Category: Rigging

4 Steps to Select the Right Wire Grip for Your Application

4 Steps to Select the Right Wire Grip for Your Application

Wire GripWhen working with wire in utility applications, safety is of utmost importance. That’s why it’s critical to choose the correct wire grip for the task at hand. Here are four steps to help you choose the best grip for your application.

Step 1: Determine what type of wire is being used.

What wire size are you pulling? If you’re pulling aluminum conductor steel reinforced (ACSR) cable you may want to use a different wire grip than if you’re pulling extra-high-strength cable (EHSC).

Step 2: What size wire (AWG, MCM or diameter) are you using?

When pulling wire, it is critical that the wire grips are properly sized to avoid slippage and safely maintain temporary tension until the wire or cable can be permanently terminated.

Step 3: What is the maximum required working load limit (WLL)?

It is important that you choose the right wire grip for your rated working load capacity. You will not need a wire grip rated for 20,000 lbs. if the maximum working load is 4,500 lbs. However, you must ensure the grip can handle the maximum load you’ll be pulling.

Step 4: Pick your wire grip.

Use the specifications you selected in steps one through three to select the grip you need. When choosing your grip, you may want to consider these factors as well:

  • Will this grip be used on hot lines?
  • Do you need a grip with spring-loaded or non-spring-loaded gates?
  • Is a notched handle preferred? A notched handle on spring-loaded models locks the grip in the open position for placement on or removal from wire, then releases instantly.

To see the full line of Little Mule Wire Grips, click here.

Christie Lagowski

Christie Lagowski is a Communications Specialist for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

Chain Sling Wear and Stretch: Are They the Same?

Chain Sling Wear and Stretch: Are They the Same?

chain sling wearFrédéric, a mechanical engineer for the auxiliary equipment unit of a Canadian public utility company and recent safety webinar attendee, asked the following question about chain sling wear:

“You said a sling should be removed from service if it stretches. But, you also said that 10% of wear is permissible. Does this mean that a stretch of 5 to 10% should be ok, because wear will make the sling stretch (the reach will increase)?”

Henry Brozyna, CMCO trainer and safety webinar presenter, answers:

Chain sling wear and stretch are two different things and both will make the sling length increase. So, it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between the two.

chain sling wear
An example of unacceptable chain wear
chain sling wear
An example of stretched/elongated chain

Wear will show itself at the bearing points of the links and can exhibit itself in the bearing points of the chain as a groove. A certain amount of wear is permissible and that will happen over time. Check with the manufacturer to see how much wear they allow.

Stretch or elongation are clear signs of overloading.  As such, ASME B30.9 Slings lists stretched chain links or components as one of the reasons a chain sling shall be removed from service. The word “shall” in a standard resolves any doubt.  No stretch or elongation is allowable. 

Want to learn more? View our recent safety webinar!

Additional Reference:

Understanding the Difference Between Chain Grades and How They’re Used

Henry Brozyna

Henry Brozyna is a Corporate Trainer specializing in Rigging & Load Securement for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

Understanding DIN 15400 Specifications for Shank Hooks

Understanding DIN 15400 Specifications for Shank Hooks

shank hooks

When hooks and components are produced in accordance with the DIN 15400 specification, you can rest assured that the manufacturer has met stringent production criteria to produce a high-quality product. DIN 15400 is the “Standard of Excellence” used in the heavy crane industry. Our heavy-duty crane hooks produced by our Stahlhammer Bommern GmbH (STB) business in Germany are designed to meet this standard.

Specification DIN 15400 was developed in the early 1940’s to provide requirements to manufacturers for the production and finishing of shank hooks. This specification not only gives guidance for hook production but also includes dimensional requirements for nuts and trunnions. The standard specifies requirements intended to ensure the reliability of forged hooks.

DIN 15400 offers guidance for capacity ratings of hooks, similar to CMAA, based on various component input of crane usage. This is known as drive groups in the specification.

DIN 15400 includes requirements for threading of crane hooks, nuts and cross pieces to ensure a quality product is produced.

DIN 15400 also includes guidance for markings, testing, heat treatment, surface conditions, dimensional accuracy and mechanical properties.

