Hydraulic Jack and Slide Systems: An Alternative to Cranes

In industries like construction and mining, in which heavy lifting plays a major role, a wide variety of machinery and equipment is necessary to get the job done. Cranes are often the machine of choice when it comes to these daunting tasks. But, some projects experience delays, due to the high cost of renting or buying a crane. In situations wherein budget and space constraints are a serious concern, hydraulic jack and slide systems can be a great alternative.

Hydraulic Skidding – The Jack and Slide System

Hydraulic Jacks are fairly popular in construction, because they are compact, and can lift extremely heavy loads. Hydraulic jacks are readily available in capacities ranging from a few to over a hundred tons. Some specialty units have capacities of up to a thousand tons.

Like cranes, the jack and slide system is considered indispensable to most contractors. The simplest way to describe it is to say that it comes with skid “shoes” that move a load horizontally along a guided track, and over a surface with controlled friction. This system can slide objects of enormous weight without the external forces a crane would require in order to mobilize.

The Advantages

The major edge jack and slide equipment has over cranes is its significantly reduced requirements in terms of cost, space, set-up, and maintenance. Cranes typically need a lot of space for set-up and overhead clearance. When there is insufficient headroom for a crane, and winches and tackle systems are not enough to lift a load vertically, you may need to erect an inclined plane to roll or skid the load up. Many construction sites involve confined spaces and multiple obstructions, so workers might have a difficult time maneuvering a crane around these areas, which could heighten the risk of accidents.

A skidding system, on the other hand, is relatively less dangerous by virtue of the strategically low profile of its tracks. The load is never suspended freely, and when used accordingly, the system doesn’t require holdback, winches, or other kinds of external force or restraint.

Other Types of Hydraulic Rigging Equipment

Hydraulic gantries are very useful for lifting heavy equipment, and maneuvering heavy loads. Gantry systems vary from those using small, five-ton capacity jacks, to systems capable of carrying 1,000 tons. Some systems can reach 40 feet with fully extended height.

Rollers can be used to move loads horizontally or on slight inclines, provided the surface is even and firm. Rollers may be made of aluminum/steel round stock, heavy steel pipe, or manufactured caster.

Tuggers or powered winches are basically rope-pulling machines that are often described as “boomless” cranes. Depending on the application, the rope may be made of wire or fiber. Like the jack and slide system, tuggers also have lower costs. They weigh less, are more portable, and are better-suited to smaller, tighter spots. They can be used for hoisting and hauling, and may be powered hydraulically.

As mentioned earlier, hydraulic jack and slide systems require significantly less maintenance than cranes. However, they still need to be kept free of debris and protected from the environment after use. The machine should also be handled carefully to prevent damage to any components or sliding surfaces. 

Cranes will not lose their place in industrial situations, but it’s good to know that jack and slide systems exist, and can provide companies a cost-effective, fast, highly-efficient way to lift, move, and transport heavy loads. To learn more, give H Brown Cranes a call today.

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