow section rather than the pin size – So never use a shackle if the distance between the eyes is greater than listed in the manufacturer’s table.
  • Always consult the manufacturer if you are using shackles in extreme conditions such as temperature higher then 204°C or lower than -40°C or exposure to corrosive fumes.

7 Quick Tips For Using Shackles

  1. Inspect shackles regularly and replace any that show any of the following:
    • Stretching and wear
    • Bending
    • Distortion, surface blemishes, wear, and fractures
  2. Never replace the shackle pin with a bolt or unidentified pin – You risk the bolt being bent by the load or possibly completely failing.
  3. Do not allow a shackle to be pulled at an angle, this will cause the legs to open. Avoid this by packing the pin with washers to center the shackle.
  4. Avoid using a screw pin shackle or fit pins in contact with moving parts if the pin can roll and unscrew. If the load shifts, the sling can unscrew the shackle pin.
  5. Do not use round pin shackles restrained by only a cotter pin for overhead lifting.
  6. Never force, hammer or wedge shackles into position.
  7. Never exceed a 120-degree lifting angle when using multiple-leg slings.

Why shop around? When you buy Crosby rigging equipment from Hercules SLR, you don’t just get a shackle or an eye bolt—You get unparalleled asset management service (did we mention it’s free?), qualified inspection technicians for service & preventive maintenance and peace-of-mind knowing your equipment is safe to lift, hoist or move.

See your Crosby gear from purchase, all the way to service with Hercules SLR’s extensive product selection, inspection & service team, asset management, testing and more.

NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.

Product Spotlight | Lifting Magnets

Product Spotlight: Lifting Magnets

Lifting magnets, also known as magnetic lifters, or magnetic lifting systems, are a versatile piece of rigging equipment that can be used in a variety of applications ranging from lifting small metal pipes or scraps to large heavy metal blocks.

If your business deals with a lot of heavy ferrous metals (generall meaning, containing iron) it may be a good idea to invest in a lifting magnet! Most general permanent lifting magnets have a working load limit (WLL) ranging from 500 to 3,000 pounds, with some electromagnets reaching a WLL of 11,000 pounds – This offers an easy, efficient and cost-effective way to lift an array of metal loads.

Lifting magnets are commonly used in steel mills, scrap yards, loading docks, warehouses, foundries, shipyards, coil and pipe distributors, and other users of applicable steel products.

Types of Lifting Magnets

There are two basic types of lifting magnets – permanent magnets and electromagnets.

Permanent Magnets

Permanent magnets are exactly what you’d think- They’re permanent! What that means is that these magnets use materials that are permanently (or naturally) magnetized to establish the magnetic field. These are called ferromagnetic materials and are usually iron, nickel, or alloys that are made or rare-earth metals.

Fun fact: The main way that permanent magnets are created is by heating a ferromagnetic material to a key high temperature – Specific to each kind of metal. This is similar to the natural process that takes place inside the Earth which is what creates materials that are naturally magnetized.

The majority of permanent lifting magnets can be “turned on” and “turned off” by way of a lever. These magnets generally have two parallel poles which give the magnet a deep penetrating magnetic field for rougher flat surfaces and round pipe or shaft material. When both pole’s fields are lined up, with North to North and South to South, the magnetic field is activated, but when you pull the lever those fields are reversed which will cause the lifting magnet to let go of the load.

Electromagnets

Electromagnets, unlike permanent magnets, rely on electricity to charge the magnet and hold the load to the face of the magnet. This takes place by the use of an energized electrical coil wrapped around a steel core creating a magnetic field. This, of course, means the lifting magnetic depends on a constant power source, which also means a lack of access to power or a power failure can mean the equipment can’t be used.

A safety hazard to keep in mind when using electromagnets in the fact that If the electric current is interrupted, any load being hoisted would be released and dropped. Some electromagnets feature a battery that will protect against accidental loss of power or power outages.

Fully battery-powered magnets are also available which use a self-contained gel cell-type batteries. Battery-powered magnets can be moved from hoist to hoist, offering generous lifting capacity without an external power connection with only a need for periodic recharging.

The Advantages of Lifting Magnets

The three main advantages of lifting magnets are their ability to lift materials without needing to cause surface damage, their cost-saving benefits, and their level of efficiency.

And this is how…

Damage-Free Lifting: Like lifting clamps, lifting magnets provide a way to transport materials without needing to cause surface damage to the load, such as needing to drill a hole to place an eyebolt. They can also minimize the potential of causing scratches, holes, or dents in the material if the magnets are used properly!

