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The Benefits Of Regular Crane And Hoist Maintenance

Aug 17, 2007
Regular maintenance is critical to keeping overhead cranes and hoists operating properly. Production time is lost and repair costs rise when breakdowns happen. Prevention is key. Equipment that is maintained more frequently actually costs less in terms of lost time and expensive repairs. While the U.S. Department of Labor- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires annual inspections, the optimal interval is quarterly. OSHA also requires regular scheduled inspections and maintenance with dated records. Whether done in-house or by an outside company, the frequency is based on the manufacturer's recommendations and on the usage of the hoists.

Chain hoists that are serviced on a quarterly basis experience fewer breakdowns. Minor problems and adjustments addressed can prevent bigger repairs and production setbacks. Repair costs, including rush orders on labor and parts, are lower. Downtime is reduced. Emergency problems are reduced and repairs can be done when it is convenient with your production schedules. Knowledge of crane condition can make it easier to budget for current and future maintenance. The money saved can go towards upgrades and new equipment down the road.

It is important to choose the right company to service your cranes, especially if your equipment is crucial to your operation and you expect excellent reliability from the equipment long term. Price should not be the only factor taken into consideration. Before spending your money, there are several considerations to keep in mind. Be sure you know what the inspection price includes. Some companies offer repairs, testing, adjustments and other supplies in their quote. Find out the qualifications of the company and ask for references. Whether or not they provide the lifts to access all sides of the mechanism, including the top, may be an important consideration to your operation. Make sure the company will follow both OSHA regulations and the crane manufacturer's inspection requirements. Ask for proof of insurance as well. Be clear on exactly what you are paying for. Many times, it is well worth it to spend more up front.

Daily inspections from your staff can pinpoint smaller problems before they become major. Check the hoisting speed and brakes for proper repair. Run the hoist to its upper weight limit to make sure it shuts down. The safe working load of the hoist, as indicated by its manufacturer on the hoist, should never be exceeded. Check the supporting structure to make sure it has a safe working load equal to the hoist. Look for obstructions that would inhibit free movement and allow proper alignment with loads. Make sure the operator can stand clear of the load at all times. Check cables and chains for wear and safety latches for proper operation. Check load hooks for proper rotation and any deformities. Block sheave/pocket wheels need to rotate freely. Lifting attachments should be free of damage and wear. Careful attention to your equipment can seem expensive upfront, but can save time and greater expense in the future.
About the Author
Terry Gates is a freelance writer with experience on overhead hoists and cranes maintenance.
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