If you’ve ever driven down an American freeway or looked over at a busy waterway, you’ve probably noticed flatbed trucks or wide container ships mounting even larger, oversized cargo, usually roped or chained down to the deck. The cargo on these ships ranges from massive, self-contained electric transformers to concrete pilings and structures. You may, upon seeing them tied down to comparatively flimsy trucks and container ships, wonder how they got there in the first place. We’re here to answer that question.
What are Jack & Slide Systems?
The secret to transporting these loads is also the first step in the process: a hydraulic jack and slide system. Jack and slide systems are used when cranes are unfeasible, dangerous, or not rated for the magnitude of the task at hand. Their purpose is to move objects and weights laterally, along a slide system, and onto the container ship or truck in question.
Such jack and slide systems are actually deceptively simple; as their name indicates, they consist of heavy-duty hydraulic jacks, for pumping up oversized, overweight loads, and a slide for transporting the load from one container ship or truck to another location. With that being said, the theory of a hydraulic jack and slide is simple, but the actual operation does contain several moving parts, and is best done by specialists.
How a Jack & Slide system works
To begin, the hydraulic jack is first installed under the oversized object, as is the first part of the slide (with supports). The oversized load is then raised with the hydraulic jacks, and wooden blocks are installed underneath the load in order to prop it up. Afterwards, the final part of the slide is installed underneath the object, and the object is again lowered back onto the slide.
At this point, the object is moved across the slide by means of a hydraulic pump system, and onto the new platform (be it a truck, container ship, or the installation area). Afterwards, the process occurs again in reverse: the jacks are installed again to lift up the object, the slide/rail system is removed from under the object, and the object is finally lowered into its resting place.
Is a Jack & Slide system right for your project?
As you can see, a hydraulic jack and slide system is ideal for industrial rigging situations where cranes are not feasible, perhaps due to cost, environmental constraints, or the like. Jack and slides are simpler, and while they may not be as fast as cranes, their reliability and simplicity make them ideal for truly massive, oversized loads.