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6 Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Crane and Hoist for Your Application

Choosing the Right Crane

In a previous post, I discussed some basic details about cranes and hoists, and how they work together. As promised, here are some thoughts about the different factors that should be considered when specifying a crane and hoist combination.

I’ve essentially grown up in the overhead handling industry, so I know how complex and time consuming it can be trying to figure out what equipment will best match an operation’s unique overhead handling needs and budget requirements. There are a lot of manufacturers who make a variety of cranes and hoists to handle different kinds of loads, capacities, frequencies of use, and environmental conditions across different industries. Just figuring out where to begin can be daunting. I get it.

That’s why I recommend considering the following six factors as you begin your crane and hoist investment journey. Understanding and having insight into each of these areas and how they impact the overall specification and buying process will help you to make a more informed decision.

  1. The Load. All crane and hoist manufacturers need to know what you’re lifting, as well as its dimensions, total weight, surface characteristics, uniformity (or not) of shape, material, construction, and fragility. Also, if the load will be wet, dry, dusty, oily, or in some other condition as it’s handled. Further, it’s important to note if more than one type of load needs to be handled by the crane and hoist. Depending on how different each load is from another, more than one combination of overhead lifting and handling solution might be recommended.
  2. The Frequency of Use. How often and at what percentage of its maximum load capacity the crane and hoist will be used — also known as Duty Cycle Requirements — has a significant impact on the service class an application requires. There are six crane and hoist service classes. Specifying equipment engineered to meet the appropriate class for your application will ensure its safety and longevity. Briefly, the six classes are:
  • Class A: Standby or Infrequent Service. These are often applications where precise handling of equipment at slow speeds with long idle periods between lifts occur.
  • Class B: Light Service. Light use, low speed applications, with loads ranging from none to full rated capacity at a rate of two to five lifts per hour averaging 10 feet per lift.
  • Class C: Moderate Service. Loads average 50% of the rated capacity with five to 10 lifts per hour at an average of 15 feet.
  • Class D: Heavy Service. Loads approaching 50% to 65% of rated capacity are handled constantly and at high speeds, with 10 to 20 lifts per hour at an average of 15 feet.
  • Class E: Severe Service. Near continuous use with 20 or more lifts per hour at or near 100% of the rated capacity, often in harsh environments.
  • Class F: Continuous Severe Service. Continuous use in harsh conditions at near 100% of the rated capacity. These cranes may be custom designed for high reliability in critical operations.
  1. The Required Speed. How quickly the crane must travel and hoist must lift and lower in order to keep up with production processes is critical to ensuring overall operational efficiency. A system that is too fast or too slow can compromise safety.
  2. The Operating Environment. Cranes and hoists are used both indoors and outside; either environment can have its own specific challenges including temperature, hazardous conditions, dust, heat, humidity, liquids, oils, fibers, corrosive chemicals, and more. Depending on the application, a custom crane and hoist combination may be recommended to increase reliability and service life.
  3. The Expected Longevity. Routine maintenance is a must for all cranes and hoists to ensure they operate safely and reliably throughout their entire lifespan. How often (or not) an operation wants the equipment to run between servicing, to replace key components, or to replace the entire system is an important consideration when designing and specifying a crane and hoist.
  4. The Budget. While it can be tempting to pick the crane and hoist combination priced the lowest of all options, chances are that system will not be engineered to meet the actual requirements of the application. A properly engineered system likely will not be the least expensive, but it has a better chance of operating for a longer period of time with fewer operational issues, less downtime, and a higher degree of safety. Further, there are costs associated with all capital equipment investments beyond the initial purchase price. Be sure to account for installation, spare parts, maintenance agreements, service contracts, and desired level of field service team responsiveness to issues when totaling up the costs of the equipment.

Other Resources to Help You Specify the Right Crane and Hoist

Beyond the considerations outlined above, there are a variety of buyer’s guide resources available. These are intended to help novice and experienced buyers of overhead lifting systems better evaluate their options and determine the optimal crane and hoist solution for their application.

The definitive resource is published by the Crane Manufacturers Association of America (CMAA), an independent trade association affiliated with MHI. CMAA’s member companies are the world’s top providers of overhead traveling crane equipment and related products. As the leading advocates for the safe application and operation of overhead handling equipment, CMAA develops, publishes, and routinely reviews and updates design safety standards and specifications for a variety of crane systems and components. (Fun fact: I happen to be currently serving as the association’s President).

