It’s not just about safety — ignoring crane service and industrial rigging maintenance can cost you money in unexpected downtime, replacement parts and equipment failure over the lifecycle of your rig.
To help you avoid accidents and unexpected costs, here are ten key tips to keep your equipment humming along and peak efficiency.
- Create checklists
It can mean a little extra work up front, but creating a checklist of the things you need to look for will help your maintenance be more productive and easy in the future. Checklists will make each inspection go much quicker.
- Check lubrication
This step is sometimes overlooked as workers look for major flaws and defects. Inspect your wire ropes, replace dry ropes, make sure everything is properly lubricated, and be careful when cleaning wire ropes to not overdo it — you don’t want to remove the lubricant.
- Check for loose bolts and rivets
Because this is kind of an “everywhere” problem, it can be overlooked while you work through your checklist. Always have an eye looking over the bolts and rivets. Anything looking even slightly loose should be dealt with now.
- Take notes as you go
The checklist isn’t just about crossing items off as completed or finding items for repair, it’s about knowing your machines inside and out. Check cables, brakes, and levers for excessive wear. If it doesn’t need to be replaced now but is showing signs of wear, flag it. Take a note and be sure to give that some special attention on your next inspection. It’ll also remind you to keep an eye on it during regular use.
- Don’t forget the small things
Cracked paint, oil levels, scheduled oil changes, rust — these can be easy to gloss over as you’re looking at the big picture. Don’t forget the small things, right down to checking for elongation of pin holes in the end attachment devices, such as open wedge sockets and swage sockets. Those pin holes should not be more than 1/8”.
- Track your wear
In addition to general notes during inspection, it’s important to remember that your rig takes a beating every day. It’s built to handle it, but you still have to keep an eye on it. Things that tend to slip through the cracks can end up severely wearing even big machines down over time. Track pad wear, track roller wear, rubber tire wear… put it on your checklist and take notes.
- Make a system
You have a checklist, and you’re taking notes. Make that a system. Create your checklist in an order that you would walk through the inspections. Make it a routine so it’s the same every time. It will help ensure that nothing gets missed.
- Load tests
Conduct a load test with each inspection. This will depend on the kind of equipment you’re maintaining and the standards that must be followed. Broadly speaking, with a crane, a long radius load test using weights at 100% capacity is appropriate. The boom should be 50 degrees above horizontal.
- Don’t confuse maintenance inspections with safety & operational inspections
Both are required. Both should be happening. But they aren’t the same thing and should be addressed separately. No, it’s not always the fun part, but it’s needed.
- Always be inspecting
You should always be keeping an eye on your equipment. It’s the cornerstone of your business, and its good health is your good health. Give it a quick inspection before each use. You know where the trouble spots are from your notes and you know the kind of things that are worth checking before firing it up every day. Take the time to give it a look. And be sure to give us a shout if you need help.