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Does Your Crane Need Maintenance?

In industries where cranes are regularly used, the crane usually is one of the largest and one of the most important pieces of equipment on the job site. Maintaining these heavy lifters is vital to keeping your business running and your employees safe.

So how do you know when it’s time to schedule a repair or service for your crane? Watch for these eight warning signs.

1. Abraded Surfaces

The enormous amounts of pressure put on crane components can cause unusual wear patterns over time. Abrasion usually affects moving parts, especially the wires and joints. While most of these components can withstand plenty of repetitive motion, years’ worth of use can create weaknesses that may lead to breakage.

Because abrasion can take a long time to become visible, it’s important to watch for any shiny or scratched components that may show early signs of serious wear.

2. Brittle Ropes or Slings

To work properly, the ropes and slings on your crane must remain well-oiled. If you use your crane on a daily basis or work in particularly warm or cold conditions, pay attention to the appearance of your ropes. The ropes may need extra oiling during long periods of use or while operating in extreme temperatures.

If you notice cracks, inflexibility or fraying, stop using the crane and assess the condition of these components before continuing with your work.

3. Compromised Chain Links

While crane chains are strong overall, individual chain links can become compromised during normal work. Often, these chain problems come from misshapen or crushed links rather than outright broken links.

These compromised areas may look just like the rest of the chain, so it’s important to examine the chain up close frequently to identify any weakened sections.

4. Corroded Sections

While the metals used to make heavy equipment are treated to help them withstand moisture, heat and other corrosive conditions, the protective layer can wear out over years of use. Small defects in the protective coating can allow rust and other forms of corrosion to develop, especially on cranes used in areas near bodies of water.

Evaluate rust as soon as it appears. Even if the corrosion does not threaten the structural integrity of the crane, it could contribute to electrical shorts and other operating problems.

5. Disparate Load Capacity

If you have had your crane for a long period of time, you may have had to replace individual components, such as the hook or chain. Each of these components and the crane itself are rated for a certain load capacity. It’s important that the weight capacity of each component matches.

If a crane is overloaded, the weakest component may break under the pressure. If you have disparate load capacities on multiple components, invest in the correct parts. Until you resolve any load bearing issues, do not use the crane to lift more weight than the part with the lowest load capacity can handle.

6. Missed Inspections

Cranes require many routine inspections to ensure that they are safe to use. If you aren’t sure when the last time your crane had a thorough inspection was, schedule a professional assessment as soon as possible.

Most heavy equipment experts recommend conducting a pre-start inspection each time the crane is used and scheduling routine inspections at least twice a year.

7. Stabiliser Pad Wear

Your equipment pads absorb much of the weight that your crane lifts, minimising the strain on the crane itself. When your pads begin to wear out, heavier loads could threaten the safety of your equipment. Look for any shiny or discoloured areas on your stabiliser, slider and outrigger pads.

Replace worn out pads as soon as possible to reduce the strain on your equipment during the typical work day.

8. Warped Hooks

While crane hooks are strong, they aren’t indestructible. During your pre-start inspection each day, look for any changes in the appearance of your hook. Do not use a hook that has developed cracks of any size. These fissures weaken the entire hook and could lead to the hook cracking all the way through while carrying a load.

Additionally, look for any warping in the shape of the hook. Hooks are designed to bear weight in a small area. If the hook becomes bent, it may be too weak to handle significant loads. Replace any misshapen hooks before you begin work with your crane.

If you notice any of the signs listed above, have the safety, function and structural integrity of your crane evaluated as soon as possible.

If your crane is out of commission for repairs, talk to a Freo Group representative about your options. We can provide a crane so that your business stays on track while your crane is serviced. Each of our cranes is maintained by our trained mechanics and <ahref=””>equipment workshops throughout Australia.