Hoists, whether made from a chain or wire rope, are an essential part of the production line in industrial operations. Hoists make it easy to lift and move heavy materials which boost productivity. However, hoists are some of the most neglected equipment in most industrial facilities and only attract the attention of facility managers when they fail. When breakdowns happen, production can come to a standstill and affect profitability because of downtime. Worse still, neglected hoists are fatalities in waiting; therefore, being proactive in maintenance is the best way to avoid accidents and ensure that operations go on without a hitch. This article highlights critical day-to-day pre-operation hoist inspection and maintenance tips.
Test Up-and-Down Movement All the Way
Before placing loads on a hoist, the first thing you should do is test the up-and-down movement to ascertain the operational ability. However, most operators tend to limit the test to a small degree of movement in both ways. The pre-operation inspection approach is both wrong and dangerous because it doesn't consider the condition of the rope or chain's entire length. When testing the upward and downward movement of a hoist, it is advisable to let the chain go up and down its complete length. It is the only way to make sure that the entire length of the chain is in excellent working condition.
Adequately Tighten the Hook's Latch
When you hook a load to a hoist, the latch is supposed to secure the load in place to avoid the possibility of slippage. A latch that is in excellent condition will snap back in place thanks to the spring mechanism on its joint. Over time, the spring gets loose and requires tightening. This is the point where most operators get the process wrong since they over-tighten the latch joint. If you over-tighten the joint, then you will end up with a latch that sticks in place once released. It is very dangerous, especially when hoisting weighty loads, because the loads tend to swing a lot. Before placing any load on the hook, you must ensure that the latch snaps back into place without much effort. If it is sticky, loosen the nuts on either side of the latch slightly.
Check for Oil Leaks on the Floor
Since oil leaks in industrial facilities are common, it is easy to dismiss oil leaks coming from a hoist. Most operators often conclude that oils on the floor are from other machines even though hoists also use lubricants for optimal functionality. Therefore, if you see oil patches on the floor and there is no sign of a machine nearby, you should inspect the hoist immediately. Oil leaks can be an indication of worn pawls, cams or ratchets, which calls for immediate decommissioning of the hoist until repairs are undertaken.