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Chain slings are a combination of chain, hooks, rings and other attachments used primarily for overhead lifting applications. Slings are often used in conjunction with cranes and other lifting devices and allow riggers to create custom configurations to lift loads depending on the needs of that specific application.

Standard chain sling configurations consist of chain branches that are affixed on one end to a master link or ring with some type of attachment. When building a sling, ASME, NACM and OSHA recommend that only alloy steel chain is used. Columbus McKinnon’s Herc-Alloy chain, available in Grades 80 and 100, is made of superior triple alloy steel and is a strong and durable option for building chain slings.

All chain slings should come with a metal identification tag that is affixed to the chain. The tag should include the following information: sling size, reach, working load limit, serial number, manufacturer name, grade of sling and number of branches.

How to Select the Proper Chain Sling
When choosing a chain sling there are a few things to consider:

  1. Weight and configuration of the load(s) to be lifted
  2. Type of chain sling required, according to weight and configuration
  3. Size of the body chain according to the working load limits. Be sure to take into consideration the effect of the required angle (see information below).
  4. Reach required to give the desired angle. This is measured from the upper bearing surface of the master link to the bearing surface of the lower attachment.
  5. The share of load on pick points and location of the center of gravity

What Determines a Sling’s Working Load Limit?
The working load limit indicates the maximum load that should be applied to the sling and should never be exceeded during use to ensure operator safety.

Sling working load limits are determined by the following:

  • Type of hitch
  • Material strength
  • Design factor
  • Diameter of curvature (D/d)
  • Angle of loading

The working load limit of a sling can also be affected by the conditions the sling is used in. For example, rapidly applying a load can produce dangerous overloading conditions. Also, the twisting and knotting of links or sling components can decrease a sling’s working load limit. Environmental conditions, such as elevated temperatures, can affect the working load limit of a sling as well.

Since slings are most often used at an angle, let’s review an example of how angle of loading affects a sling’s working load limit. In the diagram below, the percentages shown represent the maximum working load limit of the sling when used at the designated angle. In some instances the working load limit of the chain is reduced to 50%!

For example: One 3/8″ Grade 80 double sling used at 90˚ would have a working load limit of 2 times the working load of a 3/8″ Grade 80 single or 2 x 7, 100 lbs. = 14,200 lbs.

The same double sling used at 35º would have a maximum working load limit of 57% of 14,200 lbs. or .57 x 14,200 lbs. = 8,094 lbs.

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For another example of how the angle of use can affect the working load limit of a chain sling, check out this past blog post: What is the working load limit of a 2 legged chain sling?

Want to learn more? View our Safety Webinar on Chain Sling Inspection

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RFID with shackle
Is there anyone out there who’s having to do more with less? Do you have a large inventory to manage or equipment to inspect, and all of it requiring thorough documentation to comply with regulations? Are you having a difficult time finding a good inspector or ensuring your inspectors are doing a quality job?

Well good news, RFID tagged rigging hardware and hoists can help with all these issues and more.
Let’s start with what RFID is and how it works.

An Overview of RFID
RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification and it is now being used on almost everything. There are RFID badges for security and time clocks. There is an RFID chip in my dog in case he gets lost or stolen. RFID chips are even available in rigging hardware and on hoists. There are two main types of RFID chips: active and passive. Active chips are larger, have a longer read range, and are battery powered. Passive chips can be as small as a grain of rice, have a shorter read range, and are remotely powered.

There are many reasons why passive RFID chips are better suited to rigging hardware and hoists. Size is an obvious one. The smaller a chip is, the smaller the equipment it can be mounted in. The short read range makes the inspector actually touch the equipment being inspected, so there is no confusing the item being inspected with other nearby products. Passive RFID chips are also super tough and durable. Rigging hardware and hoists can be banged up, dropped and virtually destroyed and the chips still work flawlessly.

The Benefits of RFID Inspection
So how does RFID help you do more with less?
One of the biggest selling points for RFID rigging hardware and hoists is how much faster and efficient it can make the inspection process. Imagine this: an inspector merely touches the RFID chip in a shackle, chain sling or hoist with an RFID reader and he/she can instantly see the product’s serial number, description, traceability code, working load limit, size, certificates of compliance and origin (some material handling product manufacturers even associate this information with the chip and load it to the web for you). In addition to product information, inspectors can see previous inspections complete with pictures and notes, the next scheduled inspection date, inspection criteria, and even information on how to inspect the product.

The inspector can also use the RFID chip and reader to log information from the current inspection he/she is performing, complete with notes and pictures. Recoding the information can happen right at the point of inspection with a tablet or laptop. There isn’t any need to record information for someone else to transcribe or log later. That’s a huge time saver!