The CMAA Buyer’s Guide — available as a free download in American Crane’s online Resource Center in the eBooks section — is actually a collection of four documents:

  • Below-the-Hook Lifting Device contains a series of questions to be answered about the loads the device will handle (weight, dimensions, symmetry, fragility, material, surface conditions, and more); operating conditions; description of current handling process; and more.
  • Top Running & Under Running Single Girder Electric Traveling Cranes Utilizing Under Running Trolley Hoists includes key design and engineering questions to ask when vetting potential suppliers about their manufacturing processes specific to CMAA Specification 74; an inquiry data sheet which includes a series of questions about the space in which the crane and hoist will operate; operating conditions; desired speeds; load(s) to be handled; and more. It also includes an overview of crane service classifications to help buyers identify the actual conditions in which the crane and hoist will operate, and a series of recommended bridge, trolley, and hoist speeds based on the system’s total load capacity.
  • Top Running & Gantry Type Multiple Girder Electric Overhead Traveling Cranes features the same inquiry points in the Single Girder version, only specific to CMAA Specification 70.
  • The Buyer’s Guide Companion pertains to both the Single and Multiple Girder Buyer’s Guides. It offers detailed explanations of why it is important to ask potential suppliers each question about adherence to CMAA Specifications 74 and 70, and how those answers may impact the safety, function, operation, and lifespan of the selected crane and hoist combination.

Additionally, at American Crane, we’ve developed two separate publications that supplement CMAA’s guides: How to Choose the Right Crane: A Crane Buyer’s Guide and How to Choose the Right Hoist: A Hoist Buyer’s Guide. Both of these documents are also free downloads located in the eBooks section of our online Resource Center. Whereas the CMAA documents are more engineering focused, our publications offer a broader, less technical perspective on key crane and hoist selection considerations, as well as an overview of the types of solutions available.

Finally, I urge you to leverage the knowledge of an experienced crane and hoist equipment professional, including suppliers, manufacturers, and vendors. While publications are a great resource, nothing compares to partnering with a company that has the breadth of expertise in designing and engineering a broad range of crane and hoist solutions. American Crane’s experts are always available to help you better evaluate your overhead handling options, as well as determine the optimal solution for your needs. Connect with a project specialist today.

The Basics of Cranes and Hoists: Your Overhead Lifting Dream Team

Great partnerships are timeless. Peanut butter and chocolate. Jordan and Pippen. Seagulls and French fries. Like Frank Sinatra sang, “You can’t have one without the other.”

The same goes for cranes and hoists. Impossible to separate, the two are integral parts of overhead lifting and handling of large, heavy, and bulky loads that can’t easily be maneuvered or elevated by ground-based equipment. They’re relied upon throughout a broad range of industries, including manufacturing, automotive, shipping, energy, construction, transportation, food processing, and many more.

There are several different types of crane and hoist combinations. At their most basic, an indoor overhead crane is built to cover three axes, transporting a load side to side, backwards, and forwards as directed by an operator via manual, wired pendant, or remote controls. Two fixed runways, positioned parallel to each other, support a perpendicularly placed bridge beam known as a girder. 

The bridge girder spans the distance between the two runways and rides on end trucks. It moves the load forward and backward. Depending on the application requirements, the bridge may be mounted on top of the runways (called a top-running crane) or suspended from the bottom flange of the runways (called an under-hung or under-running crane).

Suspended from the bridge is the hoist, which is attached to a trolley that rolls across the bridge girder. The trolley moves the load side to side, while the hoist provides the lifting and lowering function as directed by the operator. Hoists are outfitted with wire rope or chain and are operated manually, electrically, or pneumatically.

Different Types of Cranes

Cranes themselves come in a variety of configurations. These include:

  • Single Girder Crane – A crane with a single bridge girder mounted between and supported by end trucks at each runway.
  • Double Girder Crane – A crane with two bridge girders mounted between and supported by end trucks at each runway.
  • Gantry Crane – A crane similar to an overhead crane except that the bridge for carrying the trolley (or trolleys) is rigidly supported on two or more legs running on fixed rails or a runway embedded in the floor.
  • Jib Crane – A crane design whereby the bridge girder (often called a boom) is fixed at one end, typically mounted to a wall or a post (free standing) via a hinge to allow rotation of 180 to 360 degrees around the axis. This design enables the opposite end to cantilever over the load. The fixed end generally is hinged to allow rotation.

Specifying a Crane/Hoist Combo

To ensure the proper combination of crane and hoist will serve a unique application, the Crane Manufacturers Association of America (CMAA) and Hoist Manufacturers Institute (HMI) have each developed a list of service classifications. These are based on a variety of performance capabilities, including speed, lift cycles, and travel distance, as well as operating conditions, load magnitude, and standard maintenance requirements. 

