Choosing the Right Electric Chain Hoist – A Simple Guide

Posted by Jon Fuchs on

Picking the perfect electric chain hoist for your needs might seem tricky, but we're here to make it straightforward. Whether you're wondering, "How do I choose a chain hoist?" or "What type of chain hoist is right for me?" this guide will clear up your questions.

Electric and manual chain hoists are vital for various lifting tasks. Our easy checklist will guide you to the best choice for your specific situation.

Need professional advice? Give us a call at 800-724-4052.

Capacity: First, how heavy is the item you need to lift? We'll figure out this weight and then round it up to the nearest quarter ton, half ton, or full ton. For loads heavier than 3 tons, smaller increments may not be available, meaning you might need to opt for a 4 ton chain hoist to ensure safety and efficiency.

Lift: Next, how much lift do you need? You'll need to know where the hoist will hang and where the item will be located. Calculate the lift by subtracting the item's resting height from the hoist's hanging point. For instance, if the hoist is 22 feet high and the item is on the ground, you'll need at least 22 feet of lift. It's wise to add a bit extra to avoid costly adjustments later, as adding extra chain later can be expensive.

Speed: Then, consider how fast you want to lift your item. Choosing the right speed can be complex and is often best handled by a professional. Speeds vary widely, from a few feet per minute up to 100 feet per minute for some advanced hoists. Factors like the item's fragility, the risk of it breaking if lifted too quickly, and the space available around the lifting area all affect the safe and optimal lifting speed.

For any help or expert advice on selecting the right lifting speed and more, don't hesitate to contact us at 800-724-4052. We're here to help you make the best decision for your lifting needs!

Power Source Considerations: Determining the right power source for your electric chain hoist is crucial. First, identify if you're using single-phase power, which is common in residential and small commercial settings. You'll need to check if your voltage supply is 115 volts, typical in homes, or 230 volts, which you might see in home dryers and small workshops. Larger industrial environments usually use three-phase power with voltages like 208, 230, 460, or 575 volts. If you're unsure about your power specifications, it's important to contact your power company. Using incorrect voltage can damage your hoist immediately, leading to costly replacements before you even start using it.

Control Voltage: Additionally, you'll need to decide the control voltage for the handheld control pendant. The common choices are 115 volts or 24 volts. For safety reasons, 24 volts is generally preferred. This lower voltage in the control pendant enhances safety, reducing the risk of electric shocks during operation.

Pendant Control Cable Length (Push Button Drop): In the lifting industry, the length of the pendant control cable is termed as the "push button drop." This refers to the distance from the chain hoist to where the hand control hangs in mid-air. Typically, the standard push button drop is four feet less than the total lift length. For instance, with a lift of 22 feet, the standard hand pendant would hang 18 feet below the hoist, which places it four feet above the floor.

However, there are scenarios where a standard drop isn't suitable, and a custom length is needed. For example, if a chain hoist is used to lift items from a hole that extends below the floor level, adjustments are necessary. Imagine a situation where the lift is 35 feet, but the factory floor is only 22 feet below the hoist's hanging point. Using the standard rule, the pendant would hang 31 feet below the hoist, leaving an excessive nine feet of cable on the floor, which poses a safety risk. In such cases, it's crucial to order a pendant with a drop of 18 feet, ensuring the pendant hangs just four feet above the factory floor for ergonomic and safe operation.

Type of Suspension for Chain Hoists:

When selecting a chain hoist, it's important to consider how it will be suspended. There are two common suspension options: Hook mount and Lug mount.

Hook Mount: In a hook mount setup, the chain hoist comes equipped with a hook on the top of its body. This hook fits into an opening on the trolley, which is a rolling device that moves along a beam. There are two types of hooks typically used:

  • Rigid Hook: As the name suggests, a rigid hook does not swivel, which means the chain hoist cannot rotate 360 degrees on the trolley.
  • Swivel Hook: Conversely, a swivel hook allows the chain hoist to rotate both clockwise and counterclockwise during operation, providing greater flexibility.

Lug Mount: The lug mount option is often chosen when space is limited, especially in terms of headroom. Unlike the hook mount, the lug suspension does not use a hook. Instead, the hoist is attached directly to the trolley using a few bolts or lugs. This method is highly effective for setups requiring a compact and efficient mounting solution.

Types of Trolleys for Chain Hoists:

A trolley is a device that slides along a beam from which the chain hoist operates. There are three common types of trolleys, each suited for different needs and work environments.

1. Plain Trolley (Push/Pull Trolley): The plain trolley, also known as a push/pull trolley, is the simplest type available. The chain hoist hangs from this trolley using either a hook or lug mount. Movement of the hoist along the beam is manually controlled by the operator, who physically pushes or pulls the hoist or the item being lifted. This straightforward method requires physical effort but is effective for simpler applications where electrical power is not necessary or desired.

2. Geared Trolley: A geared trolley enhances ergonomics by reducing the physical effort needed compared to a plain trolley. The operator pulls on a chain that hangs from the trolley, similar to operating a manual overhead garage door. This action engages gears that help move the trolley along the beam. When ordering a geared trolley, it is important to specify the required hand chain drop, which is typically four feet less than the lift, similar to the pendant control cable length.

3. Motorized Trolley: The motorized trolley represents the peak of convenience and ergonomics among trolley options. This trolley has a motor attached to it, automating movement along the beam. It can be controlled by a separate pendant or integrated into the chain hoist’s control system by a qualified installer. This integration simplifies operations by consolidating all controls into a single station. When choosing a motorized trolley, specifying the appropriate speed is crucial, especially for handling delicate or sensitive loads. Standard speeds are typically 35 feet per minute (fpm) and 75 fpm, but adjustments can be made to suit specific requirements.

For any of these types, determining the right trolley for your application involves considering the specific needs of your lifting tasks and workspace. For professional guidance on selecting and configuring the ideal trolley for your chain hoist, you can always contact a specialist at 800-724-4052.

Types of Beams for Chain Hoist Installation:

When setting up a chain hoist, selecting the right type of beam is crucial to ensure the trolley operates smoothly and efficiently. Here’s a breakdown of the three common types of beams used for hoist installation:

1. I-Beam (H-beam, W-beam, WF-beam): The I-beam, also known as H-beam, W-beam, or WF-beam (for "wide flange"), features an I- or H-shaped cross-section. This design consists of horizontal flanges connected by a vertical web. The web primarily handles shear forces, while the flanges bear most of the bending moments. This beam type is highly efficient for carrying both bending and shear loads within the plane of the web, making it a popular choice for various applications.

2. WF-Beam (Wide-Flange Beam): A WF-Beam is a type of I-beam widely used in the United States, characterized by flanges that are almost parallel to each other, unlike the tapered flanges found on "S" style beams. The wide-flange design offers a broader surface area, enhancing its ability to handle load distribution.

3. Patented Track Beam: The patented track beam is a specialized type of beam designed for heavy-duty and repetitive use in harsh environments. It features a specially hardened bottom flange with a raised lip, providing an optimal rolling surface for the trolley. This design is typically more expensive, but its durability and precision make it a valuable investment for demanding settings such as military facilities and aircraft maintenance hangars.

When purchasing a hoist, it’s essential to provide your distributor with specific details about the beam, including its height, flange width, and any taper in the case of an "S" style beam. These details will ensure that the hoist and trolley system you choose will fit perfectly and function reliably in your specific setup.



Share this post

← Older Post