Learn more about heavy-duty crane hooks from Columbus McKinnon.  Designed to stringent, globally recognized DIN standards, our high-quality un-machined and machined products range in capacity from 1 to 1250 metric tons.

Tim Lewis

Tim Lewis is a Business Development Manager at Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

Our Most Popular Blog Posts of 2016

Our Most Popular Blog Posts of 2016

popular blog posts of 2016As we look back at 2016 and are busy planning for 2017, it’s interesting to see which of our blog topics were the most popular with our readers last year. With all of our blog posts, we look to provide you with valuable information to help keep you safe and make your job easier. We want to address your hottest questions, share interesting and unique application stories and offer how-to videos and tips that you can use in your day-to-day jobs.

We received a lot of comments and views on our stories and we are thrilled with your response!

So without further delay, here is the list of our top 10 most read Columbus McKinnon blog posts for 2016:

1. Forging vs. Casting: Which is Better?
2. Understanding the Difference Between Chain Grades and How They are Used
3. Nine Important Rules to Follow When Using Shackles
4. OSHA Update: Facts About the New Sling Regulations
5. The Low-Down on Chain Tie Downs
6. Should a Warning Device be Continuously on When the Bridge Crane is Traveling?
7. Does your Overhead Crane Meet OSHA Regulations?
8. Sling Selection & Working Load Limits: What You Need to Know
9. Shackle Markings, Materials and Appropriate Standards
10. Grounding of Overhead Crane Systems

While we’re at it, we thought we would share our most popular Safety Webinar ever. You can check it out here:

This is just one of the many safety webinars that we have presented over the last few years. If you are interested in receiving notifications for future safety webinars, you can subscribe here.

We want to take this time to thank you for reading our blog and sharing its messages across your various social media channels. Whether you’re a distributor or end user, we are grateful for all of your interest in our products and services. We look forward to connecting with you in 2017.

Gisela Clark

Gisela Clark is an eMarketing Specialist for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

Tips for Rigging with Eye Bolts

Tips for Rigging with Eye Bolts

Jubal, an entertainment rigger from Local One IATSE and recent safety webinar attendee, asked the following rigging question about eye bolts:

“Is it necessary to use only one washer when securing eye bolts or can the washers be stacked if necessary?”

Peter Cooke, Columbus McKinnon Training Manager and Safety Webinar Presenter, answers:

If more than one washer is necessary, the eyebolt may need to be turned to align with the rigging. Please see the example below.

eye bolts
A shim can be added to reposition the orientation of the eyebolt. Most importantly, you must maintain proper engagement or tightness. A shim can vary in thickness depending on how you need to align the eyebolt, as when a 3/8  eyebolt with 16 thread per inch is used.  With 16 threads per inch, one turn would relate to .062” of movement into the mounting plate. If we divide this by 4 to get .0156” for our shim, the result will be a change in rotational position of the eyebolt of 90 degrees, which can be used as a reference dimension for adjusting the spacer on the eyebolt to achieve the proper orientation with the load.

Want to learn more? View our recent safety webinar!

Peter Cooke

Peter Cooke is a former Training Manager for Columbus McKinnon Corporation, having specialized in Rigging & Load Securement.

Chain Inspection: Hoist Chain vs. Rigging Chain

Chain Inspection: Hoist Chain vs. Rigging Chain

We recently received the following question on chain inspection from Slade, a utility crew supervisor working for a water district:

“I was wondering if you carry a “no-go gauge” for Columbus McKinnon chain to inspect gouges, nicks and stretching on the links. Our warehouse personnel struggle to determine the correct gauge for your chain.”

Perry Bishop, our technical trainer, answers: 

We receive this question on chain inspection often, so we thought it would be worthwhile to write a blog to explain the gauges we offer and identify which gauge is the most suitable for the type of chain in question.

For our electric, pneumatic, hand chain hoists and lever tools, we have the following go/no-go gauge:

chain inspection
Go/no-go gauge for CM’s hoist load chain

It is made for CM’s load chain only, such as Star and Disc Grade, and should only be used to measure that style of chain. You can purchase this gauge from your local CMCO distributor under the part #3191.

