There are many rigging tools used to hoist items during construction projects and to make carrying loads possible. Proper rigging is a critical component of a successful crane operation and should always be done by a professional, so it’s important to make sure you have the right equipment for your project.
What is Rigging Hardware?
Rigging hardware refers to the different equipment used to lift and move loads in a crane system securely. It also includes the tools used to distribute the weight of the load evenly while hoisting. There are many different types of crane rigging equipment. Each kind of equipment is used in various applications, like construction and event management.
Tips for Using the Right Rigging Hardware
In the lifting and rigging industry, the right equipment not only means that the work is done efficiently but also everyone is kept safe on the site.
Before you decide which rigging equipment is the best for your project, a few things to consider are:
- The environment and weather of your site: Some rigging equipment may not be the best in certain climates, such as extreme cold, heat, or salty environments. For example, projects around saltwater bodies may require stainless steel hardware to guard against rust.
- The quality of the rigging materials: inexpensive rigging hardware can cost you more long term. You’ll need to get your equipment from reputable sources to ensure that your site is safe and the hardware doesn’t wear out too quickly.
- The materials you’re lifting and load limits: Every rigging hardware comes with a working load limit, which is the heaviest weight that it can handle safely without malfunction. You’ll need to know how heavy your load is to ascertain that all hardware you get can handle it.
Knowing the terminology of different types of crane rigging equipment will ensure you have the right kind for your project. Here are some of the most commonly used rigging hardware.
Types of Crane Rigging Hardware
Eye Bolts & Steel Nuts
Eyebolts are used as anchor points or for looping cables in rigging systems. There are two types of eye bolts: shouldered bolts and non-shouldered bolts, which are also known as straight bolts. Shouldered bolts are primarily used when loading at an angle, while non-shouldered eye bolts are used in a vertical rig system.
The type of eye bolt used depends on:
- The weight of the load
- The type of sling used
- The angle of loading, whether inline or at an angle
- The frame on which the bolt is secured to a material such as wood, metal, etc.
Stainless steel nuts are used together with eye bolts. There are various nuts used in rigging, including wing nuts, dome nuts, ball ends, and hex nuts. The type of nuts used also depends on the thread, which can be either right-hand or left-hand. The total weight of the load will determine the size of the steel nut used.
Rigging hooks are made to lift heavy objects without slipping. They are typically made from forged alloy steel.
Some types of rigging hooks include:
- Sorting hooks
- Choker hooks
- Clevis grab
- Eye hooks
Depending on the materials being moved, the rigging hooks are selected based on their weight load indication and hook opening size, also known as the throat. Hook opening sizes range from 5/8 inch to 1 17/32 inch.
Other factors that determine the choice of rigging hooks include:
- The angle of the lift
- The weight of the materials lifted
- The connection points on the top and bottom of the hook
- The type of shackles used
The hooks can be used either as a lifting hook, hoist hook, or sling hook. While using hooks, especially the hoist hook, it is essential to check for cracks, bending, and other signs of strain to prevent further damage and accidents.
Wire rope is an incredibly durable and highly resistant cable used in rigging. There are plenty of sizes and configurations of wire rope made from different materials. Wire rope is made up of a core with wires and strands coiled in a spiral pattern around the core.
The strength and use of steel wire rope vary by:
- The diameter of the rope
- The material used for the wire rope’s core
- The grade of steel used
- The type of wire finish used, whether galvanized, bright steel, or stainless steel
- The number of strands used
Standard wire rope sizes include 6×19, 6×36, 6×26, 7×7, and 7×19.
Wire ropes are typically used with other rigging accessories such as clips, thimbles, sleeves, stops, and slings. Although wire rope is built for outdoor use, it still needs to be regularly inspected for wear, corrosion, and broken wires.
Spreader Bars and Lifting Beams
Lifting beams and spreader bars — also known as spreader beams — are used to connect the crane and the load. The main difference between the two is that lifting beams carry all the weight from a single point, while spreader beams spread the load over a wider area.
Lifting beams are used to carry lighter loads or weak ones that require additional support. They are often thicker and heavier than spreader bars since they take all the pressure at one connection point and can easily bend.
Spreader bars are used to make carrying loads more manageable and stable by distributing the load on multiple connection points. They are often brought in when the load is too heavy to be lifted from one connection point. They are connected to the rigging equipment using a sling.
Pulleys & Blocks
Pulleys and blocks are a staple for lifting very heavy weights. They help to move hefty objects without using excessive force. Your choice of pulley depends on the rope you’re using, the frame type, and the sheave size.
There are several types of lifting blocks as well, including:
- Swivel blocks
- Square blocks
- Tilt-up blocks
- Snatch blocks
Pulleys can be used either as a single or double system. The system works by circling the pulleys with rigging ropes, which are then hooked to the objects to lift.
Different types of rigging ropes are used based on the weight of the materials. Wire rope is typically attached to the lifting blocks. This is because lifting blocks usually carry more weight which the wire ropes handle well. Synthetic rope is commonly used with pulleys. Blocks and pulleys come in a broad spectrum of sizes capable of lifting and moving up to 30 tons.
Other Types of Rigging Hardware
There is still plenty of other rigging hardware you’d expect to see on a site.
- Shackles: These are used to connect chains, ropes, or slings to each other or a load.
- Synthetic slings: Synthetic slings are lightweight, flexible lifting slings used to grip and hoist various loads.
- Turnbuckles: Turnbuckles are used to adjust the tension on a rope, chain, or other rigging equipment with tension.
- Tie-down straps: These are used to safely secure the load being transported or lifted.
Rigging Hardware Safety
Since rigging involves carrying heavy loads, it must be done in the safest way possible to avoid causing accidents.
Some safety tips you can use when using rigging hardware include:
- Only use rigging equipment that is in proper condition. Cracks, bends, stretches, and missing parts reduce the safety of the equipment and increase the risk under heavy loads. Any faulty equipment should be repaired or replaced before using the rig.
- Use the equipment according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Each rigging hardware has its specifications, such as the maximum weight it can bear, the right angles to use them, and how to connect them to the lifting equipment. Ensure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions in the crane rigging charts as you use them.
- A professional should regularly inspect the equipment before use. If the hardware requires servicing, it should also be done promptly to ensure the equipment runs smoothly and lasts longer.
- Avoid working under a suspended load or leaving anything suspended on the rig.
- Ensure that the load is well secured and balanced on the rigging equipment to keep it from tipping, rotating, or falling.
If you’re looking for crane rigging equipment in Houston, Texas for your next project, Maxim Crane Works has you covered. Aside from our fleet of modern cranes, we can help you get the right rigging equipment you need. We have both heavy rigging equipment and specialized rigging equipment to handle all kinds of projects. Get in touch with our team of experts to find out how you can find the equipment that perfectly suits your needs.