For warehouse owners, overhead cranes from places like Winslow Crane Service Co are an indispensable tool for material handling. But even the most innocuous of tools can quickly turn dangerous – or even deadly – if neglect is allowed to come into the picture. Reviewing and understanding best practices for inspecting and maintaining overhead cranes can save your workers plenty of effort and perhaps even their lives.
Inspections for overhead cranes should always be thorough and comprehensive, with attention paid to details that could put operators and other workers at risk if glossed over. The following offers several best practices for inspecting and maintaining overhead cranes.
Daily and Monthly Inspection Items
There are several items on an overhead crane that should be inspected each day, preferably prior to operation. Making a cursory check of the following items can help prevent premature failures from occurring, which in turn saves downtime and prevents dangerous safety hazards:
In addition to daily inspections, the hoist chains and hooks should be subject to a monthly inspection with a certification record documenting the date of the inspection, the serial number of the equipment and the signature of the inspector. Running ropes should also be subject to monthly frequency and standards for inspections.
Periodic Inspection Items
In addition to daily and monthly inspections of critical overhead crane components, operators should also perform periodic inspections of the crane's overall physical condition. During the inspection, operators should take note of the following:
Maintenance and inspection requirements may also dictate a test of the overhead crane's load capabilities. OSHA guidelines state that such tests should not be done with test loads rated at more than 125 percent of the crane's rated load unless the manufacturer recommends otherwise. The test results should also be kept on file to other operators and authorized personnel.
Using OEM Parts
Another way to ensure the longevity of an overhead crane system while also ensuring worker safety is through the use of genuine replacement parts supplied directly through the manufacturer. These original equipment manufacturer (OEM) supplied parts are designed and manufactured to be within exact tolerances, making these parts the best fit for critical operations. In contrast, aftermarket manufacturers may not have access to detailed schematics and information that could be used to produce components with exact tolerances.
Using non-OEM parts may seem like the best way to save on maintenance costs, but these parts often carry a hidden cost that could easily wipe out these savings. As crane expert John Bittner points out, the overall lifespan and functioning efficiency of a non-OEM part may not be as high as that of a genuine OEM part. Although it may cost significantly less, the trade-off could be thousands of dollars spent on downtime due to accelerated wear and/or premature part failure.
Adhering to these best practices for maintenance and inspection will ensure a safe and productive environment for operators and other personnel.
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