October 15 2020 0Comment

Material Handling Equipment- How Do You Maintain Them In Cold Weather?

We got several requests from our overseas countries, especially in the cold zone asking about the ways of handling the hoists, winches and crane in cold weather. So we thought it would be better to provide some tips in general for all such questions.

The material handling equipment can last long and perform best only with the right maintenance. One of the best ways to do that is by retaining the proper temperature level. However, as most of the regions in the USA and Canada have cold weather, it is essential to think of the safety measures of the crane systems and their operators. Surely, load-lifting equipment may cause risk anytime due to improper management. But, the safety factor becomes more important when the weather is too cold. As an overhead crane user, you have to know the way of weatherizing the system.

Heavy snowfall can cause an adverse effect on the lifting mechanism of a crane, rigging device, and hoist. The temperature level, dropping below 10 degrees, can cause a risk to your crane hydraulics.

The most important step is to know the safety standards of the crane and engage a mechanical engineer to weatherize the system.

Steel components of cranes and the effect of low-temperature levels

The commonly used metal for the material handling system is steel that combines iron and some other components. Although steel is cheap, it has high strength with the ductile property. Without affecting the strength, it is stretchable. However, while the temperature is very low, the steel material bond can break very easily. That is why it is essential to treat metal property to reduce the cold climatic effects.

Now, the question is- Which type of steel is best for your purpose?

High-strength low-alloy steel has the best mechanical properties with high resistance to natural corrosion. In fact, it is better than carbon steel. In most of the overhead cranes, we can find A607/A715 grade steel.

You can weatherize steel beams, tracks, and similar other components to make them resistant to low temperature (-70 degrees). On the cold days, you may use them for regular operations.

Weatherizing the crane with coatings

The best way of weatherizing steel components is by using special coatings. For instance, you may use galvanized and epoxy coating to ensure the ultimate protection of your steel components from the effect of lower temperatures. While epoxy coatings are friction resistant, they also protect the surface from heat and corrosive elements. Moreover, hot-dip galvanizing is another reliable choice used in cold and harsh environments found in warehouses and production facilities.

Two-part epoxy coatings are the right choice for steel used for industrial purposes. What is more, they can protect your steel system from turbulence, corrosive fluids, and impact forces.

On the contrary, hot-dip galvanizing is the right choice when you are using your material handling equipment in salty regions. To protect your crane components, like steel beams, you can rely on this weatherizing method. Furthermore, galvanized steel is highly effective and reliable as your steel gets zinc coatings during this process. The galvanizing technique also creates a thick and protective layer, and you can apply it rapidly.

High-performance steel used for the best-enclosed track

Ice and debris are major threats to the overhead crane system. Thus, to avoid any damage, you can choose the enclosed track system with a special V-shaped design. It helps in directing the trolley through a path while protecting the system from dirt and ice.

Furthermore, most manufacturers offer steel wheels for trolleys and end trucks, which can easily withstand cold weather exposure. Thus, these trolleys do not have any effect on frozen weather and never cause injury risk to your workers. In other words, you will have higher productivity with these enclosed tracks. 

Electrifying the motorized crane systems

During the winter season, we mostly use motorized load lifting systems to make our task easier. However, it is also essential to focus on the electrification process for your motorized systems.

There are festoon cables to deal with hoses and other cables providing power and energy to machinery. Moreover, they have the best applications in both indoor and outdoor sites. But, when the temperature is very low, you have to use conductor bar systems that ensure protection to your components.

Now, what are these conductor bars? Treated with electrolytic copper/galvanized steel, these conductor bars are the best solution to avoid the effects of cold weather on your equipment. Besides, their favourable sizes help you to carry them easily. The electric current flows through them properly without the risk of overheating.

Check out NEMA ratings of enclosures.

While buying cranes and their components, you can check out NEMA ratings that ensure the capability of the product to endure weather elements. You can use these NEMA rated items for outdoor activities without any risk. NEMA 3, NEMA 3S, and NEMA 3R are three NEMA ratings indicating the capability of the equipment to withstand adverse weather.

However, the best one of these ratings is NEMA 3S, especially for protection against cold weather, sleet, snow, and rain.

To conclude, we need that it is essential to choose the right cranes and hoists to avoid risks during the overhead lifting activities. The choice of the wrong cranes not only affects longevity but also causes you injury. Nowadays, the best crane manufacturers focus on the potential impact of cold weather to manufacture every system.

If you would like any more information on crane safety, or you would be interested in learning more about the products and services offered by LOADMATE, please get in touch with one of our friendly team members by calling us on 96871 14356, or dropping a mail on sales@loadmate.in

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