CMAA crane classifications range from Class A – Infrequent Use to Class F – Continuous/Severe Service. Likewise, HMI’s list of service classifications for self-contained or packaged “off-the-shelf” hoists ranges from H1 to H5. HMI hoist classifications generally align with CMAA’s crane service classifications, with Class A cranes typically using H1 hoists, and so on. The exception is Class E and Class F cranes typically require a custom-engineered hoist. To help companies determine the best fit for their application, American Crane has published an eBook on “How to Choose the Right Crane,” and a separate eBook on “How to Choose the Right Hoist.”

Based on the requirements of an application, it’s critical to specify the right pairing of crane and hoist to ensure the safety of those working with and around it, as well as to maximize the functional lifespan of the system. Some situations are suitable for a standard, off-the-shelf combination of the two; others require custom design and engineering of both components to match the load movement needs. 

I’ll be discussing how to select a crane and hoist in my next post. In the meanwhile, American Crane offers a comprehensive library of in-depth educational resources — including more eBooks, brochures, and a glossary of crane terms — to help you better understand and assess the options. Plus, our experts are always available to help you determine the optimal solution for your overhead handling challenge. Connect with a project specialist to discuss your application today.

Logistics of Crane Delivery & Project Management

It can be challenging to move a massive crane to a facility. With nearly 50 years of experience, American Crane has the skills and knowledge to cover everything from manufacturing to delivery and installation of the crane. Project management and various other factors play a crucial role in transporting a crane from the manufacturing facility to its final destination. Here, we will discuss the logistics of crane delivery, including important considerations, common challenges, and more.

The Logistics of Safe Crane Transportation

Transporting something as large as a crane or hoist comes with its own set of challenges that must be addressed as part of the delivery planning process. These loads often exceed standard freight transportation limitations for width, height, and weight.

Since crane shipments are considered oversized, they must comply with oversized shipping regulations outlined by the U.S. Department of Transportation. For example, loads more than 10’ wide must be transported during daylight areas, whereas loads that are 10’ or less may be transported at night. These regulations tend to differ from state to state; however, the American Crane logistics team has the knowledge and expertise to ensure compliance.

There are many factors that must be expertly accounted for on the logistics and internal sides for crane delivery, including:

  • Dismantling the crane at the manufacturing plant to prepare it for delivery
  • Ensuring the proper size transportation trucks and appropriate oversize load escort vehicles are available for the chosen delivery timeframe
  • Hiring certified drivers and equipment handlers
  • Researching and selecting the safest transportation routes, watching for weight, height, permitted operating hours, and commercial traffic limitations
  • Coordinating with local civil and law enforcement authorities to obtain necessary permits and meet all crane transportation regulations
  • Having the necessary equipment and personnel available at the delivery site for unloading, reassembly, and installation
  • Maintaining the highest levels of safety for all personnel involved in every step of the transportation process

How Cranes Are Transported

Because of their dimensions and weight, cranes are usually transported by road and highway on truck trailers that are specially designed and equipped to handle these massive loads. Equipment includes heavy-duty hooks and straps, along with durable steel chains, to securely hold the crane in place. This step is crucial, as any misstep here could result in a load shift during delivery, which might lead to delivery delays and safety issues. Railroads are occasionally used for crane transportation, but trucks are usually involved at some point in the process.

Challenges often encountered when shipping cranes include:

  • Equipment Selection for Crane Transportation. Exact crane dimensions are required to select the appropriate transportation equipment. The bed must be long enough for the height of the crane, and low enough to allow for clearance heights under bridges. The weight of the crane impacts the power needed to pull the load. Smaller cranes may also be utilized for loading and unloading crane pieces.
  • Crane Delivery Speed. As can be imagined, crane delivery can be a slow process. The delivery caravan may have to travel at lower speeds and may need to use alternative routes to avoid local traffic or difficult turns. Estimating delivery time also often requires analyzing potential weather conditions and geographic features.
  • Crane Transportation Costs. Costs for transporting cranes are higher than standard freight due to permits, driver certifications, safety equipment, specialized equipment, and increased shipping time involved.

The logistics specialists at American Crane have extensive experience and knowledge dealing with all these issues, and can efficiently manage the crane delivery management process.

Crane Delivery & Project Management at American Crane

American Crane & Equipment Corporation is a leading manufacturer of cranes, hoists, and other material handling equipment. With decades of experience, we have the knowledge to transport your crane from our facility to your final destination, all while remaining compliant with federal regulations. To learn more about how we can help with crane delivery and project management, contact us or request a quote today.

GRIT Matters: What the Vikings Teach Us About Gardening and Navigating

In my previous post, I talked about the values and culture at American Crane, and their importance to helping both our people and our customers thrive. Today, I want to share more about the foundation of our culture — GRIT Matters — the inspiration behind it, and how we live it every day.

