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What is a Chain Hoist?

A chain hoist is a very useful innovation which is essentially a piece of equipment used to lift and lower heavy loads, It is commonly found in a varying array of workspaces such as factories, plants, construction areas, and warehouses.  It is also characterized by a heavy duty chain and due to its efficiency and high carrying capacity; the machine spares you the hassle, stress and time spent in lifting heavy items.

How Does an Electric Chain Hoist Work?

Electric chain hoists have an induction motor and a break to ensure the load is held when lifting (enabling heavy objects/loads to be lifted safely). The motor converts electrical energy that is fed into mechanical energy which can then lift the load/weight. It has a break that has an interlock mechanism in combination with a motor that operates in a unique way. When the electric chain hoist is in operation the energy supply to the break will be released, but when the motor is off the supply is automatically provided and the break will resume to ensure that the crane load can be held.

How Does a Manual Chain Block Work?

A chain block (also known as a had or manual chain hoist) is a mechanism used to lift and lower heavy loads using a chain. Chain Blocks contain two wheels which a chain wound around. When the chain is manually pulled, the chain winds around the wheels and begins to lift the item that is attached to the chain at the other end. Chain blocks can also be attached to lifting slings and chain bags to lift the load more evenly. This is a fully manual process, when the electric hoist is capable of lifting far greater weights and with effortless ease.

What are Chain Blocks (Hand Chain Hoists) Used For?

A chain block is used in many different sceanrios, you will often find them in car garages to assist with loading and unloading car engines. This is the perfect application as it would normally require a number of persons and man power, but with a chain block (hand chain hoist) you can perform a task such as this with one person, making it very efficent. Most places where chain blocks exist will have infrequent use, or can not justify the cost of an electric chain hoist.

They are even used in manufacturing production lines or to winch vehicles out when they have encountered tough terrain.

What do Electric Chain Hosits Do?

The primary benefit is that they are able to lift loads straight up with no lateral movement. They are commonly used for light to medium loads and are ideally suited to use in assembly operations, on a workstation crane, with a jib crane, or for maintenance operations. They are a simple, easy-to-use solution to increase productivity in your workspace and operations.

What are the Benefits of the an Electric Chain Hoist?

Electric chain hoists are inexpensive compared to cranes. They are hassle free and they can be easily operated with simple controls. They offer high-efficiency, at an affordable cost even in demanding conditions. They will ensure a smooth and steady vertical lift, with a high degree of precision and make light work of heavy objects when compared to a manual hoist.

Do I need an Electric Chain Hoist?

An understanding of supply voltage is critical in choosing the right one, in South Africa, we primarily have two supply voltages that are used in an Industrial capacity, namely 380/400c and 525v. 525v is more commonly found in Mines and bigger Industrial operations while 380v is the conventional industry norm. Another determining factor in selecting your hoist is choosing between single and dual speed operation. Single speed operation is most common and utilised under normal lifting and lowering applications such as offloading of goods. Dual speed hoists are ideal when more precise movements are required. Electric chain hoists have very obvious benefits over using manual chain hoists (chain blocks), they are safer, quicker and far more convenient.

We have compiled a full guide on how to chose a chain hoist so we are linking to this rather than repeating ourselves but here are some key points:

THE QUICK GUIDE TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT ELECTRIC CHAIN HOIST?

Consider the Capacity you Will be Lifting

If you are looking for an electric hoist for your plant, the first thing that you must know is the weight of whatever you will be lifting. This is the first and minimum requirement. Safety is a key consideration in your selection and its best to err on the side of caution when selecting the safe working load of your hoist. Standard increments in lifting machinery and chain hoists are 125kg, 250kg, 500kg, 1000kg and 2000kg. So if, for example, your constant load is 500kg and the likelihood is that you would exceed that weight, then don’t risk it. Go for the 1000kg chain hoist to optimise your production and ensure the safety of both your workers and your cargo.

Check the Speed

Lifting speed is your next step and needs careful attention. If high production is your goal then a faster lifting speed will be required to get the best possible return on investment on your chain hoist purchase. If you are simply offloading delivered goods and shifting them sporadically then look at a more modest speed. Hoist speed is determined by several factors including motor power, gearbox ratio and the reeving of your chain.

What is the Height of Lift?

After the capacity and speed have been selected, next, you have to consider the height of lift that your lifting task requires. The biggest constraint in this regard is your proposed building. Don’t assume that because your building is a certain height, that you will attain that same height in lift. The size of both your lifting structure and your chain hoist or electric wire rope hoist need to be ascertained prior to any decision. If you are uncertain in any terms, then seek help from a lifting professional. Errors at this stage of your progress can be very costly and can be avoided with a mere phone call.

