Author: Joe Runyon

Joe Runyon is a Vertical Market Specialist for Oil & Gas at Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

Using Cranes and Hoists in Hazardous Areas Part 3: Space Constraint Challenges and Solutions

Using Cranes and Hoists in Hazardous Areas Part 3: Space Constraint Challenges and Solutions

space constraint challenges space constraint challenges

This article is Part 3 of a 3-part blog series that will provide an overview of safe practices for the use of material handling equipment in hazardous environments. Today, we’ll discuss space constraint challenges and solutions.

In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, I discussed issues with compliance to NEC and IEC standards, the need for mechanical spark resistance and the importance of corrosion protection for safety in hazardous environments. In this blog, the final installment of the series, we’ll outline the challenges of working in areas with space constraints and how these challenges are magnified in hazardous areas. We will also identify solutions to these potential problems.

Space Constraint Challenges

Classified hazardous areas frequently exist within confined spaces, especially in the mining and oil & gas industries. In mining, tunnels often have low overhead clearance in areas where coal or other flammable dust may be present. In the oil and gas industry, designers of offshore facilities typically look to minimize the overall size of the structure, which can lead to low headroom between deck levels and tight clearances for monorails and crane runways.
In all of these situations, there is a need for overhead lifting equipment that is compact in design, including low headroom and short side clearances, as well as a short “end approach” to maximize the deck coverage area served by the monorail hoist or crane.

This need for compact hoists, trolleys and cranes is often complicated by the possibility that flammable gases or dust may be present in the areas where the equipment is used. Therefore, explosion-proof and spark-resistant features may be needed, each posing their own challenges given the space constraints. For example, explosion-proof electric motors and control enclosures are typically larger and heavier than those for non-hazardous areas. Spark-resistant bronze load blocks and hooks tend to be larger than carbon or alloy steel hooks and blocks with the same safe working load. Also, the use of spark-resistant stainless steel load chain or wire rope often requires the equipment capacity to be de-rated due to lower tensile strength of stainless versus alloy steel. This de-rating can sometimes result in larger, heavier and more costly hoists and cranes.

Solutions

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when specifying or purchasing lifting equipment for hazardous locations with space limitations. When dimensional constraints within facilities and working environments compete with the need to comply with hazardous area requirements, the safety of personnel, equipment and facilities themselves must always take precedence in our decision making.

Fortunately, there are a variety of equipment options available, featuring spark- and corrosion-resistant materials and explosion-proof components, that can be used in confined areas. Low-headroom hoists are offered in both wire rope and chain varieties, including manual, electric and pneumatic models.

Wire rope hoists can typically provide higher capacities and faster lifting speeds, while chain hoists can offer smaller overall dimensional envelopes to optimize end approach and clearance. Solid bronze and stainless steel components can provide lasting protection against sparking and corrosion, but, in some applications, copper or nickel plating can be substituted to provide lower headroom dimensions and reduce the need for de-rating of safe working loads.

Columbus McKinnon provides solutions for all of these challenges. The Chester brand is best known for its ultra-low headroom models. The industry-leading, low-profile designs and rugged durability of Chester hoists make them ideal for harsh marine environments and confined spaces between decks on ships and offshore oil facilities. Yale Cable King wire rope hoists and Yale crane component products also provide a broad range of capacities and configurations and can be engineered with explosion-proof and spark-resistant features.

Regardless of your industry or where you do business, Columbus McKinnon has the hoists, cranes and application expertise to keep your people, materials and equipment safe in classified hazardous and corrosive environments.

space constraint challengesspace constraint challenges

Additional Resources:
Using Cranes and Hoists in Hazardous Areas Part 1: The Need for Spark Resistance
Using Cranes and Hoists in Hazardous Areas Part 2: The Need for Corrosion Resistance

Joe Runyon

Joe Runyon is a Vertical Market Specialist for Oil & Gas at Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

Using Cranes and Hoists in Hazardous Areas Part 2: The Need for Corrosion Resistance

Using Cranes and Hoists in Hazardous Areas Part 2: The Need for Corrosion Resistance

Refinery 1Refinery 2

This article is Part 2 of a 3-part blog series that will provide an overview of safe practices for the use of material handling equipment in hazardous environments. Today, we’ll discuss the need for corrosion resistance.

