Making sure that every aspect of a crane is crucial before operation. To prevent damage to the machinery itself, people within the construction area, or machine failure that results in damaging other equipment on site, performing a safety check is necessary. From checking for crane stability pads to ensuring indicator lights are working and operation mechanisms are functioning, here are some of the things you need to check for:
Perform A Walk Around
One of the most overlooked aspects of inspection is a thorough walk around. To make sure the crane will bear load without sinking into the ground due to no crane outrigger pads and prevent many other issues, here are some of the things you need to check:
Is the foundation suitable for holding the crane load without outrigger pads?
Are all items on or near the crane secured?
Have the handrails and walkways been cleared and secured?
Are all hydraulic systems intact and operational?
Has housekeeping such as removing concrete or rebar been done?
Are all of the couplers and connection rods secured?
Remember, even if you are on solid ground such as asphalt, you may still need crane stability pads if the asphalt was poured over a hollow area where pipes are.
Inspect The Operator Cab
In addition to performing a walk around, you will need to inspect the operator cab to ensure the operator will have no problems while the crane is in use. Things to look for include:
Has general operator cab housecleaning been done?
Are all warning tags visible?
Are the cab doors secure?
Is the fire extinguisher in place?
Is visibility acceptable or does window cleaning need to happen?
Are all indicator lights functioning?
Is the alarm system working?
One of the most important aspects of your inspection is going to be the operation inspection. In many cases if you find issues with any of the operation parts during an inspection you will need to suspend work and notify a supervisor. Operation inspections include checks for:
Travel Limit Relays
Hooks (Main and Auxiliary)
Bridge Controls and Brakes
Main and Auxiliary Upper and Lower Limits
Power Supply Replay
Work Area Checks
Manual Reset Checks
In addition to operation checks, you will need to also perform machinery inspection. Machinery that you need to inspect are:
Check Hooks for Deformities or Cracks
Are all motors operational?
Bridge Conductors and Collectors
Are there any exposed electrical components?
Check the Festoon System
Are batteries working properly?
Are all covers secured?
If you notice any issue with the holding brake, wire rope, sheaves, or hook it is recommended that you contact a supervisor and end any operations for the crane.
When it comes to construction of all types, cranes are some of the most important pieces of machinery ever created. Many of the homes we live in, buildings we work at, and some of the world’s most famous architecture and construction rely on cranes to be built. While there are a wide variety of cranes produced today, the concept of cranes to lift objects dates back thousands of years. Here is a brief overview of the history of cranes:
The First Greek Cranes
In ancient history, large objects required thousands of people push and pulling objects to be moved vertically. Using ropes, logs under objects for rolling, and ramps were used instead of cranes. The first evidence that we have that suggests cranes were used in any construction capacity are marks left on stone blocks showing evidence of clevises and lifting tongs in Greece around 515 BC.
While there is evidence that pulleys and winches were used around this time period, the first written evidence describing early cranes is attributed to work done by Aristotle sometime around 350 BC. It is likely that the rise in popularity of using pulleys and winches was that it allowed less man power to move large objects compared to the thousands of people needed in Ancient Egypt.
Ancient Roman Cranes
While pulleys and winches were developed in Ancient Greece, they rapidly grew in use during the Roman Empire as construction rates increased and new technology was needed during Ancient Rome’s fast expansion. Ancient Romans took the work used by Greeks and continued to develop it further, creating very large pulley-cranes.
It was also during the time of the Roman Empire, sometime between 50 and 100 AD, that treadwheel cranes were invented and used. With these types of early cranes, treadwheels and pulleys could allow 60-times the lifting capability of ramps and other pre-crane technology.
One of the issues with early treadwheel cranes is that they were limited in the load they could lift. As a result, new crane towers were constructed that allowed massive objects to be lifted straight up using a permanent crane construction that looked similar to a siege tower.
