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


CMCO Sperrwerk Greifswald
Anyone who lives or works along a body of water knows that flooding is always a concern. In the North/Baltic Sea region, the city region of Greifswald and the urban district of Greifswald-Wieck in Germany know this all too well. Due to its exposed location, this region is one of the most vulnerable in the area. So, this summer, the first steps were taken to protect this area from storm surges with the construction of a flood barrier in Griefswald. This barrier utilizes Pfaff-silberblau brand SHE worm gear screw jacks, manufactured by Columbus McKinnon Engineered Products in Germany, to move the sliding gates of the harbor pier into place to protect against flood waters.

The new flood barrier in Greifswald is part of what is currently the largest coastal protection project in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. If a flood warning is issued, the main gate of the flood barrier is locked with the aid of a revolving segment to protect against high tide. At the same time, sliding gates that are approximately 55.7 ft (17 meters) wide and weigh 19.8 tons (18 metric tons) are closed on the south and north pier of the flood barrier. These gates run on railway tracks similar in principle to an oversized sliding door. This is precisely where the worm gear screw jacks from Pfaff-silberblau come in.

In the event of an emergency, and also for maintenance purposes, each sliding gate has to be lifted from its parked position in the sliding gate chambers of the dam. This is done using a rocker with travel wheel to lift the gate up to 5.9 inches (150 millimeters) and then safely lower it onto the rail. The wheel is lifted at a speed of 1.96 inches (0.05 meters) per minute by means of an electromechanical drive unit designed specifically for this application by Pfaff-silberblau.

CMCO Sperrwerk Greifswald
This drive unit consists of a 25 Series worm gear screw jack with a rotating and self-locking trapezoidal screw, special travelling nut, absolute encoder, special grease and a bevel gear box motor with 2 hp (1.5 kW) actuating power. In case of an emergency, the drive unit also features a hand wheel at the motor.

When designing the drive unit, the team also took special care to ensure the harsh conditions of this outdoor maritime application would not affect its functionality. The screw jack has a special flexible protection boot. All other driving elements are made of weatherproof materials and are protected with special high-quality paint. The electrical components are designed in compliance with protection class IP66. Because of these features, the drive solution from Pfaff-silberblau can also withstand outdoor use in temperatures ranging from -4°F to +122°F (-20°C to +50°C.)

This is a great example demonstrating how Columbus McKinnon Engineered Products designs special systems to meet tough and challenging customer applications.


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