As we established in Part 1 of this series, lifting equipment used in classified hazardous locations must be compliant with NEC, IEC or other applicable standards. Care should also be taken to ensure mechanical spark resistance for critical components, such as load blocks, hooks, trolley wheels, load brake and lifting mediums like chain and wire rope, in these locations. In addition to spark resistance, corrosion protection for lifting equipment is equally important in these environments to ensure the safety of personnel, equipment and the facility itself.

First, it should be noted that many classified hazardous areas exist outdoors, exposing lifting equipment to direct and often harsh weather. This includes applications such as offshore oil platforms, natural gas processing plants and refineries – to name a few. Specifically in offshore facilities, equipment may be exposed to splash zones, salt spray and the condensation of salt-laden air. In addition to harsh and corrosive weather conditions, sulfur, mineral acids and other corrosive agents are often present in the crude oil and natural gas that is being produced, processed and transported in these facilities, working to further corrode lifting equipment used in these environments.

Corroded pipe Refinery 3The total cost of corrosion can be tremendous, adding up to billions of dollars each year in the oil and gas industry alone. For these companies, the cost of repairing and replacing corroded lifting equipment paired with unscheduled maintenance, downtime and lost production can have a major impact on their profitability. In addition, corroded load blocks, hooks, chains and cables can result in catastrophic equipment failure. Not only can this cause costly damage to equipment and the facility, but most importantly, it can injure or even kill operators and other individuals in the facility.

Chain rusty iron rope

So how do you protect lifting equipment from corrosion?

The use of corrosion-resistant materials for load blocks, hooks, chains, cables and other components is critical. And, since surface corrosion can increase the friction between mating components, corrosion prevention can also be important in maintaining mechanical spark resistance when using these products in classified hazardous environments.
Columbus McKinnon offers a variety of solutions for these challenges, in the form of a wide range lifting products with spark and corrosion resistant materials and coatings. We also offer application engineering assistance to help you determine the right solution for your application. Choose from specially engineered products with:

  • Solid bronze hooks, bottom blocks and trolley wheels
  • Lightweight aluminum housings
  • Stainless steel load and hand chain
  • Multi-coat epoxy finishes
  • Zinc-aluminum corrosion-resistant finish

In addition to corrosion-resistant materials and finishes, we also suggest proper hoist lubrication to prevent sparking. These measures, combined with a robust inspection and preventative maintenance program that includes pre-lift inspections, play a critical role in ensuring the dependability and safe operation of lifting equipment in these harsh environments.

Regardless of your industry or where you do business. Columbus McKinnon has the hoists and cranes to keep your people, materials and equipment safe in hazardous areas. Learn more about our corrosion-resistant products:

Additional Resources:
Using Cranes and Hoists in Hazardous Areas Part 1: The Need for Spark Resistance

Joe Runyon

Joe Runyon is a Vertical Market Specialist for Oil & Gas at Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

Using Cranes and Hoists in Hazardous Areas Part 1: The Need For Spark Resistance

Using Cranes and Hoists in Hazardous Areas Part 1: The Need For Spark Resistance

This article is Part 1 of a 3-part blog series that will provide an overview of safe practices for the use of material handling equipment in hazardous environments. Today, we’ll discuss the need for spark resistance.

Oil Rig
Photo Courtesy of www.energyindustryphotos.com

Across a variety of industries, ranging from upstream oil and gas and refining to agriculture and wood working, potentially flammable atmospheres can exist. These hazardous areas can present a unique set of challenges for material handling equipment and can pose a serious threat to materials, equipment and, most importantly, personnel.

