#Rides Maintenance
31441 dated 14.07.2019
Published by
Enrico Fabbri
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It is an indispensable work tool for operators' weekly work. But how long is this tool's lifespan to avoid problems?
by Enrico Fabbri

A chain hoist is an indispensable tool for assembling and disassembling attractions. It is used to lift parts of attractions such as cars or platforms. Often the operator, his child or employees, help with the maneuvering phases in very close positions. All operators know that a failure of the chain or the chain hoist brake can cause very important problems.

Chain hoist are commonly used up to a failure. What you don't know is that the life of the chain hoist is calculated from the beginning to the time of the project and construction. So it is absolutely certain that it will fail after a certain number of hours. Therefore, when buying a chain hoist, it is important to understand how long it can be used and then replace it in time. This warning can save you from important problems.

A chain hoist is a complex machine, in addition to the chain it has a gearbox and a negative brake. When you operate a chain hoist the brake is opened and the chain moves in the required direction thanks to the reducer.

So let's see how the main elements work. The brake is usually negative, electric and therefore with friction action. It is a component subject to wear of the friction disc and the springs that push the friction disc. Therefore with increasing operating cycles it stops working. The gearbox is a very compact component to reduce weight made with toothed mechanisms that are subject to wear especially based on the weight that is lifted over time. The chain is also a mechanical component, they are sized according to the weight to be lifted and wear out by friction on the gear of the gearbox. Often operators act on the chain hoist button for short periods to facilitate operations, this activity also called INCHING can reduce the life of the chain hoist if it is frequently carried out.
When you buy a chain hoist you usually pay attention to the maximum weight you can lift, but this is not the only important element.
In fact, a chain hoist is designed and built even taking into account the load of use and the time used. In fact the chain hoist usually has to do continuous operations always the same, let's imagine in the workshop, so there will be heavy objects that engage 100% of its capacity and lighter objects. So the usage load tries to identify the average weight to be lifted. The usage time instead takes into account how long you plan to use the chain hoist with that predetermined load. The crossing of these factors results in usage classes usually referred to as M1, M2, M3, M4 ... M8. The abbreviation M1 corresponds to a lifespan of the chain hoist at less than 800 hours of use, while M2 corresponds to 1,600 hours, thus progressively doubling the lifespan for each subsequent step.

The interesting point is that if you buy a chain hoist in class M1 it costs less (and is lighter) than a chain hoist in class M4 (much heavier). If you think you are saving by buying the first one you are wrong, because it is likely that you will have to replace it after a few years. The classes of the chain hoist are written in the manual which must then be analyzed and discussed with the dealer.

If you love your children and other people who work with you, please be very careful. Replace your chain hoist according to the use you make and in any case every 5/7 years. Its duration is limited in time. I also remind you that normal chain hoists are not built to lift people.

Written by Mr. Enrico Fabbri enrico@fabbrirides.com
Original date: July 2019

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