If you’ve ever taken a moment to observe any kind of structure, you may have wondered how the builders got all of that material to such a high spot. Even some of the smallest-scale construction projects require assistance outside the realm of man power. Hoists are used every day around the world to facilitate a safer construction environment. The various uses of hoists on construction sites enable workers to improve productivity and more easily transport materials in a vertical plane.
Used for the purpose of raising or lowering a heavy load, hoists function by the means of a wheel or drum lift around which a chain or rope is wrapped. These ropes or chains are what create the lifting effect. A hoist is typically operated by a diesel engine or electric motors which fuel the drum. It is required that the landing gear of the hoist be fitted with some type of safety guard. Generally, you’ll find sliding gates as the guard of choice and needs to be watched carefully in order to prevent injury.
Not typically accessible to the public, hoists are generally only used for industrial purposes. The type of hoist necessary will be determined once the needs of the construction site are ascertained. Most commonly found on construction sites are mobile hoists. Capable of transporting materials up to 30 meters, these hoists are designed to be easily moveable. Since it’s not a permanent fixture, mobile hoists can easily be dismantled, loaded on to a chassis, and transferred to a new location. Mobile hoists are moved either by their own power or a haulage vehicle.
Another common variation of hoist is a passenger hoist. You can probably guess what they’re used for. Passenger hoists are most often used to transport the manpower working on construction sites, but can move other loads as long as the weight is within the loading capacity range. A normal passenger hoist can transfer up to 12 people with a loading capacity of 1,000 kg. This type of hoist can exist as a single cage with rope suspension or twin cages that are mounted on two sides of a static tower.
A third principle type of hoist is a small package hoist. These small-scale machines contain a lifting arm, wire rope, and simple electric motor that is fixed to scaffolding or a structure. Typically, they can perform light-lifting assignments that weigh no more than 500 kg.
Because hoists are crucial to productivity and efficiency, when one malfunctions, on-site production can dramatically slow down or even peter out totally. Suddenly, repair is imperative. Though it’s possible to fix a hoist, preventing a breakdown is preferred. Just like any other mechanical equipment, hoists need daily maintenance and checks. Preventative maintenance includes once-a-year inspections. You should also make sure that your equipment receives a monthly “walk-through.” These monthly inspections will catch tiny problems before a complete breakdown occurs.
In addition to monthly check-ups, ensure that your company stocks spare parts for your machines. You can contact the distributor and obtain a list of any extra parts for the hoist. “Wear parts” are also key to have on the shelves: transformers, trolley and hoist contactors, various fuses, push button stations, and safety latches. A spare wire rope kit is good to have on hand if your hoist has a wire rope.
The bottom line is: have an emergency plan. At some point, there will most likely be a malfunction. Appoint an individual on your team that can take control of the situation and act quickly. They should search for the cause of the problem and figure out which are parts are needed to fix it.
Hoists are incredibly beneficial to production when they are kept up and maintained properly. When they lack attention, problems begin to occur. By carefully inspecting your hoists and making any necessary repairs on a regular schedule, you will reduce breakdowns and reduce costly downtime.