In the U.S., NFPA 70, part of the National Electric Code (NEC), addresses the design and installation of electrical conductors and equipment in hazardous areas, but does not specifically provide guidelines for mechanical equipment used in these same hazardous locations.

The Importance of Spark Resistance

The NEC breaks down hazardous areas into different types of explosive atmospheres, two of which are those involving flammable gases and those involving dusts. These hazard Classes are further clarified by Group and Division as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1
Figure 1

It is generally understood that friction between certain materials can cause sparks sufficient enough to ignite flammable gas or dust. A cigarette lighter or an antique flintlock musket are familiar examples of this. Obviously the type and concentration/dilution of gases in an area is one element that affects potential ignition from a mechanically generated source, but other key factors could include:

  • The type materials making contact
  • The speed/pressure with which the materials come into contact
  • Corrosion on one or more of the contacting surfaces
  • Lubrication

As with our cigarette lighter and flintlock examples, it is understood that contact between steel surfaces can create sparks. Steel is commonly used in most hoists and cranes for load-bearing components such as hooks, lower blocks, load chain and trolley wheels, and therefore may not be suitable for some hazardous environments.

To address this potential risk, Columbus McKinnon uses materials such as copper, bronze, and austenitic stainless steel, which are generally considered non-sparking, for coatings or as material substitutions for enhanced spark resistance. Not only are these materials spark resistant, but they can also protect against corrosion. Since surface corrosion can increase friction between mating components, corrosion prevention is also important when using material handling products in hazardous environments.

We specially engineer a variety of products with spark-resistant components and finishes, including:

  • Solid bronze hooks, bottom blocks and trolley wheels
  • Bronze plated components
  • Stainless steel load and hand chain
  • Multi-coat epoxy finishes
  • Zinc-aluminum corrosion-resistant finish

Regardless of your industry or where you do business. CMCO has the hoists and cranes to keep your people, materials and equipment safe in hazardous areas. Learn more about our spark-resistant products:

Joe Runyon

Joe Runyon is a Vertical Market Specialist for Oil & Gas at Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

Chester Hoist Develops Hand Chain Hoist for Demanding Customer Application

Chester Hoist Develops Hand Chain Hoist for Demanding Customer Application

Chester Hoist application

Chester Hoist, a Columbus McKinnon brand, specializes in the design and manufacture of high-quality, custom-made hoists for unique and challenging applications. So, when our customer came to us with a special need for a hand chain hoist to raise and move large rolls, Chester Hoist was put to the task.

The customer had a long list of specific requirements that the hoist needed to meet. Requirements included:

  • 4-point pickup hand chain hoist with an incorporated hand geared trolley to run inside of 5” channels
  • Hook spacing that had to be 12” perpendicular to the runway and spaced to accommodate the 12” diameter roll parallel to the runway
  • 42” hand wheel extensions on the trolley and hoist mechanism
  • The ability to time all four hooks to raise simultaneously
  • Chain containers
  • 13” maximum headroom

To meet these requirements, our Chester Hoist engineering team started with a standard 4-plate low head and severely modified the unit. The real challenge the team faced was coming up with suitable hook spacing and to run the hooks in opposite directions with a single hoist mechanism.

Chester Hoist application

The trolley and hoist hand wheels were mounted on a separate support trolley located 30.5” outside the hoist trolley channels.

Special gearing and sheave arrangements were added to the modified low-headroom hoist. Because of low operating height, the customer also required special guards over the gearing. The Chester team fabricated special shields to fit between the outboard and inboard side plates to guard the gearing arrangement.

To achieve the 13” headroom within the compact design, a special roller chain trolley drive was incorporated into the unit.

When the custom engineering was complete, the team provided the customer with a hoist that met all of their requirements and could be used to raise and move large rolls for their application.

Chester Hoist specializes in developing specially engineered products for unique applications ranging from low headroom manual hoists for military applications to spark-resistant hoist and trolley combinations for use on offshore oil platforms. Let us know how we can help you with your application!

