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Inspecting Overhead Cranes – What you need to know

In this two-part series, I discuss the details of overhead crane inspection. This week I will focus on why it is important to hire a crane inspection company instead of (or in addition to) an overhead crane service company. In part two, I will discuss inspecting an overhead travelling crane.

Crane Service Company Vs. Crane Inspection Company

Overhead crane inspection (sometimes known as shop crane or gantry crane inspection) is included in our Sparta Inspection Services Division. I have previously written about Alberta Crane Inspection, why it is important to hire an inspector by the hour, and answered some frequently asked questions about tower crane inspections.

Overhead cranes can be an integral part to a facility’s productivity. If a shop crane is out of service for even just an hour it can have a domino affect throughout the whole facility. That’s where inspections on the overhead cranes can be a critical service to keep the crane (and shop) running smoothly. Most facilities will call in a company that services overhead cranes or an overhead crane service company.

Overhead crane service companies are great at servicing the electrical and mechanical components but they may not have the expertise or experience in structural inspections. That’s where a crane inspection company should be involved. They have the experience and the tools to do a proper structural inspection. Also, if there are defects discovered during inspection, crane inspection companies have the experience and knowledge in how to do a proper repair.

What happens when there are structural defects in an overhead crane?

It’s not uncommon to find structural defects on an overhead crane. If a defect is not found in a reasonable timeframe it could propagate into a structural failure. If a crane is taken out of service due to a structural defect it could be inoperable for a couple days for repairs. It’s best to catch these defects before they become a major issue. A small repair can be performed in an hour and a large repair could have the crane shut down for a couple days.

When a structural crane inspector checks an overhead crane they are looking for cracks in welds, deformed structural members, and other defects that could affect the structural integrity of the crane. They will look at the columns that support the craneway to make sure they don’t have any defects. The most common defect on the columns are dents that occur when a forklift or other machinery accidently hits the column. Next is the craneway itself. Once again the inspector will check for any defects in the structural members and welds. It is important for the inspector to have access to the full length of the craneways for a thorough inspection. The Bridge will be checked for defects including looking for any negative camber in the bridge beam. On the trolley, they will be looking for any structural defects and check the wire rope for any deficiencies.

So when should you include a structural inspection with your annual crane service?

If an overhead crane is a critical component to a shop’s productivity and/or commonly lifts loads higher than 50% of its capacity (eg. lifting more than 1-ton on a 2-ton crane), then Sparta would recommend an annual structural inspection.

Overhead crane servicing companies provide a needed maintenance and service package for your crane. This regular service should be coupled with a structural inspection from a crane inspection company to reduce down time on your overhead crane.

If you have any questions about over head crane inspection, send us an email or call us and we will get back to you quickly.