For vertical lifting of freely suspended, heavy, bulky loads, hoisting equipment (or hoists) works in conjunction with overhead cranes and workstation cranes. Their lifting capacities depend on their construction. Their travel is directed by an operator, either manually or with a wired pendant station or wireless controls. Typical applications include helping operators in manufacturing, warehousing and construction to lift loads in support of production or storage activities, loading and unloading, or one process to the next.
Hoisting Equipment lifts loads with either link or roller chain or wire rope. It is powered one of three ways and is used with a number of attachments to facilitate load lift, including:
- Manual hoists lift a load under the direction of an operator who typically raises and lowers a lever to activate a ratchet and pawl configuration that incrementally lifts or lowers the load, or to apply or release tension; also called a lever hoist,come along, ratchet lever hoist, ratchet hoist or wire rope puller. Hand chain hoists are a type of manual hoist powered by a hand chain to lift or lower the load.
- Air hoists or pneumatic hoists are powered by pneumatically driven motors. When equipped with a chain as the lifting mechanism, they are called air chain hoists. Likewise, when equipped with a wire rope as the lifting medium, they are called air wire rope hoists. These hoists are often used in environments that require electric spark avoidance due to a potentially explosive atmosphere.
- Electric hoists are powered by electrically driven motors.
- End effectors or below the hook equipment: A variety of different, application-specific, attachments can be added to the hoist to handle the lifting or positioning of different loads. These include:
- C hook is a device that enables the lifting of a coil by through the insertion of a hook into the coil’s inner diameter. A motorized hook rotator powers the rotation of the hook attached to the bottom block of a hoist for additional load control.
- Gripping lifters use either friction or indentation-causing pressure to hold a load. Tong grabs or clamps utilize a scissor-type action to grip a load. Coil grabs grasp the outer diameter of a coil via tongs or gripping mechanisms to lift or turn it.
- Mechanical lifters are composed of two or more rigid parts that move in tandem when manually actuated to secure the load.
- Vacuum lifters utilize an electric-powered extraction pump and sealed pads to create a vacuum to attach the lifter to an object.
- Sheet lifters use two claws to grab a load of sheet metal or wood by wrapping around the edges. A lip on the lower portion of the claws prevents the sheet from falling out of the lifter.
- Pallet lifters use forks to lift pallets from underneath.
- Lifting beams made from solid or fabricated metal, or from wood, are suspended from a hoist/crane to provide multiple load lifting points for better security and control of the load’s movement. A spreader beam uses two or more hooks to spread the load over more than one lifting point.
- Magnets lift, carry or release flat or round ferrous objects with or without an electrical power supply.
- Slings or strap hoists made of nylon, polyester, wire rope or chain lift materials that are too large and bulky to be transported any other way, such as steel coils or sheets.
- Drum turners turn over drums for filling and emptying.
Hoisting equipment is used in a variety of areas to support processing and handling throughout a facility:
- Assembly: Moving products through production processes
- Positioning: Securing a component for additional work
- Transportation: Loading finished products onto open trailers or railcars
- Staging: Holding work-in-process for additional production processes
- Storage: Transporting heavy items to and from storage areas
- Warehousing: Moving large, heavy products to and from docks
Hoisting equipment provides a variety of benefits:
- Customizable – Hoisting equipment can be customized with below the hook attachments, end effectors or specialized tooling to handle a diverse variety of products and loads
- Ergonomics – By doing the heavy lifting, hoisting equipment takes the strain off operators, reducing fatigue and lowering the risk of injury
- Flexible – Hoisting equipment can be easily re-fitted for longer lifting capability
- Indoor/outdoor use – Hoisting equipment can be used with equipment both inside a facility and outside, on the dock or in the yard
- Lower maintenance costs – Incorporating the latest technologies and offered in a variety of usage and capacity ratings, hoisting equipment requires less maintenance compared to other lifting devices
- Portable – Hoisting equipment can be easily transported from job to job or site to site
- Positioning – Highly automated systems maneuver with the precision of one thousandth of the rated speed to an exact location
- Reduction in product damage – By allowing for smooth, direct-path lifting over obstacles—with soft start features, multiple speed options and a variety of end effectors to interface with and secure the load—products are handled gently to minimize damage
- Safety – Because they operate overhead and work in a specific area, hoisting equipment is less likely than forklift traffic to maneuver a load into personnel, walls, machinery or other obstacles
Hoisting equipment assists in the lifting and positioning of large, heavy loads in a variety of industries, including:
- Commercial printing
- Warehousing and distribution