 

Joe Runyon

Joe Runyon is a Vertical Market Specialist for Oil & Gas at Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

Is Your Material Handling Equipment Tough Enough for Arctic Environments?

Is Your Material Handling Equipment Tough Enough for Arctic Environments?

arctic environments arctic environments

With increasing demand for the exploration and production of natural resources in North Dakota, Alaska and other northern regions in the U.S. and Canada, there is a growing need for cranes and lifting equipment that can withstand exposure to ultra-cold temperatures. When selecting and specifying these products, careful consideration must be given to site conditions that could affect the safety and use of these heavy-duty lifting devices.

Choosing the correct hoists, cranes or rigging products for an application is always critically important due to the inherent risks involved in overhead lifting.

If specified incorrectly, the potential for costly equipment damage, personal injury and lost productivity resulting from failure of overhead lifting equipment can be very significant. While reputable manufacturers of lifting equipment utilize sound engineering, quality materials and have safety factors designed into their equipment, it is important to note that most manufacturers’ standard capacity ratings and duty classes do not take into account the impact that extreme cold temperatures can have on structural steel and other construction materials. This fact is borne out in a variety of industry standards.
Some of these include:

  • ASME (The American Society of Mechanical Engineers) ASME HST-2-1999 Performance Standard for Hand Chain Manually Operated Chain Hoists states “The hoists and trolleys covered by this Standard are intended for industrial use in ambient temperatures from 0° F (-18° C) to 130° F (54° C).”
  • ASME HST-1-1999 Performance Standard for Electric Chain Hoists and ASME HST-4 Performance Standard for Overhead Electric Wire Rope Hoists both state “hoist equipment is designed to operate in ambient temperatures between 0° F (-18° C) and 104° F (40° C).”
  • DNV Standard for Certification No. 2.22 Lifting Appliances, June 2013 states that for shipboard/industrial cranes (including derrick crane, gantry crane, overhead traveling crane, knuckle boom cranes) if not otherwise specified a design temperature of -10° C (14° F) shall be applied. This is a reference temperature to be used as a criterion for the selection of steel grades.
  • ASME B30.20 Below the Hook Lifting Devices states that additional considerations need to be taken if the working temperature is outside the range of -4 degrees C to 66 degrees C. It suggests that engineers either de-rate the capacity or use steel that is better suited for low temperature service.

The Impact of Cold on Steel and other Construction Materials

These and other standards reinforce the point that “standard” lifting equipment may not be suitable for use in extreme cold. The temperature limitations set forth in these documents may vary slightly from one standard to another, but they all recognize that temperature can negatively affect the safe working capacity of lifting equipment.
Cold temperatures can adversely affect the tensile toughness of many commonly used materials. Tensile toughness is a measure of a material’s brittleness or ductility. Ductile materials can absorb a significant amount of impact energy before fracturing, resulting in deformations (bending) that can alert the operator to an overload situation before a failure occurs. Brittle materials, on the other hand, can shatter on impact. Many materials experience a shift from ductile to brittle if the temperature drops below a certain point. The temperature at which this shift occurs is commonly known as the “ductile-to-brittle-transition” temperature (DBTT). Any brittle failure will be catastrophic and the failure will not necessarily be predictable. It can occur from a random impact, dynamic loading or can propagate out of a stress riser such as a crack or nick.

The Effect of Cold on Other Components

In addition to the effects of cold on steel and other construction materials, we must also consider the suitability of items such as motors, control components, hydraulic fluids, gear box lubricants and welding in these environments. It is important to consider the minimum ambient temperatures that may be present in the location that the hoist, crane or rigging will be used. Cold can cause some oil to become so thick that it cannot be pumped or be relied on as a “splash lubricant”. Grease can become stiff and solidify, causing grease-lubricated rotating parts to seize up.

Ensure Safety when Selecting Lifting Equipment for Arctic Environments

Reading and understanding applicable safety standards and consulting with experienced and reputable equipment manufacturers are two important steps in ensuring operator and facility safety when selecting hoists, cranes and rigging equipment for cold temperature applications.

