Air chain hoists are valuable tools known for their durability and versatility in nearly any working environment. Provided the right steps are taken to ensure a smooth lift, the ease of use and the fact that you’re saving your crew’s backs make the air hoist a go-to option for many hoisting applications. As with any piece of equipment, however, there are weaknesses that can be magnified if left unchecked.
Maximizing lift efficiency, reducing potential issues and prolonging the life of your hoist only requires you to take simple steps. If you follow the tips laid out below, you’ll enjoy a far smoother experience on your next project.
Thoroughly plan your lift ahead of time to determine any potential issues before they arise.
Know your air source:
In addition to checking on your air pressure, double-check for adequate flow (CFM). Knowing the quality of your supplied air ahead of the project allows you to take steps to ensure smooth operation once the lift is ready to begin. Trace out any potential choke points when using plant air and supplement with an air compressor if required.
Analyze your work environment
Is there an abundance of dirt or dust floating in the air? It’s important to consider your method of operation. In dirty work environments, using a pendant control is likely not the best option as dirt and debris can clog the buttons, creating a potential loss of control over the load. In these cases, rope control hoists provide greater reliability and allow for more accurate load movement.
Are you working in a dry or humid environment?
In dry environments, your hoist is ready to go as is. When working in a damp or humid area, adding in a separate air filter/dryer can be the difference between a successful lift or unexpected downtime from a damaged hoist. These units dehumidify and clean the air running through your system prior to entering the hoist. Particles and moisture can cause rust and corrosion of the internal components and cause inefficient operation of your hoist. In other words, be prepared. Keeping the right tools for the job keep your labor costs in check and keeps your guys working.
ALWAYS employ the use of an oiler and dirt stopper:
All air powered products rented from LGH ship with an inline oiler and dirt stopper included. Most issues with air products come as a direct result of the oiler and dirt stopper being left off. These accessories provide a last line of defense for the hoist, keeping unwanted contaminants from the inner workings of your hoists. They ensure your air chain hoist is working at optimum efficiency with no adverse effect on air quality. The oiler also keeps the critical components within the hoist lubricated to avoid mechanical breakdown during use.
Clear your air supply BEFORE attaching the hose to your hoist:
An air hose that’s been sitting unattached or idle for any length of time is likely to have dirt, dust or debris sitting ready to shoot into your air chain hoist. Prior to attaching your hose to any air-powered equipment, shoot a blast of air to clear any remaining particles. Your inline oiler and dirt stopper or air filter system (if applicable) will handle the rest. This small step can avoid unnecessary downtime and damage to your hoist and should take no more than 10 seconds to complete.
Avoid shock loading your hoist:
With any hoisting equipment, shock loading is never a good idea. Speed and hoisting and rigging don’t go hand-in-hand. Not only does shock loading place undo stress on the load’s lifting points, it may also overload your system. When planning the lift, calculate the total load to ensure that your beam, clamp/trolley, and hoist can withstand the load. It’s best to practice safe, controlled lifting until the load is in the air to avoid shock/point-loading and avoid preventable accidents.
Following the simple steps laid out above drastically increases the likelihood of a smooth, successful lift and also prolongs your equipment’s lifespan. For more information about air chain hoists, please visit our Air Chain Hoists section of our website for available rentals and spec sheets. You can give us a call at 800-878-7305 for all things hoisting, rigging, pulling, jacking and safety-related. With experts in the field and available by phone, LGH is here to be your partner from concept to completion.