The missing link

By Laura Hatton16 January 2014

Modulift four point spreader lift; click for a slideshow of further below the hook equipment.

Modulift four point spreader lift; click for a slideshow of further below the hook equipment.

Safety is driving the development and design of below the hook equipment. In Canada, for example, health and safety organisations are considering enforcing legislation for automated sling releases. As a result Canadian manufacturer of safety products Crane Equipment has designed a remote controlled sling release for cranes. The product, named Babe, is designed to reduce the risk of injury as there is no need for workers into climb in a dangerous drop off zone, the manufacturer says.

“The Babe has a solid plate, is light weight and is small and cylindrical in shape. It meets ASME b30.20 standards. Transmission reaches a distance of 304 metres and will go through buildings and metal. It is twice as powerful and three times more immune to interference than the next best mid-range wireless equipment,” a spokesperson from Crane Equipment explains.

The Babe can hold 4.5 tonne loads. Added safety features include a mechanism that prevents accidental trigger and an alarm signal to warn workers of the imminent load drop. The sling release can be used for lifting trusses and steel structures in residential and commercial construction projects.

“We also recently had interest from wind power and mining companies,” a spokesperson adds. For loads of approximately 2.2 tonnes there is the Baby Babe and for loads of 20 tonnes a Big Babe is being worked on.

Another product designed with safety in mind is from manufacturer of radio-controlled hooks Ludwig Hook. The Quick Release Hook is a remote controlled hook that can be activated from 50 metres away via a remote control. In addition, the remote control can open each hook individually or as a complete configuration up to four hooks, a company spokesperson said. The hook has an individual safe working load of two tonnes. It is also fitted with a safety mechanism which prevents the hook from opening under load.

“The idea behind the concept is to eliminate the time-consuming and accident-prone activity of releasing loads attached by all kinds of lifting gear and lifted by all kinds of cranes,” Edwin van Zitteren, LudwigHook BeNeLux adds.

Simple and easy
In the last five years alone Modulift has seen a change in customer demands, and from requiring high quality products with full certification, customers are now asking for products that are simple to use, versatile and easy transport. A spokesperson from Modulift explains, “We have seen a definite shift in thinking over the last five years and we are seeing customers move away from a 'one beam for one lift' culture to modular products that will service multiple lifts.”

As a result of this shift in demand, Modulift has introduced the CMOD Modular Spreader Frame, in addition to its existing modular range. “The frame is designed on Modulift’s modular spreader beam components with new CMOD Corner Units to achieve a four point lift,” the manufacturer explains. “The four CMOD Corner Units bolt to struts to make a square or rectangular frame as desired. Using a modular system means that the frames can be reused at different spans without the need for a new spreader frame every time.”

“The system works due to a corner plate, which connects a shackle from the bow of the plate to the bow of the shackle,” a company spokesperson adds, “This allows the shackle to rotate to any angle and eliminates shackle twisting.” The system works in areas where there is limited headroom and, in addition, the corner plate removes the need for a rotating lug. The range goes up to 16 m and has a 100 tonne capacity.

Stable and secure
In line with customer demand for products that are easy to use and transport, manufacturer of handling and rigging accessories, The Crosby Group, has introduced the new Crosby Easy-Loc Bolt Securement System.

“The system uses a hinged split collar assembly instead of a threaded bolt, nut and cotter pin. When compared to the nuts used with the traditional system, the hinged collar provides up to 70 % weight reduction,” a company spokesperson explains. The Crosby Easy-Loc will be standard on 125 tonne through 300 tonne Crosby G-2160 wide body shackles and G-2140 alloy shackles.

Also from Crosby is the G-2170 grommet shackle series. “The series is intended for those lifting applications that require high capacity with limited or tight headroom, such as chemical plants, refineries, interstate highway construction and offshore derrick barge cranes,” a spokesperson explains. “The grommet shackle provides a bearing surface that is at least five times that of a round shackle and it increases the usable sling strength minimum by 60 %. It is designed for use with single or double large diameter grommets.”

All sizes of grommet shackle have RFID (radio frequency identification) tags and the bow and pin are quenched and tempered for maximum strength. In addition, they are individually proof tested and magnetic particle inspected, the manufacturer adds.

Manufacturer Tandemloc has also introduced a new product line, Rapid Ready. It is to design custom products, from initial quotes to designs, production, proof testing and shipping. “We have structured our manufacturing plant to test equipment. We have a dedicated testing department, manned full time, and have built a large, capable, patented test stand to handle the large volumes we generate. For the past six years (2007 thru 2012) we have conducted and recorded an average of 3,521 tests annually. We have tested loads as low as 100 pounds and as high as 1.2 million pounds. We test chains, purchased from suppliers, which are intended to be part of our below-the-hook product to twice their ratings to assure that they meet their standards and we demand proof-test certifications on wire rope slings. Our quality assurance manager and our assistant production manager have both ‘come up through the ranks’ with time in the proof testing arena.”

“The first of this Tandemloc line are custom lift beams, which are available in any spread length from one to twenty feet,” a company spokesperson explains. “The custom lift beams come with up to two additional interior spreads and include two removable swivel hooks.” Capacities are available up to 11.7 tonnes.

Next in development from Tandemloc are Rapid Ready Spreader Bars. More details will follow when they become available.

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