  • Columbus McKinnon offers cranes, hoists, trolleys and rigging hardware designed and manufactured to order in North America, rather than being mass produced and warehoused. Many of these products lend themselves to modification and substitution of materials, allowing the equipment to be tailored to a specific application. Our Application Engineers are available to work with customers to determine the correct equipment, special componentry and any required design modifications based on a customer’s operating environment, capacity, and service requirements.
  •  Chester Hoist and Yale Cable King hoists, trolleys and crane components can be offered with special cold temperature steels, heated control enclosures, gear box heaters, artic-duty motors, low-temperature lubricants, special material certification (Charpy’s V- Notch ), material traceability reports, NDT of load bearing welds, and certificate of suitability for arctic duty (includes minimum temperature rating).
  •  CM DNV Shackles and DNV Master Sub- Assemblies are certified to meet DNV standards for Offshore Container Specifications and comply with DNV Lifting Appliances Requirements. These products also exceed Charpy’s V-notch impact strength of 42 Joules at -20°C (31 ft-lb at -4°F) as per DNV 2.7-1.

Working with Columbus McKinnon Application Engineers to address your low-temperature equipment needs, along with adhering to proper maintenance procedures and operator training, should allow for safe and uninterrupted operation of hoists and cranes even during periods of extreme cold. Be sure to take into consideration the specific stresses that cold-temperatures put on heavy-duty lifting products to keep your workers safe and prevent dangerous accidents on your worksites.

Joe Runyon

Joe Runyon is a Vertical Market Specialist for Oil & Gas at Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

How to Choose Hoists & Cranes for Offshore Applications

How to Choose Hoists & Cranes for Offshore Applications

Proper selection and specification of hoists, cranes and rigging hardware is always essential to safe overhead lifting, but in no environment is this more critical than on offshore oil and gas facilities.

In offshore oil and gas applications, there is a higher potential for flammable gases to be present. Therefore it is extremely important that proper safety precautions are taken to protect workers aboard these vessels and prevent equipment damage. It is important that the individuals responsible for specifying and purchasing material handling equipment for use in these environments can properly identify any hazardous locations or areas per the U.S. National Electric Code (NFPA 70), IEC Standard 60079, and other applicable local, national and international standards to ensure compliance with these regulations and safe operation. Additionally, the use of mechanically spark-resistant materials should be strongly considered, although these materials are not specifically addressed within many of the referenced standards.

In the absence of a definitive industry standard specifying what constitutes spark-resistant construction for hoists and cranes, it is frequently left to the knowledge and discretion of the seller to determine what materials will be used unless the purchaser designates specific requirements. If not clearly defined in the bid specification, the product and spark-resistant features provided often depend on the sourcing channels utilized by the end user.

Columbus McKinnon manufactures many products specifically designed for applications that require spark-resistant features. Our diverse, made in-America portfolio of hoists and trolleys are built to suit, rather than a mass produced “one size fits all” approach. Many of the products lend themselves to modification and substitution of materials that allows us to configure our hoists and trolleys to the specific application.

  • Chester Hoist products utilize solid spark-resistant materials such as bronze hooks, trolley wheels and brake ratchets as well as stainless steel load chain, hand chain and hook latches. In some cases it is necessary to use nickel-diffused chains or copper-plated hooks due to headroom constraints or to reduce costs for equipment that will be used infrequently or in temporary applications. In these cases, Chester also can provide plated components to reduce costs. For equipment that is relied on heavily and is required to maintain spark and corrosion-resistant qualities for the life of the equipment, we actively promote the lasting protection of solid spark and corrosion-resistant materials rather than plated components. 
Explosion Proof Cable King Hoist
Explosion Proof Global King Hoist

 

 

  • Yale Cable King wire rope hoists can be supplied in a wide range of capacities, lifting speeds and configurations with both spark and explosion resistance. The Cable King is  available in a spark-resistant pneumatic model and an explosion-proof electric model, for Class 1, Division 1 or 2, Group C & D; and Class 2, Division 1 or 2, Group E, F & G.