It may surprise you to learn that American Crane’s culture is rooted in the Viking way of life. This originated with my Dad, Oddvar Norheim, who emigrated to the U.S. from Norway and ultimately took the helm at American Crane. His Nordic heritage is very important to him. It is also important to our company, and we apply many Viking lessons to navigating our business.

Lots of companies use the analogy of going to battle as they strive to grow their market share. So, you might think that the first Viking Lesson in our cultural foundation would be about how to be a better warrior.

But you’d be wrong.

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.

In spite of their pillaging reputation, most Viking were not warriors but rather farmers who tended gardens planted in the poor soil and cold North Atlantic climate. The Vikings who sailed the seas were looking for more hospitable places to farm and build a better life.

To be a farmer is to live with hope and continuously try to mitigate risk. Crops are nurtured and tended to. Seeds are watered. Weeds are pulled. Prayers for good weather are repeated. To grow a garden takes long-term commitment for success. There’s a tremendous amount of work put into planting, growing, harvesting, and preserving a crop. Being a gardener takes perseverance, heart, and integrity. Indeed, it takes GRIT to be a gardener.

Therefore, the first Viking lesson we embrace at American Crane is…

TO BE A GARDENER – Preparing and cultivating ourselves, so we are ready for the battles of our business and life.

Within our business, that means our leadership team works to grow our people. It is our role to ensure that the environment — the culture — allows our people to thrive. The most important part of our business is our people. Leaders become great not because of their power, but their ability to empower others.

Navigate the seas of our business with the bounty of our garden at our back.

Navigation, of course, is at the heart of a seafaring life. The Vikings, as they ventured as far as the Middle East and North America, had no access to modern navigation instruments. The sextant wasn’t invented for another thousand years after they first took to the seas, nor the compass for another four hundred years. Instead, they used Icelandic spar crystals, called “Sunstones,” that helped them locate the sun in the sky — even when it was cloudy.

Today, we consider American Crane’s Vision, Mission and Values to be our Sunstone, the principles we check to verify that we’re on the right course, no matter the obstacle or uncertainty. Navigating uncharted territory takes perseverance, heart, and integrity. Indeed, it
takes GRIT to be a navigator.

Perhaps recognizing this, a set of Viking Laws evolved among these warriors to guide them as they sailed the oceans in search of new places to farm. As it turns out, these are in almost perfect alignment with both my and my father’s philosophy on life and business. They

  1. Be Brave and Aggressive – In the battles of your business and life, grab every opportunity, be versatile and agile, focus on attacking one target at a time.
  2. Be a Good Merchant – Learn what the market needs and have integrity in everything you do.
  3. Be Prepared – Keep your weapons (i.e., your mind and body, people and products) in peak condition.
  4. Keep the Camp in Order – Stay organized and ensure everybody does meaningful work with purpose.

Therefore, the second Viking lesson we embrace at American Crane is…

TO BE A VIKING – Using our sunstone, to be brave and enter uncharted waters, weather storms and find our way even when it’s cloudy.

The Vikings were relentlessly passionate about pursing their goals. They worked, not just with their hands, but also with their heads and hearts. Despite their barbaric reputation, the Vikings have left a legacy of achievements that have forever changed our world.

We cannot direct the wind, but we can raise our sails and adjust as needed.

The winds of change are always blowing. Life — and business — never go exactly as planned. But, then again, a calm sea never made a good sailor.

We are GRITTY at American Crane. What does that mean? That we put perseverance, heart and integrity into everything we do. Storms, disruptions, obstacles, challenges, are not feared here, because we are committed to continuously learning how to navigate to a better outcome. The focus on growing our people, empowering them to make decisions, to innovate, and to collaborate fearlessly is what nurtures our ability to be relentless no matter the odds.

GRIT is the raw endurance, perseverance and passion that keep us going despite obstacles. It is knowing who we are and where we are headed, moving determinedly forward with eyes fixed on the mark, rather than the obstacles that lie in wait.

GRIT is being a gardener. GRIT is being a Viking. GRIT is at the heart of our culture. And GRIT Matters.

Got GRIT? Bring it to work at American Crane.

Channel your inner Viking and learn more about our team and the values that make American Crane an industry leader by visiting us.

Got GRIT? Bring It To Work At American Crane, Where People Are Paramount

It’s no secret that companies are competing fiercely to fill job openings at all levels. Things are no different here at American Crane.

Thanks to the growth of the economy post-pandemic — and the confidence our customers have in our abilities to help them meet their own productivity needs — our company is growing too. And we’re currently seeking to fill several openings throughout our operations.

