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When discussing the lifting industry, we need to consider devices for lifting products weighing just a few kilograms through to those capable of lifting loads weighing hundreds of tons, the scope of products is vast and most importantly this ensures a large selection of specialist devices for many uses. Manufacturers of lifting machines offer a wide range of winches and hoists used in industry, as well as specialist equipment for heavy industry, marine operations or in mines. Devices differ by size, materials they are built with, and the concept of use depending on the intended place of operation and how they are powered. The importance of properly matching the hoist or winch against the lifting operation cannot be overstated when striving for the most efficient solution. Bill Aitken of Red Rooster discusses technological innovations in the lifting industry. 

In perspective, all of the above seems okay, and it may appear that the technological development is as advanced in the lifting industry as it is in other sector of industry. But we should remember that the development of the design technologies, the materials used and even the use of the equipment itself has not changed to any great extent for nearly 20 years.  

Lifting industry development standards
In the case of the lifting industry, we can say that we are dealing with small evolutionary changes that do not considerably influence the whole perception of this branch of industry, but which facilitate work in several fundamental applications. First of all, this applies to the group of devices used in industrial operating conditions where all the safety regulations, frequently very detailed, must be strictly observed. Many regulations that have been in effect for many years are being amended, to increase the level of safety for operators and allow use of materials still more resistant to unfavourable weather conditions to allow equipment to be more capable of withstanding a greater range of operating temperatures. Additionally, modern motors built with even stronger materials, more efficient design and the employment of advanced manufacturing methods to control highly accurate machines all increase the quality levels and decrease the costs of maintaining the machinery in perfect working order. During the last ten or so years the above-mentioned elements have been improved to some degree, enabling a higher operating standard of machines.

The driving force behind these changes were, the regulations on the safe operation of devices in the industry, as well as the establishment (or updating) of safety regulations on the rules for manufacturing machines for a given purpose. Among the most important ones, are the Machinery Regulations 2008/EC, the hoist and winch standard BS EN 14492: 1 & 2 needs mentioning which describes the rules for the design of devices used in Europe. Other Regulations that should be mentioned are ATEX 94/9 for equipment used in a hazardous area, PUWER and LOLER.

All amendments to the regulations resulted in fine improvements in the manufacturing and operating standards of individual machines, however, the market still needs a revolutionary solution of sorts that would ensure one giant leap for technological advancement.

The future of lifting devices
Even though it could be argued that the maximum technological level of sorts has been achieved within the scope of materials and protective coatings, certain other solutions that improve conditions of the design of lifting devices are available. These mainly involve adjusting the device to the user’s requirements, which is a noticeable trend that has been gradually gaining recognition. Perhaps individually designed pieces of equipment that meet as many requirements of the user as possible will be the future? This undoubtedly goes hand in hand with an increase in costs, as design offices must modify the design for particular purposes every single time, which often requires the redesign of the basic structure, but can yield notable benefits.

On the one hand, the customer can purchase a device that will perform perfectly in the planned scope of use and on the other hand the manufacturer can focus on the intensification of solutions, above all with the aim of improving the quality of the equipment design. This ensures even higher quality, which is very beneficial when dealing with fierce competition. The effect of such activities can already be seen with more and more manufacturers investing in modern applications and design software, along with good technological resources and testing facilities, to ensure the safety, quality and operation of their products. Today thanks to the materials, designs and experience, the lifting industry ensures that the devices will remain in service for a long time to come, despite the technological stagnation.

Though the lifting industry does not stand up to the pace of development of other industry branches, it can offer stable solutions precisely adapted to the customer’s needs. All with a view to increasing safety and efficiency, which substantially influences further development of other branches of industry. 

Red Rooster Industrial

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