Cost-Effective: Since you are able to perform lifts without causing any damage to the load, it results in a more cost-effective lift since there’s no need to then fill and re-finish said damage. It also can be a more costly lift, simply because of the time saved in its efficiency…

Efficiency: Beyond lifting loads with no damage, lifting clamps are also often used to pick materials that may not be accessible enough to properly attach other rigging equipment. For example, if you have a crate of tightly packed materials come in, you may be able to use a lifting magnet to access one part from the top and lift it out quickly and easily! If this crate was say, filled with pipes stacked horizontally, using a strap or chain to lift a single pipe would require one end of the part to be manually lifted in order to pass the strap or chain underneath – Which would at the very least take much more time – If not being totally impossible, impractical or unsafe.

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Using Lifting Magnets

Every type of lifting equipment has downfalls you need to keep in mind to ensure you’re rigging safe – And lifting magnets are no exception to that rule!

Above all, it’s imperative to have proper training on the correct use of ANY rigging equipment you come in contact with on the job. Once you have that base of knowledge, these are a few things you’ll want to be reminding yourself when using a lifting magnet.

1. Air Gaps

An air gap between the magnet and the load’s surface can reduce it’s holding performance. Magnetic lines of force pass easily through ferrous metals, but not air – Therefore anything that creates space or an air gap between the magnet and the lifted object will have a negative impact on the lifting capacity of the magnet. To get the best holding performance, air gaps must be kept to a minimum. You can determine the possibility of air gaps by looking at the profile of the load and its surface. Keep an eye out for things like thick paint, dust, chips, paper or packaging, rust, moisture or textured surface finishing which can all cause air gaps.

2. Magnet Contact to Surface 

Always ensure the entire magnet surface is making contact with the load during the lift. The lifting capacity of the magnet will be reduced in direct proportion to any amount of lack of contact with the material surface.

3. Material Being Lifted

Not all ferrous metals are made alike – Some contain non-magnetic materials that have a negative impact on the magnetic conductance. Heat treatments that affect the structure of the metal can also reduce the lifting capacity.

The lifting force percentage of various materials:

  • St37 (0,1-0,3% C) = 100% lifting force
  • Non-alloy steel (0,4-0,5% C) = 90% lifting force
  • Cast steel = 90% lifting force
  • Alloy steel F-522 = 80% – 90% lifting force
  • AISI430 (magnetic stainless steel) = 50% lifting force
  • Cast iron = 45% – 60% lifting force
  • F-522 tempered (60 HRC) = 40% – 50% lifting force
  • AISI304 (stainless steel/nickel) = 0% – 10% lifting force
  • Brass, aluminium, copper, etc. = 0% lifting force

4. Bending of the Load

If you’re lifting material with a single magnet such as a thin sheet, or something much wider then it is long, be conscious of the load bending and possibly, ‘peeling off’ the magnet. To combat this, thin sheets should be lifted with multiple magnets evenly distributed over the entire surface, and the magnet contact surface should always be in line with the lifted load, not perpendicular to its length.

5. Thickness of the Load

Think of magnetism as lines flowing from one material to the next, sticking them together – like a bunch of invisible nails. Have you ever tried to hang a photo on the wall with a nail and it fell right back out because the drywall wasn’t thick enough for the nail to properly be secured? Magnetism works very similar to that. Only if the load is sufficiently thick is it possible to utilize the magnet’s full capacity. Once this point is reached, a greater material thickness will not result in any additional lifting capacity. If the material you’re trying to lift is too thin, you won’t be able to use your lifting magnets full capacity.


Hercules SLR makes lifting magnets for a wide range of applications using permanent, electro-permanent, battery-powered, and electromagnetic technologies. Lifting Magnets are versatile, compact, easy to operate and can be used on flat and round material ranging from 0 to 11,000lbs. Our larger lifting magnets are designed for applications such as handling billets, bundles, bar stock, slabs, plates, structurals, long bar stock, rail, hot material, coils, pipe rebar, radioactive material, slag, and more.

NEED A QUOTE? HAVE A QUESTION? CALL US—WE KNOW THE (WIRE) ROPES & EVERYTHING RIGGING-RELATED.

Ask The Experts | Sling Identification Tags

One of the first things Inspection Technicians look for when inspecting a rigging and lifting sling is if it has a missing or illegible identification tag. But what do all those markings mean, and why are they important? Hercules SLR rigging experts from Brampton, Ontario are on-hand to explain it all.

Your sling’s identification tag provides you with a wealth of essential information to ensure you are lifting safe including: The manufacture of the sling or where it was most recently repaired, the material of the sling, the working load limit (WLL) of the sling, the serial number, the manufacture’s code or stock number and the type of sling.

