Welcome to The Hoist Guy's Blog, where our resident Hoist Guy, Andrew T. Litecky, shares his knowledge and experience of many years in the overhead material handling industry.
Do you need an overhead crane on a budget? A crane kit can be a practical and cost-saving solution for customers willing to “DIY” and a variety of name brand manufacturers offer a pre-engineered plug-and-play solution. But what’s included in a kit and where do they work best?
Here are some frequently asked questions about overhead crane kits:
What’s in a crane kit? Any bridge crane is composed of a end trucks, electrification, controls, and a hoist. This is largely what’s included in most plug-and-play kits, although some manufacturers will provide the bridge beam. Crane controls can include either an attached pendant control or a remote-control unit, so this will vary as well. It’s important to understand what’s included in the kit and what you’ll need to provide to get your crane up and running.
What does Plug-and-Play mean? Most bridge cranes are "hard wired." They require three-phase electricity to be wired by an electrician. Unfortunately, a lot can go wrong here for the do-it-yourselfer. Every electrical connection must be terminated at the correct spot as outlined by a wiring diagram, or the equipment can be severely damaged during functional testing. However, a plug-and-play crane kit is pre-engineered so that electrical connections are made through a series of pre-wired plugs and receptacles. These mating devices are match marked for a safe and easy connection.
How do I assemble a crane kit? Crane kit manufacturers offer detailed instructions and manuals to help you assemble your crane kit. The typical steps include beam preparation, squaring the end trucks, mounting the trolley hoist, and final electrical plug/receptacle connection.
What type of hoist comes in a crane kit? Virtually any type of electric trolley hoist or manual trolley hoist can be included in a crane kit, either with chain or wire rope. The manufacturer will customize and pre-engineer the kit for your application.
Who should build their own crane with a kit? When should kit cranes not be used?
The ideal customer for a crane kit is a steel fabricator or contractor who has mechanical expertise and certified welding capability. This customer must understand what’s included in their purchase and be able to read a blueprint and wiring interconnection diagram. Also, they’re willing to take the time to properly assemble the pre-engineered kit to ensure their overhead crane runs smoothly and safely.
Meanwhile, customers with more complex needs should buy a hard-wired crane and professional installation. This includes larger spans, special environmental conditions, a hazardous location or other extraordinary requirements. Special lifting situations may require a customized system or configuration of equipment.
Shupper-Brickle equipment offers both crane kits and customized bridge crane solutions. Contact us for questions about cost-saving DIY overhead cranes.