In rigging, hoists lift or move heavy objects and support hanging loads like cargo, construction tools, and vehicle engines. Often comprising a chain or rope wrapped around a drum or lift wheel, these critical lifting devices are used in:
Most types of hoists have been around for a long time. The Ancient Egyptians reportedly leveraged primitive hoisting technology to raise and lower drawbridges at the fortress of Quban.
Centuries later, English engineer Sir William Armstrong invented the hydraulic crane to load or unload cargo onto boats.
Hoists are a staple in lifting projects. But not all of them are built the same. Hence, you must know how to distinguish different types of hoists if you want to make smart purchases for your business.
Hoisting equipment types are generally categorized based on their lifting type, operation type, and suspension type. With these parameters in mind, let’s dive into the most common types of hoists used in lifting projects.
Manual hoists, also known as chain falls, are lever-actuated or hand-operated lifting devices. These types of hoists use a hand chain to control the lifting or lowering and a load chain for support. The operator either cranks a lever attachment or pulls on either end of the hand chain to lift or lower the goods.
There are plenty of perks to using manual hoists for lifting operations. For starters, they cost less than powered hoists and can suit a wide range of lifting tasks. Furthermore, manual hoists are ideal for situations where there’s no electricity.
These hoisting equipment types are of three kinds: lever, chain, and rope.
Lever hoists can lift items in most positions, including horizontally. They’re fitted with a heavy-duty safety cap to hold loads and a top-swivel connection to allow easy lifting from multiple angles. Common applications of these hoists include rigging, pulling pipes, stretching wires, and straightening poles.
Chain hoists use heavy-duty chains to lift and position heavy loads in ship wharves, paper mills, steel mills, production plants, and vehicle or aircraft workshops.
Electric hoists are powered by electricity and utilize chains or wire ropes to lift or lower objects. Rather than manually cranking a lever or pulling a chain, the operator just pushes a button to raise or de-load their cargo.
The applications of these hoists vary based on the type you choose: whether it’s electric chain hoists, electric wire rope hoists, or electric belt hoists. But they are generally used to shift engines, transformers dies, injection mold tools, turbines, and steel coils across various industries.
Electric chain hoists use chains as the lifting medium. The chain is pulled by a motor that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy to lift the load. These types of hoists are low-maintenance and easier to install than their wire rope counterparts. Plus, they’re cost-effective.
On the other hand, electric wire rope hoists use wire rope instead of chains. Due to their construction, they can lift heavier loads at higher lift heights and support them for longer. However, the wire ropes may not hold out as well as load chains under certain conditions. They are also more expensive.
Finally, we have electric belt hoists. Perfect for the food sector, electronic, pharmaceutical, and other cleanroom environments, these hoists cover a wide load range and are suited to many lifting applications.
Unlike traditional lifts, hydraulic hoists rely on an oil-based piston mechanism in place of a motor system. The piston allows the hoist to lift much heavier loads with a smaller motor.
Most marinas and shipyards use hydraulic hoists to move boats in and out of the water. They can also load and unload shipping containers from vessels to nearby trucks and storage facilities.
These types of hoists are moved linearly by fluid pressure. It functions by applying force to one point of an incompressible liquid, which shifts the force to a second point. The process works with two pistons connected by an oil-filled pipe.
Gear hoists typically consist of a set of gears: a driving gear and one or more driven gears, which work together to lift the load. Common applications of these hoists include construction, manufacturing, and material handling, due to their mechanical advantage and capacity to lift heavy loads with precision.
Vane hoists come equipped with a cylindrical housing with vanes or blades mounted on an internal rotor. The rotor rotates to create a vacuum, which lifts or lowers the load. Rotary vane hoists are often used in industries requiring smooth and controlled lifting with minimal risks of damage, such as material handling, packaging, and automation.
Pneumatic hoists use compressed air to facilitate lifting and hauling. These types of hoists have a 100 percent duty cycle, meaning they can run continuously without rest. This makes them ideal for high-speed and heavy-duty lifting applications where other hoists would likely fail.
Because of their unique qualities, air hoists are best suited to particularly long lifts where an electric motor would overheat. Think of automotive assembly lines, warehouses, and shops that require heavy objects lifted repeatedly.
Curious about the applications of these hoists? Let’s dive into the three main categories of pneumatic hoists.
Piston hoists employ a hollow cylinder and piston as their lifting mechanism. An external motor or pump moves the piston within the cylinder, increasing the air pressure and aligning it with the piston’s axis. This movement creates a linear force used to extend the lift components, raising or lowering the load.
Most pneumatic chain hoists are explosion-proof, self-cooling, and easier to repair than electric hoists, making them especially useful for harsh and dangerous environments. Air chain hoists are free from complicated electrical components and can be used virtually anywhere.
Wire rope air hoists can position loads accurately without raising concerns about sparks. They allow variable speed controls and precise load spotting for better safety. Additionally, wire rope air hoists are virtually impervious to dust and humidity.
Now that you know the different types of hoists, it’s time to decide which one best fits your lifting project. Multiple factors can influence your choice of a hoist, including:
Different types of hoists have different load capacities. The rule of thumb is to ensure your loads don’t exceed the rated capacity at any point. Overloading can do more than damage your equipment- it can jeopardize site safety.
Lift height is the maximum distance between the floor and the hook when the hoist is at rest. Account for the distance between the hook when it is raised and lowered. Also, remember to consider headroom- the distance between the hoist suspension and the hook when it’s raised.
The lifting conditions play a crucial role in directing which type of hoist you should use. For example, air hoists are more conducive to dangerous, fast-paced environments because they are explosion-proof and have a 100 percent duty cycle. Carefully consider where you’ll be using your hoist before adding it to your cart.
Make sure you’re comfortable using the hoisting equipment type before settling on it. Discuss your options with a rigging hoist supplier in case you don’t know what to choose.
Since hoists are expensive, you want them to last as long as possible. Most types of hoists require regular maintenance to stay on top of their game- some more so than others. Check the maintenance guidelines carefully to make an informed decision. It’s best to pick a low-maintenance hoist to avoid extensive upkeep.
Lifting heavy loads is a significant risk. But the right hoist can make your job much easier and safer. Hopefully, this post has given you some insight into the different types of hoists and their applications so that you can pick your rigging equipment easily.
Are you looking for hoist equipment types? Look no further than Holloway! We sell and rent different types of hoists at reasonable rates. As a leading rigging hoist supplier, we never cut corners with quality. Call us for more information today.