Advances During The Middle Ages
After the Roman Empire fell, treadwheel cranes saw little use for hundreds of years, but the technology started to come back during the Middle Ages, especially in France. Around the year 1225, treadwheel cranes were seen around France, mostly being used as harbor cranes to lift items from ships more efficiently than having heavy or large objects carried by the crew using ladders.
During the Medieval period, tower cranes were created outside of harbors and advances to treadwheel cranes even allowed for portability. Over the next few hundred years, these types of cranes were typically what were used and even in the late 1500s, lifting towers were still common throughout Europe.
The Industrial Revolution And Beyond
It wasn’t until the early 1800s when the first cranes that resemble modern day cranes began to take shape. This was due to the industrial revolution and a manufacturer and inventor named William Armstrong. Armstrong is credited with being the man to first design a hydraulically powered crane.
By 1847 multiple hydraulic cranes had been invented to help with the construction of Bridges in England and as time progressed, Armstrong made changes and advancements to his design such as design a hydraulic accumulator. Cranes that were created by Armstrong were still in use less than a century ago. For example, a crane that was commissioned in Italy in 1883 saw use in Venice until the 1950s where it still remains today.
Mobile cranes, for example, started in the 1920s when combustion engines were first invented and telescopic jibs were created. By 1960, modern creates began taking shape and new products such as synthetic crane rigger pads have allowed crane usage any all types of surfaces allowing construction virtually anywhere in the world.
No matter what type of crane outrigger you are operating, having a set of stability pads is something that you cannot overlook and you should always have them with you. Not only do outrigger pads for your crane allow you to operate within safety guidelines, it can be the difference in doing damage to property or to your crane.
While there are usually footpads on the end of any outrigger that are designed by the manufacturer, in the majority of circumstances this is not enough to provide you with the stability and surface area you need to operate effectively on loose soil and unideal surface conditions. Here are a few reasons you need to have crane outrigger pads:
Operating On Soil Can Lead To Equipment Damage
If you are operating your crane it’s always important to look for what is considered to be "good" ground conditions, but what might seem like ground conditions suitable for using your standard footpads may turn out to be very risky. If you are operating your crane and the footpads punch into the ground, not only is your machinery no longer level, the ground below you will no longer be able to support the load of the crane. This can cause extensive damage and result in total crane failure.
Cranes Are Not Always Distributing Load Evenly
It’s also important to note that when your crane is in operation, it is not always stationary. As the arm moves from position to position, the load is distributed differently at all times. Even if you are able to set up your standard footpads initially without pressing into the ground, things can quickly change if all of your crane’s weight is shifted to one footpad.
With stability pads, there is a lot more surface area that the weight is distributed to. That means when load is distributed, even if it is all placed on one area, it is not concentrated on a very small section of soil. Instead, the load is distributed evenly to the crane outrigger pads so you do not sink into the ground at all.
It Is Not Only Soil That You Have To Worry About
One big mistake that new operators make is assuming that just because something looks stable means it actually is. While loose soil or wet conditions are clear signs that you will need outrigger pads to operate your crane, you should also be aware that outrigger pads are also recommended on hard surfaces.
If your outrigger crane is on a hard surface such as pavement or asphalt it may appear you will have no issues, but if that pavement is poured over a hollow surface (common when driveways are poured over a drainpipe), your outrigger can shatter the asphalt. Our synthetic outrigger pads keep the load distributed over a large surface area so this doesn’t happen.
The Type Of Crane Outrigger Pads You Use Matters
Remember, it is not just the act of using a crane pad that matters—the type of floats you use is important. While some operators attempt to use pressure treated wood as an outrigger pad, this can prove to be problematic. Even though it is pressure treated, wood will not stand up to extremely heavy loads. As a result, the wood will shatter which can be dangerous and even result in punching through to the ground.
Our synthetic pads are created to withstand even the highest loads. Not only does this make sure you are operating safely, it prevents unnecessary damage from being done to your crane when you are operating on any type of surface.