Lifting Equipment and Material Handling: The Importance of Crane Capacity and Accuracy

22 August 2016

It would make work much easier for a crane operator if its handling characteristics remained consistent, no matter the load or the span of the lift. Unfortunately, the laws of physics don’t see things that way. Capacity ratings change. They rise and fall in proportion to the span of the lift. Accuracy considerations also vary as the lifting equipment alters its configuration, which represents something of a conundrum when consistency is the order of the day, every day.

The Dangers of Capacity Misinterpretation

If a diligent operator knows the lifting capacity of his crane, then potentially catastrophic overloads are avoidable. Fortunately, lifting capacity is covered exhaustively when the vehicle is hired or purchased, so overloads are rare. Hypothetically, such an incident can topple the crane and cause loss of life as well as great damage to the local area. At the very least, the equipment could be permanently damaged, in which case the rigging is now unreliable and there’s a real risk of material slippage.

Dynamic Loading Specifications

As mentioned up top, the loading aptitude of one of these heavy lifters isn’t fixed. It changes as the boom extends and its angular span alters. Counterweights are used to offset reduced lifting capacity, but this asset won’t help when a particular angle and boom distance is assumed and a heavy weight is being queried as a safety risk. Consult the load chart for that particular model to see how much weight it can shift. The chart supplies a maximum lift capacity that matches the different angles and lengths assumed by the boom.

Accuracy-Assured Performance

High-end mobile cranes defeat manipulation errors by incorporating an additional control cabin into the mix. Even the single cabin variant is performance-assured when an assistant handler works in tandem with the operator to help the load make it to an elevated floor or a partially constructed platform. Electronic aids are also part of this scenario, with limit switches, proximity alarms, level indicators, and boom angle meters aiding in the accurate placement of even the most unwieldy cargo.

When operators work from a mindset that aligns with the importance of crane capacity and accuracy, they have a grasp of the most important elements of this craft. Safety comes first, always, followed by a guardianship ethic that protects the vehicle and all nearby construction areas. The training of the driver is a primary asset here, but so is the condition of the crane, its inbuilt lift capacity, and knowledge of the proposed load.

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