Category Archive: Uncategorized

Why Below-the-Hook Matters: Your Guide to Below-The-Hook Lifting Devices

Below-the-hook lifts are crucial for the safe transport and movement of loads when using cranes and hoists. The goal of a below-the-hook lift is to attach a load to the crane or hoist and secure that load until it reaches its final destination. The lift serves as the connection between a hoist and its load, and must therefore be able to sustain heavy loads while maintaining a high level of stability.

A below-the-hook lift may consist of magnets, lifting beams, grapples, or vacuum lifters, and often includes secondary components such as slings, hooks, and rigging hardware. The materials and equipment used in below-the-hook lifts vary widely depending on the application. Due to their critical nature, below-the-hook lifts are highly regulated by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), which provides guidelines for designs, inspections, and testing to ensure a standard level of quality.

An Overview of Below-the Hook-Lifting

Cranes and hoists are necessary for a wide variety of circumstances, which often requires engineers to customize the design of below-the-hook lifts to meet the needs of a given project or application. Below-the-hook lift designs are frequently adapted to account for a load’s center of gravity, shape, and size, and customization of these designs helps to guarantee safe operation of crane equipment and efficient transport of the load or loads.

In order to ensure that the below-the-hook lift is designed for optimal use, both the manufacturer and the customer participate in the engineering process for each application. This ensures design engineers and project managers consider the precise needs for the project so that they can produce a lifting solution that meets every need.

Overview of Below the Hook Lifting

There are a wide variety of mechanical below-the-hook devices for use with cranes and hoists, including:

  • Lifting magnets
  • Spreader and lifting beams
  • Crane grapples
  • Custom Devices

Each design can be specifically modified with custom designed claws, hooks, tongs, and latches to ensure the most secure fit. Depending on the needs of the application, mechanical below-the-hook devices can be operated using electronic or hydraulic means.

Advantages of Below-the-Hook Lifting Devices

Below-the-hook lifting devices are the ideal option to provide the safest and most reliable load transport. Although traditional slings of wire rope, alloyed metal chains, or durable synthetic materials are easier to construct, they are not the safest way to move loads and often move or shift unexpectedly. Unpredictable load bearing puts both equipment and workers at risk, especially when transporting loads with an unusual shape, size, or weight.

Below-the-hook lifts are specifically designed to ensure optimal control of the load. Not only do they enhance the safety of the worksite, they save you time and money that would otherwise be spent finding a creative workaround with a sling or other existing equipment.

Since they are highly customizable, below-the-hook lifts are useful for even the most difficult loads. For example, if your project requires the ability to lift loads with varying centers of gravity, they can easily be managed with a custom designed below-the-hook lift with an adjustable bail. Whatever your project needs, a lifting device can be designed to move your loads more efficiently and safely.

Below-the-Hook Lifting Devices from American Crane

Below-the-hook lifting devices must be carefully designed in collaboration with experienced engineers and customers in order to ensure the safety and security of load transport in any project or application. At American Crane, we pride ourselves on providing the highest-quality custom cranes and hoist equipment in the industry. Our knowledgeable and experienced engineers are capable of designing systems to secure and move loads for a wide range of projects and applications. For more information on our below-the-hook lifts, contact us today.


Overhead Crane Safety: Inspection and Requirements

Inspection and RequirementsEmployees move in and out of manufacturing facilities and shipping/receiving areas many times during a normal work day. When doing so, they must coexist with a wide variety of large and dangerous equipment.

Overhead lifting systems work within a specific area to limit potential risks posed to employees and bystanders. Doing so allows lifting equipment to operate as efficiently as possible without affecting your facility’s safety levels.

Properly implemented overhead lifting systems allow product to be transported safely. Have you considered the costs related to OSHA citations, increased workers’ comp rates, potential lawsuits, medical expenses, and the temporary or permanent replacement of an injured employee? These issues cost employers billions of dollars annually. This makes investing in the safest lifting and moving systems more than just ideal—doing so is a practical, cost-saving proposition.

Inspection Requirements for Overhead Cranes and Parts

Overhead Crane Requirements

Routine inspections are required to guarantee continued safe operation of overhead cranes because of the size and weight of the objects they regularly lift and transport overhead. Whether a crane is new or altered, an initial inspection is necessary before it can be used.

Once overhead cranes are placed into service, they require two unique types of inspections:

  • Frequent inspections, which occur daily to monthly
  • Periodic inspections, which are completed 1–12 times per year

These types of inspection are intended to examine key components of the crane. This helps to determine the extent of malfunction, deterioration, or wear and tear on the crane’s components.

Items that Need Inspection and Their Frequency

The following items require daily inspection:

  • Functional operating mechanisms: These systems must be checked for maladjustment
  • Hydraulic and air system components: Valves, lines, tanks, drain pumps, and other components must be checked for deterioration or deficiency
  • Crane hooks: These must be checked for cracks or deformation

There are also several features that require monthly inspections or other actions:

  • Rope and end connections: These must be run to check for broken strands or wear every month
  • Hoist chains and end connections: These must be checked for distortion, twit, excessive wear, or anything else that may interfere with their proper function or cause them to stretch beyond their manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Written records: All records must be carefully updated with each inspection that is performed

Other inspections are performed on an as needed basis. Test functional operating mechanisms for excessive wear regularly. This may be daily or monthly depending on the amount of use your crane system gets. Rope reeving inspections should be completed as needed or recommended per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Maintenance and Design Requirements

Design Requirements

OSHA specifies a number of design requirements pertaining to the construction of the crane’s cab and its controls. OSHA also outlines many regulations that govern the cab’s lighting, footwalks, ladders, and stairways. OSHA recommendations additionally cover the following components:

  • Bridge and trolley bumpers
  • Hoist, holding, trolley, and bridge brakes
  • Electrical components
  • Hoisting equipment
  • Warning devices

Maintenance Requirements

You must implement a preventative maintenance program according to the recommendations of the crane manufacturer. If you detect any unsafe conditions or deteriorated components during your required inspections, you must complete maintenance before you can use the crane again.

