6 Things You Should Know About Crazy Skates

What do you know about, or have you ever heard of, crazy skates? Machine skates, tanks, elephant feet or Hillman rollers – whatever name you refer to them as – are an industry staple regularly used on moves due to their tremendous durability, versatility and ease of use. In many situations, they can be the easiest means of getting from point A to point B, however, other options exist that can do the same job, if not better. We covered the jack and slide system in our last installment which can be found at the previous link.A close view of our 4-ton Crazy Skate under a load

For straight runs, machine skates are easily the most portable and quickest to set up option but become problematic when your load needs to go around a bend or rotate in tight quarters. The rotating machine skate – or crazy skate – manufactured by TechimpexUSA is here to ease that pain. Available in 4 and 10-ton capacities and capable of 360-degree rotation, these skates are able to turn on a dime without the use of additional equipment and maintain the portability of their smaller, straight-line counterparts.

Here are six things you should know and check before working with crazy skates.

  1. Is there someone on your crew that is trained on the use of proper rigging techniques while using skates? Have they had previous experience working with rotating machine skates?
    • This person should have a sound understanding of the proper use of holdbacks/tieback practices to ensure a safe move and it is strongly recommended they be trained on recommendations from the use and care manuals.
  2. How does your floor surface look? Are there any imperfections that may cause concern or impede the ability of the rollers to run smoothly?
    • Take stock of your floor and the prep needed for this move. Are there any pits, uneven surfaces, cracks, excessive expansion joints or loose debris? If the answer to any of these is yes, you may want to look into other options or invest some time on prepping the floor for the move. The fewer bumps or joints, the easier your move will be.
  3. Is the load’s Center of Gravity (CG) known?
    • This is paramount. No lift or move should be started without a thorough understanding of the location of the CG as this could create a multitude of problems or worse if left unchecked. Take note that skates of any variety can handle loads with low CG with ease but a load with a high CG requires extra planning and considerations on making the move safely. More on this later.
  4. Does your move require rotation of the load? Any turns from start of move to its final location?
    • We always want to ensure we get you the right tool for every job. While crazy skates can easily perform in a straight-line move, they may not be the best suited gear to use on that project. With the ability to rotate 360-degrees, crazy skates can get the job done but are better suited for projects needing steerability or for moves requiring load rotation in tight spaces with less space than would be available to traditional skates or low-profile dolly systems.
  5. How many crazy skates are needed to handle the load safely and efficiently?
    • The most common configurations we’ve seen to date are on either 3 or 4-skate sets. There are a few things to consider when making the decision on the best setup for your project:
      • Consider the total load and make sure that your choice accounts for any possibility of the CG shifting toward one side or the other. You want to make sure the skate you choose can handle more than its share of the calculated load. That can steer you toward 3 skates or 4 depending on the weight distribution required.
      • The most stable configuration in both low and high CG scenarios is the 3-skate setup. With the 3-skate system, the CG is captured better than in a 4-skate system and is less likely to go off-balance during the move.Crazy Skates in use to bring a large object around a corner with ease
  1. Do you have the proper holdbacks or tiebacks required to safely complete the lift?
    • It’s important to acknowledge that any load on wheels or air skates is going to attempt to follow the path of least resistance. Knowing that, any decline or grade on the surface needs to be accounted for.
      • We’ve seen some of our customers use a pair of Griphoists, set up in a crisscross configuration, at both the front and back of the load to give complete control over the load, preventing unwanted rotation or movement.

As always, we love to be here for all of our customers, providing our knowledge and expertise on all of your lifting and rigging projects. Now that you know more about crazy skates, check out our selection of pulling equipment available for rental at LGH and always remember, LGH can help you on your next big project, providing you with the industry knowledge and technical experience to ensure you get the job done right, on time and on budget.

With 23 rental locations in North America, we’re here to help wherever your job may be. Visit us at www.rentlgh.com or call our Rental Desk at 800-878-7305 for all of your lifting and rigging needs

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