Shannahan Crane & Hoist

8 Warning Signs to Modernize Crane Systems

An overhead bridge crane is one of the most important pieces of equipment you’ll use. It has a wide variety of uses in many different industries, and your crane systems will make the job much safer and more efficient.

However, nothing lasts forever, and the last thing you want is a crane causing loss of production and possibly the risk of injuries on the job because it’s breaking down.

It may be time to update your crane systems in Kansas City and the Saint Louis areas.

Here are eight warning signs that you need to modernize a crane system.

It’s High Maintenance

If you’re using a brand new crane and hoist, the chances are that it’ll work without any problems. Older cranes, however, require more upkeep and repairs.

Not only does that upkeep take up time to order new parts and perform maintenance, but it means that your workers are using equipment that could potentially break down on them. In addition to loss of production it also could put your workers in danger and open up your business for a lawsuit.

Repeated unplanned downtime is a big sign that you should call in a specialist to evaluate your crane

The Job Has Changed

One reason to update your crane and hoist systems is if the requirements of the job have changed. Just because they’ve worked well for you for years without issue doesn’t mean they’re still up for the job.

For example, you may have another production shift added to the schedule, and now they’re expected to lift different or heavier materials. Maybe your cranes aren’t working fast enough, or the controls aren’t as precise as they need to be.

Not all overhead crane systems are made the same. When yours was initially designed, it was specified for a specific crane service classification.

If the job has changed, the system has to change to match.

Signs of Corrosion

For an industry using cranes in a wet enviroment or an outdoor area, equipment corrosion is something to be aware of. If any rust appears externally, that usually indicates more serious problems inside the machinery. 

Corrosion left unchecked can cause isssues with your controls and the structural integrity of the crane.

Inspection Issues

Inspections are the main way you’ll figure out if you need to replace your overhead crane system. Not only will they help keep you in compliance with industry standards, but they identify issues with the system.

Not only are there guidelines for the frequency of crane inspections, but a regular inspection schedule can keep the operator and other personnel safe on the job.

Industry sanctioning bodies like OSHA have their standards located online, which can help guide you in modernizing your overhead crane system.

Replacements Parts Are Scarce

When older crane systems go out of circulation, so do their parts. As such, if you’re still using an older crane, it can be difficult to find replacement parts when something breaks down.

The manufacturer could be out of business. The parts themselves might have been replaced in recent iterations for better alternatives.

If you’re lucky, a crane service company might be able to reverse engineer parts for your older crane system, but that’ll usually cost you extra. The best solution is to take it as a sign to invest in a new crane system, rather than trying to keep an old one alive.

Your Crane Systems Are Outdated

Most of the previously mentioned warning signs come from using crane systems that are older or outdated. Older cranes also suffer from a lack of smart connectivity that newer models have.

For example, newer cranes may incorporate radio controls in their designs. This allows operators to have clearer vantage points to identify obstacles. The majority of new cranes include variable frequency controls which can provide infinitely variable speed control of all motions

A crane’s lifespan depends on a number of factors, including total operating time and the environment it’s used in. However, anything over 10 years old is expected to need more frequent inspections to make sure it’s up to code.

Warranties Have Expired

One of the more obvious signs that you need to modernize a crane system is if the warranties for the crane parts have expired. 

Like other warranties, a manufacturer or supplier warranty helps to provide a guideline on your equipment’s lifespan.

When that warranty expires, you have to pay extra to get replacement parts. It’ll be cheaper and safer in the long run if you invest in new equipment that won’t require expensive repairs or cause work accidents.

It’s a Safety Hazard

Speaking of accidents, your crane system probably needs to be upgraded if it’s become a safety hazard.

The most common causes of crane accident injuries are when the crane mechanics or rigging fails, the crane drops heavy materials, and other similar issues occur. Not only do these incidents set back production and workflow, but they can cause serious injury to your workers.

Keep track of the number of injuries and malfunctions associated with your crane.

Even if your crane isn’t that old, it’s possible that it’s being used for the wrong kind of job. In that case, investing in a new crane system should be considered a required upgrade.

Modernize Your Crane System

In many industries, an overhead crane system is a necessary piece of equipment that you can’t afford to fail on you. As long as you pay attention to the warning signs, however, you can get ahead of the problem.

We can help you modernize cranes in Saint Louis as well as perform repair services on your crane systems in Kansas City. Reach out to us for your lifting solution questions or if you’re in need of 24-hour emergency service.

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