What about the issue of never having enough good inspectors? We have already talked about how RFID-based inspection systems save time by allowing fewer inspectors to do more inspections. Have you thought about how much time and money it takes to train an inspector to acceptable levels? RFID systems can decrease training time while increasing inspection accuracy and detail. The ability to have a software package that walks an inspector through the inspection process is beneficial. The software can help identify things the inspector should look for during an inspection and provide acceptance/rejection criteria, pictures of concerns or wear areas from previous inspections for that specific product, and other reference materials to help ensure proper inspection.

Another issue inspectors can run into is not being able to read the serial number or tracking number on the hoist or rigging hardware. Sometimes the serial number can wear off or become difficult to read. With an RFID chip this will never be a problem.

Inventory/Serialization
RFID can also help with tracking and serialization of products. If you have a thousand pieces of rigging hardware or multiple hoists being rented or used in multiple locations, it can make the inventory process so much easier. When you scan an RFID chip, you can record the location of the product. This allows you to easily track its location later. Some RFID inspection software systems can also be designed to directly interface with your business system for automatic billing. There are so many time saving opportunities!

Are you as excited by the possibilities of RFID as I am? Are you already using a RFID-based system to track the inspections for your hoists and rigging products?

Columbus McKinnon recognizes the value and possibilities for RFID technology in inventory and inspection management, as well as other applications. We’re excited to be introducing RFID on select shackles and hoists in a few weeks. Stay tuned for more information!

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Crane Compliance: Are all cranes regulated by OSHA?

February 11, 2014

There is some confusion in the industry regarding crane configurations and the application of OSHA regulations. In a recent article in Industrial Lift & Hoist Magazine, Tom Reardon, one of Columbus McKinnon’s training managers, discusses the issue and provides clarification for crane users. OSHA 1910.179(a)(1) states that “A ‘crane’ is a machine for lifting and [...]

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The Low-down on Plate Clamp Inspection and Operation

January 27, 2014

Crane & Rigging Hot Line recently published an article on plate clamp inspection and operation based on a presentation given by one of Columbus McKinnon’s corporate trainers, Chris Zgoda, at the ACRP Conference in San Antonio, TX.  Below are a few of the highlights: Plate Clamp Operation Plate clamps are most often used to lift and [...]

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Can hoist hooks be repaired?

January 20, 2014

During my training sessions, I am frequently asked if hoist hooks can be repaired if they are damaged or broken. OSHA and ASME regulations provide specific requirements for hoist hook repair to help answer this question. According to OSHA 1910.179 (L)(3)(iii)(A), hook repairs by welding or reshaping are not generally recommended. If such repairs are attempted [...]

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D8+ Hoists and Suspending Loads over People in the Entertainment Industry

December 3, 2013

Suspending loads above people is common practice in the entertainment world and requires great precautions. In Europe, one voluntary Code of Practice guides the product specifications and installation requirements surrounding these applications: SQP2 Chain hoists (2010). U.S. interest in this European Code of Practice is growing as this code is being adopted in U.S. entertainment [...]

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Columbus McKinnnon Brings CMCO University to Mexico

November 26, 2013

Columbus McKinnon recently opened “CMCO University” in Mexico. The facility will be used to give training to customers, channel partners, and employees. The campus is located within the Santiago Tianguistenco manufacturing plant, near the city of Toluca. It includes 80 square meters of classroom training space and 300 square meters of laboratories and workshops. “CMCO University [...]

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CM Cyclone is Hoist of Choice for Chimney Construction Project

October 30, 2013

At Columbus McKinnon, we always enjoy seeing how our products are used in the industries we serve.  So when this application photo (above) from a construction site featuring our products crossed our path, we had to share it. This photo shows 70 of our CM Cyclone hand chain hoists being used for the construction of a [...]

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CMCO University is off to a great start!

October 24, 2013

Last month Columbus McKinnon kicked off its inaugural session of CMCO University with great success. More than 15 distributor associates from across the country came to our  Niagara Training Center in Tonawanda, N.Y.,  to “Profit from Knowledge,” learning detailed information about our products and how to best sell and position them in the marketplace. CMCO’s Niagara Training [...]

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Our Spirit of Innovation Continues in America

October 17, 2013

As we spend some time this week celebrating Columbus Day and the history of America, we wanted to take some time to look back at our company’s rich and diverse 138 year history. 1875 – Moore Manufacturing Company is formed in Chicago 1889 – Moore Manufacturing Company moves to Milwaukee and changes its name to [...]

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