To find a distributor in your area, simply visit and click on the “Find a Distributor” button on the right-hand side of the page.

For our Herc-alloy 800 & 1000 rigging chain (alloy chain slings only) we have the following wear limit rigging chain gauge, part #CWGC.  It is used to check below the hook chain such as HA-800 and HA-1000.

chain inspection
Rigging chain gauge

A common mistake that happens quite frequently in our industry is that individuals use the wrong gauge on the wrong type of chain. Always ensure you are using the correct gauge and follow instructions on the gauges for proper measuring techniques.

Perry Bishop

Perry Bishop is a Technical Trainer for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

Are Your Shackles Safe for Overhead Lifting?

Are Your Shackles Safe for Overhead Lifting?

lifting shackles
Chain Style Shackle
lifting shackles
Anchor Style Shackle

When determining the best shackle for your lifting application, there are many options to choose from. Shackles are typically available in two styles: chain style and anchor style.

Chain shackles are best-suited for straight line, single connection pulls because of their U-shape. Anchor or bow shackles have a more generous loop. This allows them to be side loaded or used for multiple connections.

Whether you use chain or anchor shackles, there are three types of pins that are used to secure a shackle, each with their own benefits and limitations.

lifting shackles
Screw pin shackle
lifting shackles
Bolt, nut and cotter shackle
lifting shackles
Round pin shackle



Screw Pin Lifting Shackles

Screw Pin Shackles allow for quick and easy removal of the screw pin, which makes this style ideal for applications where the shackle is removed frequently. While the threaded pin can resist axial forces, it should not be cyclically loaded. Additionally, it is unreliable and vulnerable to backing out in applications where the pin is subjected to a torque or twisting action. In some applications, it is recommended to “mouse” the screw pin to prevent it from unscrewing. This type of shackle is suitable for overhead lifting.

Bolt, Nut & Cotter Lifting Shackles

Of all shackle types, bolt, nut, and cotter shackles provide the most secure pin arrangement, resisting axial and torsional loading. This type of shackle should be used in semi-permanent applications where the pin is removed infrequently. Bolt, nut, and cotter shackles are suitable for overhead lifting.

Round Pin Lifting Shackles

Round Pin Shackles allow for easy removal by simply removing the cotter that holds the pin in place. These shackles perform well where the pin is subjected to a torque or twisting action. They are not recommended for use where the pin is subject to an axial load. Round pin shackles are not suitable for overhead lifting.

For more information on shackles, check out our safety webinar on the Proper Use of Shackles or our other blog articles on shackles.

Christie Lagowski

Christie Lagowski is a Communications Specialist for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

What is a Ramshorn Hook?

What is a Ramshorn Hook?

ramshorn hooks
Photo courtesy of @cranenation via Instagram

A Ramshorn hook is a shank hook with two throat openings, sometimes called sister hooks, double hooks or twin hooks. They are used in applications with shipyard cranes and container cranes. Ramshorn hooks can be used on any type of crane block.

Why Use a Ramshorn (Double) Hook?

Ramshorn hooks offer many benefits to the user. Not only do they allow for better rigging options due to the wider profile and double throat combination, they also provide better load distribution when using multiple slings in a rigging application.

Featuring an additional throat opening, Ramshorn hooks prevent slings from bunching up as they more frequently do with single hooks. This second throat also helps to prevent sling damage when under load. Featuring a wider hook profile, as compared to single hooks, Ramshorn hooks allow for more stable load control when properly rigged. The wider profile also provides better load distribution and allows for more controlled lifts.

Compared to single hooks, Ramshorn hooks commonly have a smaller frame with a much higher capacity, helping to reduce the weight of the overall crane lifting gear.

Not all Ramshorn Hooks Are Created Equal.

Ramshorn Hooks

There are two types of Ramshorn hooks: the Ramshorn Form A hook, which has a solid lower hook design, and the Ramshorn Form B hook. Columbus McKinnon offers the Form B version because of its versatility. This hook provides all the advantages as mentioned above with the addition of a hole in the lower hook to attach rigging hardware. This feature gives the user the option to change their double hook into a sling hook if so desired.

