One thing is specifying what your chain hoist must do, another is ensuring that it can be used safely. Both are vital. Get one wrong and you could end up costing your company a wedge of money or worse, a fatal injury.

Yale Electric Chain Hoist CPE

Safety first!

Before you even begin to question specification for a hoist you should firstly seek the help of a structural engineer. A structural engineer will be able to assist you as to where the hoist can be positioned. If running on a beam the engineer will be able to tell you how big and what type of beam you require in order to lift the desired rate. So to an extent, yes you do have to think about specification, but only brief details such as the maximum capacity to lift.

Am I lifting above heads?

If the answer to this question is YES, then you need to be very careful and ensure you are sold the correctly rated hoist(s). When hoisting above peoples heads (usually in a theatre) by law the hoist is required to conform to specific standards dependant upon the application. Hoists designed for this purpose usually feature a secondary brake system to ensure that the load cannot be dropped even in the event of a power failure. A quick conversation with your local entertainment hoist company should help you decipher the required standard. However if you are not hoisting above heads then this process is a whole lot easier!

Entertainment Hoist CAT A

How will I suspend my hoist?

In an industrial environment there are a number of options when suspending hoists; A Beam Clamp, Push Travel Trolley, Geared Travel Trolley or Electric Trolley. For safety reasons if you intend on simply hoisting up and down vertically with no reason to ever travel then I recommend a beam clamp, this fixes to the existing beam and clamps in place, it allows the hoist top hook to attach and secure the hoist in place statically. A Push Trolley allows the hoist and load to be pushed horizontally manually, this can require a lot of effort when the load is particularly heavy, so something to think about in terms of health and safety of the operators, consider electric travel if handling heavy loads constantly. Geared Trolleys will allow movement of the load when the hand chain is operated on the trolley in a simple pulling action, much like a chain block, this puts less strain on the operator but can still be intense to use when handling seriously heavy loads. Electric Trolleys are ideal, they feature a brake to slow them down and stop the travel which is an added safety feature from manual travel. Manual travel can potentially build up momentum and cause the load to continue travelling once pushed as there is no brake to stop it! Electric Trolleys also require little man effort, simply click a button and away you go!

How will I use my hoist?

Electric chain hoists are only intended for straight pulling and are not to be used for side pulling, side pulling is where a hoist is suspended vertically but the chain is being pulled at an angle causing friction on the chain and bottom side of the hoisting unit, this over time results in the chain links wearing and breaking along with damage to the hoisting unit itself. You should always read the user guide before operation.

The hoist should also be subject to a controlled load test performed by a certified person or company, the hoist is then certified for safe use.

A Result of Side Pulling

A Result of Side Pulling

Maintenance, Should I just plug and play?

To an extent, Yes! Hoists arrive pretty much completely assembled on a pallet, even to the required beam flange width on the trolley (excludes Demag). Before using the hoist for the first time, obviously read the manual and subject to a load test and certification. But then ensure that each and every chain link is well lubricated (even in between the links) (For more information onLoad Chain Lubrication visit this link). Prior to use every time you should inspect the hoist and chain for any signs of serious wear or damage. If unsure you should consult your management.

Dependant upon the amount of usage your hoist will require servicing and formally inspecting every three to twelve months, this requires a competent person or company to inspect and certify the hoist once they are happy with its performance. Sometimes a full load test is recommended. Hoists that fail inspection are usually within economical repair and spare parts + labour is usually offered by the testing company.

Risk Assessment

Management are required to perform a suitable risk assessment, if you are using an electric hoist it must be deemed safe.