This is all information that should be taken into account when creating a lifting plan in order to choose the best type of sling for the job based on the WLL, hitch configuration, and capabilities and different sling angles.

All types of sling will come with an identification tag provided by the manufacturer. Over the lifetime of the sling, it’s important to maintain the tag as best as possible in order to keep it legible. If your tag does become damaged, missing, or illegible the sling should immediately be removed from service.

Keeping up with regular inspections will ensure you are never using a chain sling without a tag in proper condition. If you notice a damaged, missing, or illegible tag before your required inspections – Simply have the tag replaced. While it is considered a repair, additional proof testing would not be needed at that time (unless otherwise required).

What are the Identification Tag Requirements?

The experts at Hercules SLR in Brampton Ontario are answering some key rigging questions over on the Hercules Group of Company’s social media platforms—And this is one of those questions! In the video below, they (quickly) go over the indication tag requirements for chain slings and show you the difference between a tag in good condition, and one that wouldn’t pass inspection.

Alloy Chain Sling Requirements

Each alloy chain sling must be marked with:
  • The name and trademark of the manufacturer (or name of repair location, if replaced)
  • Number of legs
  • Chain size
  • Grade
  • Length (reach)
  • Rated load for (at least) one hitch type and the angle that it was based upon
  • Individual sling identification (i.e. serial number)
  • Date of Manufacture

To keep up with tips like these, follow The Hercules Group of Companies on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn!

But what about all of the other types of sling? Keeping in mind what a legible tag vs. an illegible tag looks like, continue on to see what the requirements are for a variety of different types of sling. However – ALWAYS check in with the regulations in your jurisdiction, as there may be specialized requirements in your location.   

Wire Rope Sling Requirments

Each wire rope sling must be marked with:
  • The name and trademark of the manufacturer (or name of repair location, if replaced)
  • Rated load for (at least) one hitch type and the angle that it was based upon
  • Diameter or size
  • Number if legs (if more then one)

Metal Mesh Sling Requirements

Each metal mesh sling must be marked with:
  • The name and trademark of the manufacturer (or name of repair location, if replaced)
  • Rated load for (at least) one hitch type and the angle that it was based upon
  • Individual sling identification (ex: serial number)

Synthetic Rope Sling Requirements

Each synthetic rope sling must be marked with:
  • The name and trademark of the manufacturer (or name of repair location, if replaced)
  • Manufacturer’s code or stock number
  • Rated load for (at least) one hitch type and the angle that it was based upon
  • Type of fiber material
  • Number of legs (if more than one)

Synthetic Web Sling Requirements

Each synthetic web sling must be marked with:
  • The name and trademark of the manufacturer (or name of repair location, if replaced)
  • Manufacturer’s code or stock number
  • Rated load for (at least) one hitch type and the angle that it was based upon
  • Type of fiber material
  • Number of legs (if more than one)

Polyester Roundsling Requirements

Each Polyester roundsling must be marked with:
  • The name and trademark of the manufacturer (or name of repair location, if replaced)
  • Manufacturer’s code or stock number
  • Rated load for (at least) one hitch type and the angle that it was based upon
  • Core material
  • Cover material (if different from core material)
  • Number of legs (if more than one)

High-Performance Roundsling Requirements

Each high-performance roundsling must be marked with:
  • The name and trademark of the manufacturer (or name of repair location, if replaced)
  • Manufacturer’s code or stock number
  • Rated load for (at least) one hitch type and the angle that it was based upon
  • Core yarn including fiber type(s) or blend
  • Cover material (if different from core material)
  • Number of legs (if more than one)

Performing a lifting job safely doesn’t happen due to luck—It happens with the proper knowledge and preparedness! Keeping an eye on your sling’s indication tag to ensure it’s not damaged, missing or illegible is an important part of that preparedness.

But when it comes to ensuring your equipment is operating correctly and safely, leave it to the experts! Keeping up with regular inspections will keep you worry-free when it comes to the safety of your equipment and will have a major effect on unscheduled outages and business costs!

Find all your Securing, Lifting and Rigging solutions under one roof at Hercules SLR. Whether you’re in the market to purchase a sling, needing it inspected or seeking out maintenance Hercules SLR has you covered!

We’ve got you covered for more than just slings! Hercules SLR inspects, repairs and certifies:

  • Wire Rope
  • Fall Protection
  • Lifting Gear
  • Rigging Hardware
  • Hoist & Cranes
  • Winches & Hydraulics

Our experienced and LEEA certified team will ensure that your equipment complies with ASME and provincial regulations. Once inspections, repairs, and testing is completed, we will supply full certification on your equipment to show that it complies with provincial and national safety regulations.


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