Rigging and lifting equipment is used more commonly than you think. Many industries like construction, shipping, warehousing, and oil and gas depend on rigging equipment to lift heavy loads. These industries use a wide range of equipment, such as lifting hooks, shackles, wire ropes, and pulleys, among others.
The successful and safe load handling largely depends on choosing suitable rigging hardware. However, choosing the right equipment is easier said than done. You have to choose from thousands of rigging products with different specifications. Even an experienced rigger would find it a daunting task.
If you need lifting and rigging equipment but aren’t sure how to begin your search, the following tips might help. Let’s explore what you need to keep in mind when looking for rigging hardware.
1. Make Sure to Check the Working Load Limit
One of the most critical things you will need to remember is the Working Load Limit (WLL). It is also known as Rated Capacity. WLL is nothing but the maximum weight that a piece of rigging tool can safely lift or carry. The equipment manufacturers indicate this rated capacity on the equipment using a permanently affixed and legible identification.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also recommends never to use rigging hardware with loads over the rated capacities. Adding weight heavier than the working load limit of the equipment is an immense safety risk. It may also damage the load, resulting in project delays.
Find out the total weight of the load to be rigged. Once you know this weight, you can choose a suitable piece of equipment. It is usually better to use rigging equipment with a rated capacity higher than the weight of the load.
Each type of rigging equipment, be it wire ropes or hoist hooks, comes with a specific working load limit. Even synthetic slings have different rated load capacities based on their material and size. So, check each piece of equipment carefully to make sure you can use it safely.
2. Analyze The Load To Be Lifted
The next important factor is the load in question. The type, size, and shape of the load/object will play a critical role in deciding the type of rigging equipment you can use. So, a thorough assessment of the load is non-negotiable.
For instance, when lifting an object with sharp edges, it is not advisable to use synthetic slings. The sharp edges can easily cut through the lifting slings, increasing the safety risk. Instead, you would be better off using steel wire rope slings.
On the other hand, if the load is delicate, you wouldn’t want to use wire ropes. They can damage the load. Here, synthetic slings would be the right choice as they are made of soft materials like polyester or nylon. They pose a significantly lower risk of scratching or denting. But they are strong enough for moving heavy equipment that is expensive and delicate.
In addition to this, you also need to consider:
- The center of gravity of the load.
- The available space for lifting.
Depending on these factors, you may have to use specific rigging tools. Considering what’s at stake here, allow only qualified personnel to make these assessments.
3. Consider The Lifting/Moving Environment
You will also need to consider the overall lifting environment. Temperature is one critical environmental factor you can’t ignore. It affects each type of rigging and lifting equipment differently.
Steel chain slings are probably the toughest of the lot. They can withstand temperatures up to 600º F. Synthetic slings, however, cannot withstand extremely high or low temperatures. They work best between temperatures lower than 180º F and higher than – 40º F. You will need to consider the average temperature of the lifting environment to select the most suitable rigging hardware.
Another factor that warrants your attention is humidity or water. In a saltwater environment, the risk of corrosion is very high. You are better off using stainless steel rigging tools in such environment as they are corrosions resistant. If you want to use the rigging equipment in harsh weather, you need to consult the equipment manufacturer. They can tell you which piece of equipment is best suitable for your project.
4. Don’t Compromise on Quality
Rigging tools are often subjected to harsh work conditions. Meaning, you need tools that can last long without affecting the performance. So, you can’t compromise on quality when it comes to choosing the hardware.
Make it a point to purchase high-quality rigging equipment as far as possible. The upfront costs might be a little higher. However, given the importance of safety when lifting heavy loads, good quality equipment will pay for itself in the long run.
Another crucial factor is to get the equipment tested and inspected. It will ensure that not a single part of the rigging hardware assembly is out of place. If you find a faulty piece, you can replace it before it is too late. However, only a qualified person should inspect the equipment.
5. Always Buy from A Trusted Supplier
Finally, make sure to source the equipment from a trusted supplier. A reliable supplier will also help you to choose the right rigging equipment. In fact, whenever you have a doubt, you should talk to your supplier.
So, look for a rigging hardware supplier with an excellent track record. It is even better if they have experience in catering to your industry. Also, work with a local supplier. It not only saves shipping costs but also ensures timely delivery, especially for last-minute orders. Do your own research to find a supplier that meets your budget and needs.
The success of your project depends on selecting the right type of lifting and rigging equipment. Given the vast array of choices, however, choosing the right equipment can be a daunting task. Hopefully, these five tips will make this task easier.
If you need more information or help with sourcing the rigging hardware, reach out to our experts. At HHI, you can get high-quality rigging equipment at competitive rates. Moreover, our experts can walk you through the entire procurement process.