Special consideration should also be given to the environmental conditions at the work site, including temperature extremes, humidity, corrosive atmospheres and the potential for dynamic loading due to vessel motion. Special materials, testing, material certifications and design modifications may be required to ensure safe operation and minimal down time of lifting equipment. Additional factors such as headroom clearance, end approach, frequency of use and the availability of utilities (electricity, compressed air) must also be considered.

Reading and understanding applicable safety standards and consulting with experienced and reputable manufacturers are two important steps in ensuring operator and facility safety when selecting hoists, cranes and rigging hardware for offshore applications.

Interested in learning more about Explosion Proof vs. Spark Resistant Hoists?
Check out our recent Safety Webinar.

Columbus McKinnon is a leading designer and manufacturer of hoists, cranes and rigging hardware for offshore environments. With a long history in the industry, we have years of experience working on offshore applications, their unique challenges  and specifying the best products suited to harsh environments. Our Chester and Yale products have been used in these applications for decades and are relied on by end users around the world.

Joe Runyon

Joe Runyon is a Vertical Market Specialist for Oil & Gas at Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

Low Headroom Hoist Solution for Baby Formula Maker

Low Headroom Hoist Solution for Baby Formula Maker

Producing baby formula is no easy task especially when considering equipment maintenance in a clean room environment.  This baby formula maker in Malaysia had some tough requirements. They needed a hoist/trolley combination for 2200 lbs. capacity with a very low headroom profile (less than 8″).  In addition, this producer needed a hoist that would allow the operator to stand clear of the processing equipment, more than 24″ to the outside of the centerline of the monorail beam, when operating the hoist.

In a facility producing baby formula, maintaining a clean and sterile environment is top priority. The hoist had to be corrosion resistant and suitable for wash-down.

Our Chester Hoist facility had the opportunity to design and manufacture an ultra-low headroom manual chain hoist with a special extended hand chain wheel mechanism which addressed their concerns. The hoist was equipped with the following stainless steel components: lifting hook, hook block, load chain, hand chain, hand chain & load chain wheels, chain container, trolley wheels, hand chain guides, and brake ratchet. It was also equipped with food grade lubricant and food grade epoxy paint on the hoist body.

The end result was a perfect low headroom solution for this critical lifting application.

Joe Runyon

Joe Runyon is a Vertical Market Specialist for Oil & Gas at Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

Ultra-low Headroom Hoist Solution for Nuclear Power Plant

Ultra-low Headroom Hoist Solution for Nuclear Power Plant

16 Ton Swivel Hoist The project engineer thought that he had an impossible task. When contacting virtually every hoist manufacturer he could find, this project engineer at an East Coast (U.S.) nuclear power plant was repeatedly told that his application requirements were “unworkable”.

The project required a 16-ton capacity hoist and trolley that could be operated manually by one person. The trolley had to operate on a circular track having a curve radius of only 132”. The minimum headroom could not exceed 14-1/4”. The unit also had to be designed to permit installation from directly under the monorail beam, with the minimum amount of disassembly and reassembly required for installation.

Before giving up on this project, this engineer was encouraged to contact an Applications Engineer at Chester Hoist, a CMCO hoist brand.  Lucky us.

Numerous other requirements existed including a high minimum design factor, compliance with applicable standards (ASME B30.16 in addition to specifications set forth by the project engineer at the site), and training and support prior to commissioning of the hoist.

One of our Chester application engineers worked closely with the project engineer, to identify the critical requirements. It was determined that by making some design modifications, the “Zephyr” low headroom hoist could be tailored to fit the application. The hoist was engineered and built to order. The “unworkable” problem was solved.

Joe Runyon

Joe Runyon is a Vertical Market Specialist for Oil & Gas at Columbus McKinnon Corporation.