When the time comes to move, hold, load, or distribute heavy objects, you will need to use specialized rigging equipment. This equipment securely connects the load to lifting machinery such as hoists or cranes, allowing you to move objects from one point to another. Specialty rigging equipment is frequently used by businesses in the construction, manufacturing, transportation, and event staging sectors.
The Difference between Rigging and Lifting Equipment
Lifting and rigging frequently work together to make big projects more safe and more effective. On-site, these two carry out distinct and different tasks. It’s worth discussing the differences between these two important parts of this industry, as well as how they work together.
As mentioned, lifting equipment and specialized rigging equipment have different functions. Consider them to work in synchrony though. While lifting equipment is responsible for the actual hoisting, rigging is used for setting everything up.
Riggers set up the equipment required to help lift the enormous weight of machinery, equipment, or materials. Riggers use a variety of equipment to secure the load, making sure they don’t come loose, or worse, fall off. The item is ready to be transported after a rigger has used their specialized rigging equipment to ensure the load is secure and ready for transport.
Lifting is needed at this point. This entails moving and positioning both people and materials throughout the site while safely relocating the heavy object or material.
Rigging tools include turnbuckles, wire ropes, jacks, and bolts that are used with cranes and other lifting equipment. Forklifts, boom lifts, overhead cranes, hoists, gantry systems, and other tools are used to lift, transport, and lower heavy loads. Just as there is specialty lifting equipment, there is also specialty rigging equipment.
Examples of Specialized Rigging Equipment
Different types of tools with a range of functionalities are needed for rigging tasks. It is essential to understand what they are and how they work in order to ensure a safe and successful project.
Here are some examples of the primary rigging equipment categories:
Lifting Beams & Spreader Bars
Spreader bars are the ideal tool to utilize while lifting heavy objects. This specialized rigging equipment does exactly what its name suggests—it spreads out the load and makes it simpler to carry. By comparison, as they can support the entire weight of a load from a single point, lifting beams are more suited for lighter loads.
During lifting, these devices link the lifted object to the crane. For a more controllable lift, they stabilize the load’s weight. Using them will depend on the kind of load that needs to be supported.
The length or tension of a cable, chain, rope, or other pieces of tensioned rigging equipment can be changed using a turnbuckle. It is equipped with two threaded eye bolts, one of which is fastened to each end of a small metal frame. A turnbuckle comes in two varieties: a bottle screw and a stretching screw.
When anchoring a rigging system, steel nuts and eye bolts frequently function together to ensure a secure and stable connection. These fasteners are available in a variety of sizes and configurations that are appropriate for various rigging applications. The choice will be based on the load’s overall weight and the type of thread being used (right-hand or left-hand).
Steel fasteners come in the following varieties:
- Dome nuts
- Ball ends
- Hex nuts
- Lifting eye nuts
In rigging applications, an eye bolt serves as an anchor point and loops cables. Depending on their needs, riggers can choose from a variety of sizes and materials for it. The common varieties of eye bolts are listed below:
Non-shouldered/straight bolts – used for raising items vertically
Shouldered bolts – used to load equipment at an angle
Other bolts – include specialty fasteners such as U-bolts and screw eye bolts
Blocks & Pulleys
Blocks and pulleys work together to lift big objects with minimal force. They offer sufficient support while decreasing the force needed to lift a load.
A rigging rope that has been looped around the pulley and fastened to the item makes the pulley function. While moving the load, it holds the rope. Depending on the type of frame, rope, and sheave size employed, it comes in a variety of sizes.
The block also acts as a stabilizing force by supporting the weight of the rope during the procedure. Snatch blocks, square blocks, and swivel blocks are some of the most popular types.
With the use of wire ropes and a flexible, light piece of equipment called a sling, big objects can be lifted easily. A sling offers stability and strength for transporting heavy weights around the job site. There are two varieties, both built with strong synthetic materials:
- Eye-and-eye slings are constructed of metal, nylon, polyester, or triangular, flat, or twisted ends.
- Endless slings assume the form of an infinite loop
During the lifting process, wire ropes sustain the load’s form. Lifting and moving heavy loads puts extreme amounts of pressure and force on the item being moved. To safely connect and move the cargo, it is frequently mounted to the crane using wire ropes along with hooks, shackles, or swivels.
Each rope must be one continuous piece without a knot, per OSHA 1926.251(c)(4). It shouldn’t have eye splices and endless rope slings at the wire end. Additionally, every rope’s eye splice should only contain three complete tucks.
The strength and application of a wire rope depend on the following factors:
- Diameter (the most prevalent varieties being 6 x 19 and 6 x 37)
- Grade of Steel used
- Finish (bright steel, galvanized, stainless steel)
Shackles & Hooks
During the moving process, chains, ropes, slings, and other rigging equipment are connected by rigging hooks or shackles. Heavy loads are kept from slipping while in the air by ensuring a firm grip on them using these shackles and hooks.
Hooks and shackles normally consist of two components: a safety pin to secure it and a loop of steel connected to a chain. Choker hooks, eye hooks, clevis grabs, and sorting hooks are a few of the most used rigging hooks.
The following set of factors must be taken into account when choosing the appropriate kind of rigging hook to use:
- The hoist’s angle
- The hook opening’s dimensions (ranging from 5/8 inches to 1 17/32 inches)
- the hook’s top and bottom connection points
- The item to be moved
- The overall load weight
Specialized Rigging Equipment Safety
Rigging calls for the movement of huge weights, thus it must be done as safely as possible to prevent mishaps. Here are some basic safety tips that should always be remembered;
- To prevent the load from tipping, spinning, or falling, make sure it is securely fastened and balanced before attempting to move it.
- Prior to use, any defective equipment should be fixed or replaced. Utilize only properly maintained rigging equipment. Under severe loads, the equipment’s safety is compromised by cracks, bends, stretches, and missing components, which raises the risk.
- A suspended load should not be worked under, and nothing should be left hanging on the rig.
- Make sure to adhere to the crane rigging charts’ manufacturer guidelines. Utilize the equipment as directed by the manufacturer. There are precise requirements for each piece of rigging hardware, including the maximum weight it can support, the proper angles to utilize them at, and how to attach them to the lifting equipment.
- Before usage, the equipment should routinely be inspected by a specialist. If the hardware needs to be serviced, it should be done as soon as possible to ensure smooth operation and a longer equipment lifespan.
Specialty Rigging in a Nutshell
Rigging is all about large equipment, heavy loads, and powerful machinery. With all the dynamics associated with this type of work, it is wise to know exactly how to use the specialized rigging equipment. At Murphy, we take decades of experience, along with the most modern equipment and machinery in the rigging and millwright industry, and we use them to help companies safely and efficiently complete their projects.
Whether you need assistance with a plant relocation, new equipment installation, or over-the-road transportation project, our team can help guide you to success. Reach out to schedule your consultation and get your project started on the right foot.