Being versatile while improving safety and productivity are just some of the demands for below the hook equipment. Laura Hatton reports
In the current market for below the hook equipment, there is a demand for versatile products that can work in a range of environments. In the bulk transport sector, for example, there is an increasing demand for versatile, low headroom lifting beams and frames. This is especially true for dockside and vessel cranes.
UK-based lifting equipment specialist Modulift has invested to develop advanced and custom designs for a wide range of lifting requirements. “The handling of a heavy component can often be something which is overlooked in the design phase, and is actually a very important aspect, particularly when concerning lifting equipment,” Anthony Culshaw, Modulift senior design engineer, explains. “There are two things that we do as standard with all of our larger products to ensure that they can be handled safely. First, the more efficient a design the lighter it can be and therefore easier to handle. Second is the placement of handling aids (lifting lugs). We analyse our designs and test them to ensure that our components will lift balanced. This is very important as it avoids the unintentional swinging of a load as it leaves the ground.”
To help meet these demands, Modulift has designed the Trunnion End Unit, a product designed to improve the safety and reduce the set up time required in heavy lift operations. “This shackle-less solution is in essence a standard modular spreader. It uses the same struts and bolting configurations so is fully compatible with current and legacy equipment,” Culshaw says. “The difference is apparent when looking at the end unit, the shape has been modified and a drop link removed to make way for the trunnion pin and cross pins. This allows for direct connection of slings to the spreader beam.
“In heavy lift applications slings and shackles are incredibly large and heavy, meaning assembly of a lifting rig can require multiple forklifts and in some cases can take days to complete safely. The elimination of removable parts means that the timescale can be reduced hugely, as the slings can now just be looped over the corresponding trunnion,” Culshaw adds.
Modulift products conform to the following standards: BS EN 13155 for Europe, ASME B30.20 and ASME BTH-1 for the USA and AS 4991 for Australia. The company is also governed by the EU Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC) and LOLER, PUWER and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in the UK.
From manufacturer Sparta Engineering is a range of bolt together spreader bars. The manufacturer has occasionally produced units but now offers more than 50 spreader bars in its library, including the bolt together units. The spreader bars are designed to comply with ASME B30.20 and BTH-1.
Jason Thompson, Sparta Engineering, says, “The bolt together units are made from two formed or structural channel so that no weld inspection is required. Not having to have a weld inspector look at each spreader bar recoups the cost of the bar over the life of the unit and is a lot less hassle for our customers. On our bigger telescopic spreader bars (60 tonnes and over) we use roller bearings to help them slide in and out better. This has been a huge hit with our customers.
“We have also done a number of unique custom lifting devices that are purpose built, such as a standoff bracket designed to manipulate skids made from I-beams. We have also made special below the hook lifting devices to lift 400 barrel oil tanks.”
From lifting product manufacturer Caldwell Group, based in Illinois, USA, is a range of composite lifting and spreader beams. The Dura-Lite composite lifting and spreader beams are made from durable composite materials that are bonded together to form ultra-strong lifters, the manufacturer says. They are lightweight lifters that are designed to be easy to handle and transport. They are non-conductive, corrosion resistant and comply with ASME B30.20, design category B, service class 4, the manufacturer said. The products are proof tested.
The Dura-Lite Composite Lifting Beam Model 420 offers capacities ranging from 0.25 to 3 US tons (0.22 to 2.7 tonnes) in spreads from 0.6 to 6 metres (depending on capacity). The Dura-Lite composite spreader beam Model 430 also offers capacities from 0.25 to 3 US tons (0.22 to 2.7 tonnes) in spreads from 0.6 to 6 metres (depending on capacity).
Devices to help improve safety and productivity are also being introduced to the industry. From Barcelona, Spain-based Elebia is a new remote control system called the eMax and a load cell for the company’s automatic load hooks. “The development of the eMax and load cell technology was to a large extent instigated by end users who were increasingly using multiple units to lift heavy or long loads or employing hooks in demanding applications,” the manufacturer explains. “This complexity of lift requires greater information about the load and advanced systems with which to operate and monitor that activity.”
Oscar Fillol Vidal, Elebia CEO and founder, adds, “Once we had a hook with state-of-the-art electronics, chargeable battery and radio communication, adding a load cell represented a natural forward step. That’s why we developed the eMax in turn.”
The eMax records information, including open hook, closed hook, overload alarm, unbalance alarm, temperature alarm and service warning. The data is recorded and exported to a spreadsheet via a USB port. The latest technology allows users to store information about the use of the hooks and any overload situations that may have occurred. The load cell provides greater control of the load and increases productivity as weighing takes place during lifting operation.
“These enhancements will be embraced by existing and prospective customers who use lifting equipment in logistics, mining, ports, steel, nuclear, construction, manufacturing, chemical and wind applications, to name just a few,” Vidal says. “A load cell on a crane can provide information about the total load but not the load on each sling. Our automatic hooks with load cells and eMax technology can provide that integrated in a compact unit, while at the same time being able to remotely release and engage.”
From USA-based manufacturer Intercomp is the updated CS1500 LED crane scale. The scale offers capacities ranging from 250 kg to 10,000 kg and is NTEP certified. It comes as standard with a 1.5 inch (37 mm) five digit LED display and Intercomp RFX wireless weighing technology for viewing and recording weights remotely. It has 500 hours of continuous use battery life and 9,000 hours in standby mode, the manufacturer says. It has an adjustable brightness setting and can be used in outdoor applications. The CS1500 is also available with a LCD display and can communicate with a number of load indicators, printers, apps, software, and other devices wirelessly, the manufacturer adds.
Also from the USA is the Tandemloc AQ06 range of pipe hooks. The new hooks are designed around the current AC25C end caps, which range in capacity from 7 to 1,544 tonnes and are designed for 3 to 32 inch (75 – 800 mm) NPS pipe. “The multitude of various diameter pipe and their lengths at any work site create the need for proper tools and methods to move them safely and securely from one mode to another or from one location to the next. When the end caps are assembled or disassembled, there is an immediate requirement to move the pipe. The new AQ06 pipe hook is specifically designed to make this task much easier,” the manufacturer explained. “When combined with a two-leg sling, the pipe hooks are placed in the opening at each end of the pipe. Once tension is placed on the lift system by raising the crane hook the pipe hooks will engage with a compressive force on the load.”
The pipe hooks can be used on any open-ended load. They are used in pairs, follow design and marking requirements of ASME B30.20, and are available in three standard capacities, including 2, 4 and 8 US ton. The Pipe Hooks are manufactured in the USA and tested to 125 % of maximum capacity.
Wireless load cells
Heavy lifting specialist Sarens USA used four wireless compression load cells from Straightpoint to weigh a large distillation column at a petrochemical plant on the Gulf Coast. The load cells have a capacity of 149 tonnes. Each end of the distillation column was weighed by lifting it using self-propelled modular transporter (SPMT) with the load cells positioned between the SPMT deck and the vessel support beams. The readings from each end were combined to determine the total weight, a spokesperson said.
Jay Holt, Sarens project manager, said, “The distance from support beam to support beam, along with the weights of each end were utilised to determine the location of the centre of gravity. This data was used to verify the loading to each of the two cranes that were used to upend the vessel from horizontal to vertical.”
John Molidor, Straightpoint general manager, added, “This is a common method of measuring loads of this kind and it is growing in popularity; we have participated in more such lifts already this year than last and I expect that trend to continue. The cable free wireless system is user friendly and virtually maintenance free.”
Data transmission is handled by the wireless system, providing high transmission of data via IEEE 802.15.4 (2.4 GHz) technology, which is capable of a transmission range of up to 243 metres.