A Closer Look at Frequent Inspection Points for Overhead Cranes
Whether you own a small construction business that uses an overhead crane or you have a massive operation that involves the use of several cranes, proper inspection is vital to the safety of your employees and the well-being of the equipment itself.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines two different types of crane inspections: frequent inspections and periodic inspections. While periodic testing should be performed in 1 to 12-month intervals, frequent inspections should be done in daily to monthly intervals. Most crane owners and operators opt for daily inspections before the start of every shift just to be safe.
Here is a closer look at the details of the frequent crane inspection so you are prepared for this process as a crane owner.
Inspection of the Air Hydraulic System
The air hydraulic system is the powerhouse of the overhead crane, and it is also where mechanical problems can first show up. There are several points of the air hydraulic system that should be inspected frequently, including the:
- Drain pumps
- Fluid reservoirs
These components must be checked carefully for signs of wear and tear, and for signs of deterioration and leaks of hydraulic fluid. Any other operational component of the hydraulic system should be included in the inspection.
Inspection of Hooks
The hooks of an overhead crane are some of the smaller components of the overall setup, but they do the heavy lifting, as they pick up the item to be hoisted, so the hooks must be regularly assessed. If you spot any problems with a hook, whether it is a small crack or slight bend, the crane should be shut down and the hook should be replaced.
Inspection of Functional Mechanisms
Your frequent overhead crane inspection should include visual surveying of the functional mechanisms for maladjustments and regular wear and tear. Functional mechanisms of an overhead crane are components like the bridge girder, limit switch and wheel assembly.
Maladjustments of these functional mechanisms are problems in the overall adjustment of the crane, such as a wheel assembly that is not properly seated. Regular wear and tear of the functional mechanisms would be issues like a worn bridge girder.
Inspection of Hoist Chains
While the hydraulic system does the heavy lifting, the hoist chains must support the heft of the item being lifted. Therefore, frequent inspections of the hoist chains of an overhead crane are a must. There are several forms of wear and tear that can occur with regular use of a hoist chain, and each should be immediately addressed. Some examples of wear and tear to the hoist chains include:
- Twisted end connections
- Excessive wear of chain links
- Overstretching of chain links
- Distorted links or end connections
Each of these occurrences of regular wear of a hoist chain can prevent the hoist from fully supporting the load as it should. This can cause a dangerous situation if not caught before a lift is performed with the overhead crane.
Inspection of Rope Reeving
Rope reeving refers to the metal rope that is used on many overhead cranes in place of a chain. Before every operating shift, the rope reeving should be examined for proper placement and wrapping around its drum coil. You can find information for proper rope reeving in your manufacturer-provided owner’s manual.
Even though frequent crane inspections can seem to interrupt workflow and slow you down, inspections increase the safety of the equipment and lower risks to the people working with the equipment. It is during these inspections that safety hazards or problematic components are caught before they create a huge problem. There are good reasons for these inspections.
For more information about crane inspection, contact us at Advanced Crane Services for help.