What Are Chain Hoists?August 19, 2015
A chain hoist is a lifting operator's closest ally when moving weighty items across an open factory floor. The machine drops handily from a reinforced ceiling mount and follows the worker like a puppy as it's led across the work space by its long and looping metal chain. Freedom of movement is achieved by mounting the housing of the chain hoist on either a rail or a hook. The latter attachment scenario is popular in models that need to be fastened in numerous locations, while a rail mount is designed to carry heavier loads but is confined to the coverage area of an overhead track system.
Chain Hoists Offer a Threefold Medley of Lifting Power
It would be difficult to find a finer example of mechanical certitude than the venerable chain hoist. A stripped down version of this invaluable lifter uses only a few vertically hanging components. A strong steel chain passes across gears and pulleys before extending down to a lifting hook and a loose handling loop. This manual device lifts and lowers cargo by translating the cycling action of the chain into raw vertical movement, a physically intense process that's only made possible by gear ratio engineering physics as introduced by the gear train assembly located inside the housing. Of course, the above design is a basic example of a time-proven design. Crane hoists of today are robust machines that come equipped with dozens of features. Additionally, the manual control example has now expanded to encompass two additional energy sources. Take a look at three primary power sets used to drive chain hoists:
- Manually operated
- The electric chain hoist
- Pneumatically operated variants
The flexibility of the evolving design never compromises the simplicity of the mechanism, but the core gearing assembly is now ably assisted by supplemental technologies. An electric cable winds ceiling-ward with the chain to incorporate three-phase motorized control. Air brake plates and pneumatic inlets deliver the benefits of fluid dynamics. Meanwhile, manual control remains staunchly in place as a secondary governing mechanism, with the signature presence of the suspended chain hanging low and ready for an energetic pull.
A Closer Look at Chain Hoist Housings
Sealed in a lubricating bath but still designed to open with minimal effort when maintenance is due, the pulleys adopt multiple size profiles to realize a productive gear ration configuration. The advantages of this arrangement are twofold. First of all, the chain pulls without effort and moves swiftly through the hands of the supervising worker. Secondly, an invaluable ratcheting action is incorporated into the design. This ratchet mechanism complements user effort by ensuring a dangerously heavy load remains static even when the chain isn't being held. In short, the burden of the load is placed on the mechanism and not the man.
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