Fact!

Electric Chain Hoists are the most commonly sold hoists in South Africa!

Do not Overlook your Future Needs

A four-ton chain hoist may be suitable to lift your items now, but what about future needs? Do you see yourself lifting heavier objects in future than you are today? It wouldn’t be cost saving to to have to upgrade each time you needed to lift heavier items than previously. Go for something that can cater for both your present and future needs and chose smartly.

Do not Overlook your Future Needs

A four-ton chain hoist may be suitable to lift your items now, but what about the future needs? Do you see yourself lifting heavier objects in future than you are today? It wouldn’t be cost saving to get back to the shop every time you want some things lifted that happen to be heavier than your previous items. Go for something that can cater for both your present and future needs.

What Kind of Material will the Hoist be Lifting?

Everyday items that require lifting from one place to the next can be summed up easily, but what if your load is somewhat different? How will it affect the specification of your hoist and lifting equipment? Moreover, are there any hazardous environment issues to consider? In this regard, be as open and honest with your service provider as possible. Failure to disclose any hazards can waste valuable time, money and production.

Consider the Duty Cycle

Before getting a chain hoist, you must determine how often the crane will be operating per day. Also, consider how long every cycle takes. Your chain hoist must be clearly marked with its duty. Recognised authorities in this respect are FEM (European materials handling federation) or ISO (international organization for standardization) and this will dictate the level of safety and efficiency of your electric chain hoist or wire rope hoist.

What is your Budget?

Budget is always a consideration in the purchase of capital equipment and an electrical chain hoist is no different. It is, however important not to be short sighted in this regard. Do not simply buy from the cheapest possible source and hope for the best, you need to be assured that your service provider has significant support in terms of expertise and spare parts should something go wrong. Make sure your supplier is the OEM or official distributor of a recognized product. Where possible, view the premises of your supplier and satisfy yourself that they can carry out both your immediate requirements and any future requirements.

What is your Budget?

Budget is always a consideration in the purchase of capital equipment and an electrical chain hoist is no different. It is, however important not to be short sighted in this regard. Do not simply buy from the cheapest possible source and hope for the best, you need to be assured that your service provider has significant support in terms of expertise and spare parts should something go wrong. Make sure your supplier is the OEM or official distributor of a recognized product. Where possible, view the premises of your supplier and satisfy yourself that they can carry out both your immediate and any future requirements.

Go for Guarantee

Any reasonable hoist will come with a warranty to guard the purchaser against any malfunctions or losses due to manufacture faults. This term is normally 1 year but may vary. Have this warranty in writing from your service provider and as stated above, satisfy yourself that the supplier is capable of honouring a warrantee through trained staff and spares back-up.

Following these guidelines will assist you in making your lifting machinery purchase a little less daunting. If you are in need of a chain host, go for quality brands such as Surelift and Guralp, and you will never regret. Good luck!

The Difference – Manual Chain Blocks (Hand Chain Hoists)

Chain blocks have a very particular function and its advantage lies in its mobility. They are commonly used for installations and less permanent applications as mentioned above. When used in permanent applications, the required frequency of use is normally very low and are considered when budget and application are factors.

Electric Chain Hoist Performing its Operation

Selecting the Right Trolley for your Chain Hoist

The Hoist being electrical or manual is the first step in the process, the second would be defining the right and most appropriate trolley. Electric hoists offer trolleys that are either powered or push type.  Powered Trolleys add an additional cost but if your requirement is that of a high volume, the return on investment from this is exceptional. Manual hoists are on the simpler end of the spectrum, are purchased with geared trolleys.

Choosing the Right Crane – Monorail, Overhead Cranes or Jib Cranes

Chain hoists are primarily installed in lower capacity applications such as jib or workstation cranes, monorails and (less frequently) on overhead gantry cranes.

  • Jib cranes or workstation cranes can be either free standing or wall/pillar mounted. They can rotate up to 360 degrees and are ideal where work is concentrated in a very specific work area.
  • Monorails are a single beam with various mounting options, the length is not limited and can even incorporate bends with many different applications such as process automation and production lines.
  • An overhead gantry crane is an I-beam or fabricated box girder that runs on rails in a defined space in a factory or warehouse to assist in the moving of heavy loads.

Once you have chosen an electric hoist or manual chain block, a trolley, gantry or jib crane you’ll be ready to lift and move all the heavy items in your industrial warehouse or plant. Correct lifting machinery selection will offer a return on your investment and solve your material handling issues. It should, therefore, be done with careful scrutiny as the wrong equipment will exaggerate these issues instead of solving them.

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RGM Cranes is a market leader in the crane industry with over 30 years’ experience. If there are any question or if you’d like more information, please get in touch with us.