Lots of crane companies are hiring, too. So, like most job seekers in today’s market, there are plenty of choices out there when it comes to a prospective employer.

That’s why I’d like to take a few minutes to explain why American Crane is different from the
rest: our values. Here’s why that makes us a fantastic place not just to work, but to thrive.

Company culture. It matters.

Hands down, bar none, the most important thing at American Crane is our people. We are committed to a culture that fosters their growth, their empowerment, and their safety. Nothing is more critical to the success of our customers and of our own business than our employees.

Now, I can hear you thinking, “Come on Karen. Lots of companies say these same things. But only sometimes is it actually true.” I completely agree with you. It’s a common refrain that doesn’t always prove to be the reality. That’s not the case here.

How do I know? Because culture starts at the top — and, as President and COO, that means me. I learned the importance of a people-centric culture by working my way through the ranks here at American Crane.

I was recruited to come work here by my Dad, American Crane’s CEO, nearly 20 years ago. He — and my colleagues in the company — not only coached me, but also empowered me to learn first-hand, on the job, how to become an effective leader. Those lessons inform everything we do here in our operations.

Here are a few of the principles that define American Crane’s culture:

  • All team members are empowered to make decisions. Nobody micromanages around here. We trust each other and aren’t afraid to collaborate.
  • Innovation and exploration of new ideas and processes to solve problems and deliver results is encouraged. One of my favorite quotes is, “One time has to be the first time.” If we don’t try something new, our business will never move forward.
  • Constructive conflict and conversations lead to better solutions. Diversity of opinion is embraced. With it we can arrive at the best possible outcome for our customers’ challenges.
  • Growth comes from experiments and experience. Although our equipment can’t fail, our people can. Curiosity is never a bad thing here, and failures can be leveraged for future success. We provide a safe space to grow.
  • Family is important, both at work and at home. We work hard in a respectful, supportive, and caring environment, but we expect our People to rest and recharge with their loved ones.
  • GRIT Matters — and it’s rewarded. We put Perseverance, Heart, and InteGRITy into everything we do. Employees and supervisors are encouraged to nominate their colleagues for a quarterly GRIT Award that includes bonuses and incentives.

We Build Cool Things

American Crane customers span a broad variety of industries and applications. We create overhead crane solutions to unique challenges for customers like NASA, nuclear power plants, shipping ports, oil and offshore drilling, vehicle manufacturers, and more. Our cranes can be
found on construction sites, in hazardous environments, in clean rooms, at fisheries, on bridge repairs, and in industrial facilities all over the U.S. We’re proud to say that the custom crane solutions we design, engineer, manufacture, and install are Built in the USA.

What Our People Say

Still not convinced? Consider what our people have to say about what it’s like to work at American Crane.

“We’re continuously learning. It’s very challenging. I think it’s a good place to work because it’s a lot of freedom. We are given our responsibilities and expected to perform.” – Troy Wetzel, Vice President of Quality Assurance

“Besides the people, it’s the projects that we get to work on. We have some very highend customers here that deal with us and buy our products. And they’re pretty exciting to work on. We also have fantastic employees who have been with the company for a very long time, and they’re very willing to teach the newer people like myself. I’ve only been here four years and they’re very willing to guide us and to help us along in completing a project.” – Dean Moyer, Mechanical Engineer

“I certainly like going out to see customers, whether that’s inside of a nuclear power plant or at Cape Canaveral or the Kennedy Space Center. It’s a neat job. There’s a lot of change in scenery, a lot of different industries that we’re involved with on a daily basis.”
– Michael Myers, Vice President of National Service

Join the American Crane Team

Want to learn more about working here? Get to know our team and the values that make American Crane an industry leader by visiting us.

How to Optimize your Overhead Crane for the Maximum Hook Coverage

Hook coverage, otherwise known as working span, determines a crane hook’s ability to reach various areas. The hook’s ability to get close to bridges and runways is also a factor in determining crane hook coverage. Maximum crane efficiency and flexibility can only be achieved by optimizing hook coverage.

How to Determine Hook Coverage

Hook CoverageThere are several ways to determine hook coverage. These include:

  • The side approach. This side approach will help you determine the crane’s usable lateral working span; however, this is typically not a symmetrical dimension. The hoist trolley normally has a short and a long side. The short and long sides must be determined when installing a crane to ensure the side approach span is adequate.
  • The end approach. The end approach is the hook’s centerline coverage, allowing end-to-end movement. Unlike the side approach, it is typically symmetrical. The entire span of the crane may be larger than the actual working span based on the runway length. When extra hook coverage is required, a zero clearance end stop can provide approximately one foot of lateral or centerline coverage.

