Overhead cranes are some of the largest pieces of lifting equipment that we have at Cranes Direct. With this large nature comes the fact that they are capable of lifting extremely heavy loads. Given this, and that they are often fixed to the internal structuring of your workplace, it is of critical importance that steps are taken to ensure their safety and reliability. Part of this process is load testing your overhead crane. We’ve explained more on what this is below.
What is load testing when it comes to overhead cranes?
Load testing, also called stress testing, is a common term, and one that you’ll see being used in multiple industries, not just for lifting equipment. It is defined as the "process of putting demand on a software system or computing device and measuring its response. Load testing is performed to determine a system’s behaviour under both normal and anticipated peak load conditions.”
It’s important to load test all lifting equipment
This general term seems to relate more to software systems, but the same fundamental process remains the same when it is applied to overhead cranes. The idea for load testing is to place a certain degree of strain and pressure on an item to see how it handles it. If it passes the stress test, then one can be assured that it will work more than adequately under less stressful circumstances.
Almost all products and pieces of equipment around the world will undergo testing such as this. A quick look inside Apple’s stress-test facility will show you how rigorously new iPhones are tested before being sent out to the market.
What is important to note about a load test is that this isn’t a test that sees if the equipment works. This is something that will be measured in other experiments. A load test has a very specific set of requirements that mean that the loads being used cannot be less than 100% of the rated load capacity. And, at the other end of the scale, they can’t be more than 125% either.
The importance of this testing
All equipment will undergo testing from your manufacturer, and you will never knowingly be sold a piece of equipment that isn’t in perfect quality. But, it’s important that you also do this test yourself so that you can guarantee the reliability of your equipment.
In fact, this isn’t just a recommendation, it actually forms part of the law. The main guidelines that relate to the use of lifting equipment are the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER). LOLER itself falls under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
In LOLER, it is stated that thorough inspections must be carried out on all lifting equipment at regular intervals. Part of a thorough inspections involves, in some cases, the method of load testing.
Some of our overhead cranes
Lifting equipment is set a safe working load (SWL) by your manufacturer, and this refers to the safe limit that a piece of gear can work at. This limit is well below the limit at which it will break, known as the minimum breaking load (MBL).
Load testing your gear will allow you to rest easy in the knowledge that your gear is able to handle the SWL. And, it isn’t a problem operating at 125% capacity, as this figure will still be well below the MBL.
Lifting equipment inspections
It is still crucial that your equipment is subject to regular and thorough inspections at all times. If you would like help from the experts with this, then we offer a range of crane services here. Or, if you have any other questions, please get in contact with us here.