Only designated personnel are allowed to perform the necessary repairs and maintenance. The requirements of 29 CFR 1910.147, the control of hazardous energy or tagout/lockout, should be used to de-energize the crane.

Learn More About American Crane’s Lifting Solutions

Maintaining effective overhead crane safety practices is crucial for preserving equipment and employee safety. American Crane builds a wide range of lifting devices designed to comply with OSHA regulations and maximize safety on your production floor.

To learn more about how to ensure your critical lifts comply with the strictest safety standards, download our free eBook, “No Room for Error: A Guide to Critical Lift.” If you would like to learn more about American Crane’s services and capabilities, don’t hesitate to contact us today. 

Join Our November Food Drive

Thanksgiving Campaign Will Benefit Greater Berks Food Bank

The community we call home is important to us at American Crane, and we love getting the chance to give back. This November, we’re launching a campaign with the Greater Berks Food Bank to help feed hungry families for the holidays.

With every parts order placed during the month of November, the American Crane team will donate a can of food to the charity. Donations support their full network of programs, including providing healthy meals, emergency food supplies, a food pantry, as well as specific initiatives for youth and seniors in need.

The Greater Berks Food Bank has supported our area since 1983, and is dedicated to feeding over 60,000 people each year. Without food donations this organization would not be able to accomplish their mission.

With 40,000 standard cranes and hoists, rigging items, trolleys, lifting devices, spare parts and specialized products in our online store, there are plenty of ways to pitch in and help. Even specialized hoist orders contribute to the effort, including:

American Crane’s online parts store offers a vast inventory to support heavy lifting needs in a variety of industries. Standard and customized hoists, cranes and material handling solutions are just the beginning of their 80,000 piece catalogue.

For special projects and needs beyond the standard catalogues, our Service and Parts Department provides load testing, retrofit, product support, outage support, and upgrades, OSHA and other inspections, spare parts and custom fabrications.

Check out our online store now, or submit a request for more information on your custom order. If you’d like to get involved directly with our friends at the Greater Berks Food Bank, learn more about what they do at Cheers to the holiday season!

Visit Our Online Store

American Crane’s Problem-Solving Culture

How One Team Handles Materials, Problems, and More

Solving complex problems with real customer impact is what we do at American Crane & Equipment Corporation.

Problem SolvingFrom concept to physical existence, our team builds solutions for companies of all kinds. Our environment is dedicated to problem-solving from the inside out — by definition, our company fosters the appreciation of all members’ creative diversity through trust, respect, and openness.

This dedication is a huge part of American Crane’s goal as a company. We seek to increase our competitive advantage through improving overall company efficiency by managing and leveraging this creative diversity. It improves communication and teamwork and has led to reduced friction costs and sustainable organizational success.

This problem-solving culture is reflected in every machine we make — overhead lifting systems from American Crane are designed to solve problems in workplaces of all kinds.


Hooks, hoists, magnets, and other devices affixed to overhead cranes can lift, move, and place loads for maximum facility coverage. Their range can span a narrow corridor for a dedicated task, or be designed to span an entire facility, moving any material for any process.


Simply versatile, this type of machine is similar to a crane, designed to lift and move freely suspended loads. They’re useful in manufacturing facilities as well as in construction and warehousing environments, using wire, rope, or chain to move materials.


This unique overhead lifting solution runs on tracks in either a single circuit or a route network. Installed directly into the roof of a facility, one or more carriers traverse the tracks to transport materials. They’re ideal for dangerous or hard-to-reach applications, eliminating the opportunity for human error with the fixed track system.

Each of these systems can be adapted and engineered to solve a company’s specific problems. Additionally, they do so while taking up minimal space, being installed along the edges or — in the case of monorails — on the roof of a facility. As a strong, long-lasting high-load solution, these machines offer durability and versatility in moving a wide variety of materials and containers, making workflow easy and effective.

Beyond all of these benefits, these overhead lifting systems reduce injuries and physical stress on employees. Workplace safety is the number one priority at American Crane. We are devoted to maintaining a safe, healthy work environment, because we value our employees as individuals and as part of our overall success.

We’re proud to be able to share tools to help solve problems and enhance wellbeing and safety for our fellow manufacturers. Learn more about our problem-solving solutions by downloading our free eBook, The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Overhead Equipment.

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Overhead Equipment

What Are You Celebrating This October?

October is a month full of awareness campaigns and holidays – some more widely recognized than others. We’ve become accustomed to seeing football players don bright pink shoes and gloves in support of breast cancer awareness; we look forward to seeing what crazy costumes people can come up with for Halloween; and for the perennially stressed, there’s even Moment of Frustration Day to let out all of that pent up energy (not that this is ever an issue in our office).

But here at American Crane, we feel it’s important to celebrate and promote some additional holidays that particularly matter to those of us in the industrial space. In October, for example, we celebrated Manufacturing Day on Friday, October 3rd, and we’re also pleased to celebrate Nuclear Science Week this month, which runs from October 20th to the 24th. This is a national event aiming to educate people about the field of nuclear science. Each year, one U.S. city is chosen to host the main Nuclear Science Week event, and this year it’s Seattle’s turn. Across the country, numerous events will be taking place before, during and after the actual week-long celebration. For a full schedule of events, check out the Nuclear Science Week Calendar of Events.

As October winds down, what other events are you celebrating this month? Let us know on Twitter!