When determining the necessary crane hook coverage, it is vital to know the working space in detail. The floor-to-ceiling height along with walls and objects in the work area may limit the hook’s working span. It is ideal to consider any changes and optimizations before the project is complete. Once complete, optimizing the working span can be expensive and may interfere with daily productivity.

Measuring Crane Size Requirements to Maximize Coverage

Measuring Crane SizeProper measurements are essential to maximizing hook coverage. Important measurements include:

  • Runway beam size. Measure the runway beam size from the bottom to the top of the beam. This measurement is helpful in determining the approximate system height.
  • Runway rail size. The runway rail size impacts the wheel size of the crane. The runway rail height and width are crucial measurements to keep the rails in alignment and get the most longevity.
  • Crane span. The crane span is the measurement between runways, typically covering the width of the bay. Exact measurements are vital to procuring enough material to form the girders and provide accurate drawings.
  • Runway length and distance between runway supports. The runway length and runway support measurements go hand-in-hand. The supports must be able to hold the weight of the crane relative to the runway length.

The building clearance and any AC ducts, heaters, fixtures, pipes, and electrical lines should be considered to ensure there are no unintended obstructions or clearance issues. OSHA states the minimum clearance must be 3’ overhead and 2’ laterally at all times to comply with Crane Manufacturers of America Inc., Specification 61 under 1910.179(b)(6)(i) Overhead and Gantry Cranes.

Rely on ACECO to Maximize Hook Coverage

Hook coverage is vital to optimizing the efficiency of your crane. American Crane & Equipment Corporation (ACECO) can help you maximize your equipment while complying with standards and regulations. At American Crane, we are your Expert, Craftsman, & Partner, with the nation’s leading crane products and dedicated customer service.

To learn more about American Crane’s products and services, view our catalog, or contact us today.

Top 3 Signs Your Crane or Hoist Needs Repairs

Click to ExpandTop 3 Signs Your Crane or Hoist Needs Repairs

Cranes and hoists are essential tools in many industrial applications. They make it easy to move bulky or heavy materials around the worksite, which increases efficiency and improves safety.

Given their vital role, it is important to maintain them properly. Otherwise, they may fail unexpectedly, which can lead to significant downtime and/or serious injury. That’s why all cranes and hoists should be inspected at least every 12 months for signs of failure. However, you should keep an eye out for signs of failure between annual inspections.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an organization that focuses on ensuring safe and healthful working conditions in various job fields. Regarding work that utilizes cranes and hoists, they provide guidelines on what to look out for in the equipment that may indicate it needs repairs.

Below, we highlight the top three signs your crane or hoist may need repairs.

1. It has damaged or worn parts.

Cracking, stretching, warping, and other signs of excessive wear can mean the performance and/or safety of your crane or hoist is compromised. These conditions can appear on various components of cranes and hoists, including bearings, chains, pins, rollers, shafts, sheaves and drums, and welds. It is vital to regularly check all of these components to ensure they are not damaged or worn.

Damaged or Worn Parts

In wet or humid environments, there is also a risk that metal components will corrode. As this can significantly diminish the integrity of the crane or

hoist assembly, it is also important to look out for corroded parts.

Whether a part is damaged or worn, it is important to repair or replace it quickly before it can lead to equipment failure.

2. It has broken or loose parts.


Over time, crane and hoist parts can loosen or break. If left unchecked, the loose or broken parts may affect equipment performance and, eventually, cause catastrophic failure. For example, in cranes and hoists that use chains, the chain component eventually gets worn out. If it breaks during operation, heavy or bulky materials may fall on employees or equipment.

During regular equipment inspections, it is important to check both small and large parts. The former can be easy to overlook. Additionally, look for both broken and loose parts. While the broken parts may be obvious, the loose parts may go unnoticed until they fall out completely.

3. It has leaking parts.

Leaking Crane or HoistIn cranes and hoists, leaks can appear in engines, hoses, and cylinders. If and when they occur, they should be addressed immediately as they can lead to serious operational and safety concerns.

  • In engines, leaks can cause issues with regular and emergency shutdown operations.
  • In hoses, leaks can signify failure or imminent failure. They can be caused by blistering and deformation on the outer covering.
  • In hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders, leaks can cause drifting. They can be caused by dents, nicks, scores, and other damage to the rods, barrels, eyes, or joints.

Partner With ACECO for Your Crane and Hoist Repair Needs

Want to learn more about how to tell whether your crane or hoist needs repairs? Turn to the experts at ACECO!

At American Crane & Equipment Corporation, we manufacture standard and custom cranes, hoists, and other material handling equipment for various industries and applications. Our expert team has what it takes to meet virtually any load lifting and positioning needs.

