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. In this post, we’ll review the best policies for hoist breakdown prevention and planning.
Is your production reliant on an overhead hoist? What would happen if that equipment suddenly needed repair? For too many operations, the break down of a critical hoist means production stops.
Like any mechanical device, overhead material handling equipment needs regular maintenance, and even then, may suffer an occasional break down. Here are some strategies to prepare in advance for the situation.
1. Preventative Maintenance. In addition to having your hoists and cranes inspected by a qualified person once per year, contract for a monthly walk-through. Catch little problems early before they become big problems and fix them immediately. Do not be the end user whose operators run the hoist until it breaks. This lack of preparation will cause production delays, require overnight shipment of parts and costly emergency service work.
2. Keep Spare Parts On Hand. For every hoist, go back to the distributor and request a recommended spare parts list from the manufacturer. Keep “wear parts” on the shelf: Motor and control fuses, transformers, hoist contactors, trolley contactors, push button stations, and hoist safety latches. If you have a production wire rope hoist, keep a spare wire rope assembly on hand, as well as motor drake discs and motor brake coils.
3. Buy a Hoist That’s Easy to Maintain. For dependability and ease of maintenance, we recommend certain manufacturers. For wire rope hoists: Electrolift, ACCO, and the Yale Cable King. For electric chain hoists: Coffing and Harrington brands. For manual chain hoists: the CM Cyclone (domestic) and All Material Handling (imported).
4. Have an Emergency Plan. Even properly maintained equipment can experience down time. Designate personnel (not just one person) responsible for the situation and authorize them to act. Look for the cause of the problem and determine the plan of action. Ask which parts have failed and if they’re on hand. Keep your local hoist company on speed dial.
5. Purchase a Duplicate Back-Up Hoist. We understand this was not in the original budget. But what would be lost if production stopped because of this equipment? Keeping a duplicate hoist on stand-by ensures you can be up and running with minimized losses. A few years ago, we had a customer in South Carolina who used an Electrolift hoist for their main production area. It was explained to us that if that hoist went down, they would lose $10,000 per hour in finished product. We sold them a duplicate new Electrolift hoist and they mounted it on the opposite end of the bridge beam. If the original hoist were to go down, the new one could be moved to the end of the crane beam and put into service immediately with no loss of production.
Shupper-Brickle Equipment offers a range of services for overhead material handling equipment. Contact us for preventative maintenance and OSHA Inspections. Read more Hoist Guy's blog posts to learn why you need certified technicians to fix your hoist.