All Ramshorn hooks are manufactured to DIN 15402 standards. Just like our single hooks, these double hooks can be furnished in various configurations including unmachined, machined, and machined with nuts for full suspensions.

In 2015, Columbus McKinnon acquired Stahlhammer Bommern GmbH (STB), the leading manufacturer of heavy-load single and ramshorn hooks in Europe. Now available in North America, our offering includes a comprehensive line of CM Shank Hooks in both single- and double-hook configurations.

Download our CM Shank Hooks brochure.

Tim Lewis

Tim Lewis is a Business Development Manager at Columbus McKinnon Corporation.

Columbus McKinnon Adds Raised Lettering Pads to its Shackles

Columbus McKinnon Adds Raised Lettering Pads to its Shackles

CM shackles, sizes ½” through 1-1/2”, (including alloy, industrial, and Super Strong chain and anchor shackles) now feature a raised pad that allows customers to add their own lettering for improved shackle identification and tracking. This pad is the approved area for anyshackle identification lettering that customers would like to add to the product.

The recommended marking methods are:

  • Engraving with a vibrating engraver
  • Engraving with a dot matrix engraver
  • Stamping with rounded face lettering

When using either method, a shallow, low- stress mark with rounded edges should be made. Heat should never be used in the process of marking any CMCO product.

Learn more about other recent improvements to the CM Shackle:
New CM Shackle Markings and Pins Lead to Improved Operator Safety

shackle identificationWarning!
Improper use or care of rigging products can result in bodily injury or property damage. To avoid injury, read all warnings and instructions and always use proper rigging practices.

Peter Cooke

Peter Cooke is a former Training Manager for Columbus McKinnon Corporation, having specialized in Rigging & Load Securement.

Nine Important Rules to Follow When Using Shackles

Nine Important Rules to Follow When Using Shackles


Shackles are used every day in a variety of rigging and load securement applications. Before you use a shackle, there are nine important rules to keep in mind.

Rule 1:

When making a sling, attach multiple sling legs to the bow, not the pin. Attaching legs to the pin can damage and weaken the sling.

Rule 2:

When point loading shackle to shackle, connect bow to bow or bow to pin. Never connect pin to pin.

Rule 3:

Do not side load “D” shaped shackles such as chain shackles or long reach shackles. These shackles are designed and rated for in-line applied tension. Therefore, the center line of the load should coincide with the center line of the shackle. Anchor body style shackles (screw pin style, as pictured above, or bolt nut cotter anchor body style) can be side loaded. Always refer to reductions in rating charts when performing this type of rigging.

Rule 4:

When securing a load, the bow of the shackle should be put into the running side of a choke.

Rule 5:

When using a shackle with wire rope, the shackle must be equal to or larger than the wire rope diameter.

Rule 6:

If using a shackle with synthetic slings, ensure the shackle is big enough to avoid pinching or binding the sling.

Rule 7:

Shackles should not be subjected to high or low temperatures that could affect thermal treatment and the strength of the shackle.  -4 degrees F to 400 degrees F is the operating range for full working load limit.

Rule 8:

Always ensure shackle pins are properly engaged. Screw pin shackles need to have threads fully engaged on the shackle ear. (The pin should be flush with the outside of the shackle body or slightly past). The pin head should make contact with the shackle body. Bolt nut and cotter shackles need to have the bolt and nut properly secured with the cotter pin attached.

Rule 9:

Use bolt nut cotter anchor style shackles, if shackles will remain in place as a semi-permanent application or if they will be suspending a load. Screw pin shackles are used when the shackles are removed after the lift is complete. If a screw pin shackle is being used to suspend the load for any length of time, it is advisable that you mouse or tie off the pin to the body of the shackle with wire.
Want to learn more about safe shackle use? Here are some additional resources:

Shackle Markings, Materials and Appropriate Standards
New CM Shackle Markings and Pins Lead to Improved Operator Safety
Customer Concerns over Recommended Shackle Pin Length
Safety Webinar: Proper Use of Shackles 

Last updated on 12/21/15

Christie Lagowski

Christie Lagowski is a Communications Specialist for Columbus McKinnon Corporation.