In addition to our equipment offerings, we also provide a range of field services to help customers keep their tools running effectively and efficiently. These include:

  • Repair
  • Rebuilding
  • Modification
  • Upgrading
  • Inspection
  • Load testing
  • Preventative maintenance
  • Installation
  • Retrofitting

For more information about our material handling products and services, contact us today. To discuss your equipment requirements with one of our representatives, request a quote.

Questions to Ask Your Crane Builder

Choosing a custom crane builder is a big decision. With so many important factors at play, it’s something that requires careful consideration. Before you commit to a manufacturer, there are several questions you should ask to get a better overview of what they do and the level of quality they offer in terms of service and the finished product.

What is your experience with similar projects?

Experience is important, but experience in your industry, as well as in custom cranes built with your application in mind is even better. Look for a history of satisfied clients in your industry.

Every industry has different regulations, requirements, and considerations, so the crane builder should understand what it’s like to be on your jobsite—and how to design a crane that does what you require.

How long will the crane last?

How Long Will the Crane Last?It’s essential to get the best materials and craftsmanship for your money, and you can’t compromise functionality to save costs. Doing so could lead to bigger headaches (and bigger expenses) down the road. Treating your custom crane as a long-term investment makes it easier to find an option that’s best suited for your application.

Certain materials offer more moisture, UV light, and chemical resistance than others. Think about how your crane is used and how material choices could impact the crane’s lifespan. Your crane builder should be able to pull from their experience to offer insight into how those various materials will perform under your jobsite’s conditions, and how long your crane can be expected to last under its expected workload.

What value added services do you offer?

Value Added ServicesFrom equipment upgrades and site support to OSHA compliance inspections, load testing, quality assurance, and more, the value added services your crane builder offers should indicate their primary focus in taking care of their customers. A manufacturer that goes above and beyond when it comes to their products and customer service ensures you’ll be completely satisfied with your finished product. Look for versatile manufacturers that support you throughout your crane construction process, from that first inquiry to long after your crane is at work on your jobsite.

What post-purchase costs will there be?

You should expect transparent pricing, so you have a clear understanding about the investment your crane will require. While the overall purchase and installation will be the major cost, regular maintenance is also critical to ensure your crane functions optimally for as long as it possibly can. Those maintenance costs are minimal compared to the cost of replacing a crane, but you’ll want to set aside a budget for maintenance and repair moving forward.

Different types of cranes require different maintenance routines, so you should consider these costs before you place an order. A reputable manufacturer will help you compare different models, their maintenance requirements, and any common issues that may arise, so you can budget accordingly and make a maintenance schedule to keep your crane running smoothly.

Find the Best Custom Crane Builder for Your Needs

Building a custom crane is an exciting endeavor, as you get to create a piece of equipment designed specifically for what you require. Choosing the right crane manufacturer will make the process simple and enjoyable.

At American Crane, we specialize in high-quality custom cranes for critical lifting, biofuel handling, bridge maintenance, warehousing, hazardous environments, reactor rooms, paper mills, wastewater treatment, and so many other applications. Contact us and ask us all the questions listed above—we’re happy to answer them for you—or request a quote for your project.

6 Industries That Use Overhead Cranes

Overhead cranes are adaptable tools that are vital to the safety and success of numerous industries. They can be customized for any space, including challenging environments where space is limited, and greatly increase manufacturing abilities. As a leading manufacturer, American Crane has been designing innovative solutions to fit the specific requirements of many industries. Here, we discuss the six of the many industries we serve for overhead crane applications.

1. Automotive and Transportation

Automotive and TransportationA popular use of overhead cranes within the automotive industry is on assembly lines. They move automotive materials along different stations until the end product is completely built, making assembly lines much more efficient. In the transportation industry, overhead cranes assist with unloading ships. They greatly increase the speed at which large items can be moved and transported.

2. Aviation

AviationThe aviation industry is similar to transportation and shipbuilding in that heavy components are moved along an assembly line and precisely placed within an ongoing construction project. Cranes within the aviation industry are mainly used inside airplane hangars. Within this application, an overhead crane is the best option to move large and heavy machinery accurately and safely. Additionally, the reliability of overhead cranes makes them an excellent choice when dealing with expensive items because an unreliable crane presents costly delays.

3. Concrete Manufacturing

Virtually everything in the concrete industry is large and heavy. Due to this fact, overhead cranes make everything easier. They are efficient at handling premix and precast and are much safer than using other types of equipment to move these items. Within the concrete manufacturing industry, bridge cranes are typically used inside the factory and gantry cranes in the yard.

