Overhead Crane Installation
Heavy items don’t always come with a label on the easiest way to move them. Without an efficient solution in place, you may find yourself staring at an object, mapping out the easiest way to get it from one side of the facility to another. Like most of us with a vivid imagination, you may have come up with multiple scenarios to complete this task – but how safe is what you concocted in your mind?
In most cases, the easiest solution could be as easy as looking up. Professional overhead crane installation can offer a safe and effective solution for commercial settings like yours. An overhead crane is a piece of equipment that goes overhead and essentially gets a heavy object from Point A to Point B with little to no strenuous effort from the operator. Some of the most popular reasons you might opt for overhead crane installation include:
- Loading and unloading materials from a truck
- Moving materials around a facility with more efficiency than manual labor or a tow motor
- Manufacturing facility settings to flip or pull dies in and out of a stamping machine
- Feeding raw materials into machinery
- Creating a controlled setting along assembly lines
- Moving containers around shipyards and railyards
When it comes to having an overhead crane installed, your facility can become a less hazardous work environment, and the efficiency of the operation goes up by reducing the amount of time it takes to complete certain tasks. Once you have determined that implementing an overhead crane is the right decision for your facility, you can begin the process of determining the right type and begin the road to professional overhead crane installation.
Choosing the Right Overhead Crane for Installation in Your Facility
The lifting needs of your facility will determine the type of overhead crane installation needed. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to your operational needs – so determining the type that will best fit those needs before installation is imperative. To help determine the best fit, consider these points:
- Motion structure of the crane
- The weight and type of material loads
- Whether the crane will be used indoors or outdoors
- The capacity you require the crane to handle
- How often you will use the crane
Using these as a guideline will make the process of overhead crane installation much easier.
Bridge cranes have two overhead runways built into your facility’s support structure. They come in single and double girder configurations called a bridge. These girders help the crane move up and down and side-to-side. The most common terms used for these cranes are process and modular.
Similar in operation to the bridge crane, a gantry crane is self-supporting and runs along fixed rails embedded in or fixed upon the floor. The gantry crane is often considered for operations that do not have the facility support structure for securing the crane. Many facilities with outdoor operations will choose a gantry crane due to the lack of overhead structure.
Most commonly used in production or assembly lines, monorail cranes use a trolley system to carry the hoist along a singular path. These cranes are used to run material back and forth on a single path – think Point A to Point B, not Point A to Point C.
Although they come in a number of different styles and types, jib cranes do not use a fixed rail system to move. Most jib overhead crane installations are stand-alone, column, or wall-mounted. Although they do not move along a fixed path, they often provide 180- to 360-degree rotation.
When implementing an ergonomic solution in a workplace, the implementation of workstation cranes may be beneficial. Workstation cranes can be freestanding, or ceiling hung and are designed to run both top and under. The versatility of these cranes is what makes for their popularity.
Before Your Facility’s Overhead Crane Installation
Now that you have an understanding of the types of overhead cranes, you can decide which will be most beneficial for your operation. One of the most important parts of overhead crane installation is the quoting process. When you call on a professional to install your overhead crane, they will come to your facility to assess where you want it installed. You may be asked to provide the blueprints and floor plans of the facility to allow the professional the best chance of giving you an accurate estimate.
The Overhead Crane Installation Quote
When your professional overhead crane installation specialist gives you a quote, it will likely contain the installation time window. The installation time window is the amount of time (in consecutive days) that it will take for them to install the equipment on your site. The installation time window can run anywhere between two and ten days but could be longer if the project is extensive. The installation time window begins once the work begins – after the cranes, trucks, materials, and installation equipment is on-site.
Approximately a month before the expected completion of the building and assembling of the new overhead crane, the installation specialist will reach out to you to establish the contract between you or the necessary parties for the installation. At this time, a few things will be established:
- An introduction between the installer, general contractor, and staff who are involved in the overhead crane installation
- A time to come to the location and perform an analysis of the job site/facility
- At this time, the installer will likely consider and evaluate the scope of work, the installation area, potential hazards, and details for existing runways or new construction runways
- An agreement on the anticipated start date of the overhead crane installation
- A weekly call to determine the status of the project so that it can remain on track and the channels of communication are open among all interested parties
Evaluate the Scope of Work
To ensure the highest level of quality during the overhead crane installation, the installer will meet with anyone with a role in the process (Maintenance Supervisors, Plant Managers, etc.). The installer will also gather the necessary information about the building, including but not limited to floor plans, blueprints, and any other information that will help them understand the facility and installation area.
