The Importance of Load Testing for Cranes

11 December 2017

A heavy crane may look cumbersome, but it’s designed to operate as a finely balanced machine. Even when the boom of that heavy lifter hoists its load, the balancing act is maintained thanks to a specially fitted counterweight. So, on following this train of thought, a crane can’t just be certified as load capable. No, before it’s put into service, it has to pass a series of exhaustively governed load tests.

What is Crane Load Testing?

For the sake of that safety factor, cranes are subjected to a series of weight assessment protocols. If that equipment has been repaired, the evaluation routines are conducted. It’s the same for a key replacement part, for that newly overhauled lifting gear can’t be considered a safe site asset until it has satisfied these testing procedures. Ideally, this checkup includes a rated load test, as set in the equipment operations manual. To really press that test routine hard, expect an unconditionally effected test, one that adds enough weight to push the equipment’s chassis twenty-five percent beyond the crane’s rated load limits. Taxed to those limits and beyond under these controlled conditions, the crane can obviously support a nominated load if it has been stress tested in this manner.

Why The Tests are Important

Like any other machine, it’s difficult to gauge that machinery when it’s unladen. It’s only when a crane is functioning at or near the edge of its load envelope that hidden problems come to light. A damaged weld seam, for example, won’t fracture if the equipment is operating without a burden. Likewise, a partially damaged frame segment, one that’s located at some concealed point within a lattice boom, simply won’t function any differently when there’s no load present. No, that damaged section only buckles when a load testing strategy is enacted. In the real world, this preventative maintenance tool discovers damage during a managed test phase, not when the crane is in service. In that controlled environment, every eye is focused on the first signs of a system failure. Out on the work site, though, everyone’s attention is on the job, not on a stress-related equipment hazard.

Crane owners and maintainers conduct load testing routines under controlled conditions. Imagine those weights, the governed activity taking place in a safety-managed zone. Equipment defects are detected here as the framework of a crane is tested to its limits. Better by far, then, that these stress-loaded defects are discovered here, not while the crane boom is maneuvering around a group of workers.

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