4. Metal Manufacturing

Overhead cranes are essential to metal manufacturing, and are used for a variety of tasks. For example, they can be used to handle raw materials and melting buckets, or load finished sheets of metal. In this application, it is not only heavy or oversized materials that require a crane’s strength; cranes are also necessary to handle molten metal so workers can keep a safe distance. Specialized attachments can be added to move different types of metal products, such as spools of wire.

5. Power Plants

Power PlantsPower plants need to remain constantly functional, as any downtime can cause a blackout. For this reason, power plants must be capable of fixing any problem that might arise quickly. Overhead cranes are perfect for this application because they remain in place and are ready to be used the moment a problem arises. They also save valuable workspace and deliver a reliable performance that saves time and money on repairs.

6. Shipbuilding

Ships are complicated to build because of their size and shape. Moving large, heavy objects around inside an oddly shaped area can be nearly impossible without the right specialized equipment. An overhead crane makes it possible to freely move tools around a slanted hull. Most shipbuilding companies use wide overhead gantry cranes, which are excellent in heavy fabrication applications.

Learn More About Our Overhead Cranes

A vast number of industries rely on cranes to complete work safely and efficiently. Even within individual industries, there are numerous applications for industrial overhead cranes. If you work with large, heavy, or dangerous items or in a location where broken machinery needs to be fixed immediately, a non-movable crane is an excellent solution.

At American Crane, we believe that grit matters, and we persevere with integrity to deliver quality products. To learn more about our solutions for your specific application, request a quote or contact us today. You can also check out our product catalog and familiarize yourself with the products and specialized equipment we offer.

How to Prevent Hoist Breakdowns

Proper hoist maintenance facilitates better workflow efficiency and operator safety. While every operation should have a detailed emergency plan to follow in the event of an incident, taking appropriate precautions and preventive measures is the best way to avoid unexpected downtime caused by unexpected equipment malfunctions. This blog will discuss best practices for preventing hoist breakdowns.

Inspections and Maintenance

Inspections and MaintenanceBeyond actual equipment operation, hoist operators should receive training in proper inspection and maintenance techniques for all equipment they operate. The operator acts as the first line of defense against unexpected equipment breakdowns. Hoist operators should physically inspect the equipment at the beginning of each day.

A routine visual inspection should include:

  • Checking the hoist wire rope for any damage
  • Inspecting the hoist hook and latch for wear and tear
  • Examining the chain for signs of wear or degeneration
  • Looking for signs of electrical failure

Daily inspections and regular maintenance will help to identify potential issues before they turn into more extensive problems. Daily checks provide an added layer of hoist troubleshooting beyond monthly or annual inspection periods.

Beyond these daily checks, you should also schedule routine inspections from a trained professional. A more comprehensive monthly walkthrough and thorough annual inspections will keep your lifting equipment operational and avoid costly OSHA violations.

Maintain a Spare Parts Inventory

Maintain a Spare PartsWhile preventative maintenance is essential, some problems are difficult to catch before they fail. Make sure to keep high-wear parts and components in inventory to minimize downtime when replacements need to happen. Your hoist distributor should have a list of recommended spare parts for you to keep on hand, but a general list of commonly replaced parts may include:

  • Motor and control fuses
  • Trolley contactors
  • Transformers
  • Hoist safety latches
  • Push-button stations

Keeping these and other critical parts on hand allows you to fix your equipment right away. Failing to hold common parts in inventory at your facility can extend your hoist downtime by hours or days as you wait for shipments from your supplier.

As the old adage goes, you would rather have the parts and not need them than need the parts and not have them. Ultimately, maintaining your own parts inventory will grant you peace of mind knowing that potential equipment downtime will be minimal. You can check out our available inventory of replacement parts in our catalog.

Use Equipment as Directed

How to Prevent Hoist Breakdowns

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Many hoist breakdowns result from pushing the equipment beyond its capabilities. To get the job done faster, operators sometimes give in to the temptation to ignore weight limits and place undue strain on the equipment. Pushing your lifting equipment beyond its limits may result in equipment breakdowns—or worse, catastrophic accidents.

Emphasis should be placed on operators and supervisors to follow safety requirements. Operators must have all relevant training and certifications regarding their specific hoist equipment, so they understand its limitations. Additionally, operators must remain aware of their surroundings and follow proper protocols to ensure their own safety and the safety of the surrounding personnel.

About American Crane

American Crane is a leading manufacturer and distributor of heavy-lift material handling solutions. We offer hoist solutions for a wide array of industries and applications, and we ship replacement parts quickly to get your cranes and hoists up and running after a breakdown. We can also provide regular OSHA-compliant inspections for your lifting equipment.

To see how our team can help improve the safety and longevity of your hoists and cranes, please contact us or request a quote today.