Because each site and build are different, the installer will begin compiling a list of the equipment and materials necessary to complete the installation process. The list of items may include semi-trucks, trailers, flatbeds, mobile installation cranes, scissor lifts, generators, personal fall protection, personal protective equipment, and more. When working with a professional overhead crane installation specialist, it is important to understand their process so that the job can run smoothly for both parties.
Site Location Evaluation
In addition to the blueprints or floor prints, your overhead door installation specialist will want to spend some time in the area where the overhead crane will be installed. They will identify the equipment, machinery, and other objects in the area that may pose a problem or need to be moved from the area while the installation takes place.
The installer will want to speak with as many of the subcontractors as possible to understand the timeline for construction and any other work that must be done to facilitate the overhead crane installation. If additional construction or installations are required to make the overhead crane a reality in the facility, they will consider:
- Any installation of electrical or gas lines
- Concrete or masonry work necessary to accommodate the overhead crane
- Overhead light fixtures
- Duct/roofing work
To ensure the highest level of safety, the installer will look at the current operations of the facility and note whether any production or work will be going on at the time of the installation. This may require blocking off specific areas to keep unauthorized personnel out of the area to ensure no one is getting hurt during the installation process.
Potential Hazards to Identify
One of the reasons you are likely to have an overhead crane installed in your facility is because it helps to increase safety in your daily operations. In the same way, you watch out for your team’s safety; the overhead crane installation specialist is also responsible for the safety of those working on their project. There are specific types of hazards that your overhead crane installation specialist may take special note of, including:
- Energy Sources – overhead electrical or gas lines, power/conductor bars, light fixtures, etc.
- Sources of traffic – forklifts, man lifts, trucks, semis, personal vehicles, pedestrians, foot traffic, etc.
- The environment – areas of excessive heat, hot metals, chemicals, etc.
- Areas requiring working at a height – anything over four feet, ladders, scaffolding, etc., all require fall protection
- Hazardous energy – identifying any lock-out/tag-out areas
- Any additional hazard deemed a safety concern by the facility personnel or installer
The Day of Overhead Crane Installation
When installation day finally comes, meaning that you pass the day of no return for changes to be made to orders and so on, the equipment and the materials will begin arriving on the worksite. Many people will be involved in the installation process, including truck drivers, mechanical installation specialists, riggers (they do most of the unloading and equipment setup), crane operators, electrical specialists, and crane technicians. Depending on the job’s extensive nature, others may be in attendance. Constant communication between all parties will be necessary for an installation that goes smoothly.
Load Testing Your Overhead Crane Installation
Once installation is complete and the crane structure has been erected, a load test will be required to ensure it is in proper working order. A third party may be brought in to conduct the OSHA-regulated test that requires:
- Testing of the hoist’s operation up and down, trolley travel, bridge travel, limit switches, locking, and safety devices
- Test the trip setting of the hoist’s limit switches for proper mechanical accuracy
- A load test at no more than 125% of the rated load
- Test reports to be kept on file and readily accessible
Testing can be conducted using a variety of materials. The most commonly used for testing purposes include concrete, steel, or weighted water bags. Your overhead crane installation professional will be well aware of the OSHA standards. They will work with you to ensure that your new overhead crane meets the requirements set forth by the regulating safety body.
After Installation and Beyond
Attention to detail is necessary when a professional installs an overhead crane. In addition to the details, there is a level of safety that must be adhered to, which is why you call on the right person for the right job. Experience matters in operations of this size, and our overhead crane installation professionals have the right experience, safety training, and industry knowledge to execute a flawless process from quote to installation and beyond.
When looking for an overhead crane installation professional, you can rest assured that we will work with you to ensure you find the right crane to meet your needs, provide you with an accurate quote, and guide you through the entire installation process – including the OSHA-required safety testing. You expect your staff to be safe while handling heavy loads, and our attention to safety details will make the overhead crane installation process as simple and as safe as possible.
You will find that our overhead crane installation experts have your efficiency and safety at the front of their minds during the process – we continue to work with you on any needs you may have even after the installation has been completed. Call us today to set up your initial estimate with our overhead crane installation professional.
Read more about MWM’s services. We have a vetted group of sub-contractors and partnerships with various engineering and architectural firms for complete design-build applications.