If you’re going to operate an overhead crane, also called a gantry crane, there are certain types of training that you need to have in order to be proficient. You need to be aware of the different controls that you are responsible for for lifting, lowering, and moving the items that have been attached to the chain or cable at the bottom of the hoist. This can take quite a bit of time to master, depending upon the size and capability of the overhead crane that you are responsible for. Here is a general overview of how these cranes work, and the different controls that you will more than likely need to learn how to master to operate this device.
How an overhead crane works
A gantry crane is installed either indoors or outdoors. It will have supporting beams, runway beams, and bridge girders that will be perpendicular to the runway beams that provide its support. Upon the bridge girder, which could be either single or double, you will have the trolley frame upon which the hoist will be connected. This will allow you to move the overhead crane back and forth, and the trolley frame side to side. You will also be able to control the hoist which will go up and down, allowing you to virtually move any object below to a different location.
Understanding the controls
The controls that you will use will be very minimal, but will take your maximum attention. There will likely be buttons that will turn the control panel on or off which will activate the gantry crane. You will also have a joystick that you will control for operating the hoist, the trolley frame, and also the bridge girders on the runway beam. This will give you the ability to move it within the confines of its limitations per its construction either indoors or outdoors. Although there may be more delicate controls that can be used for very detailed movements, this is the basic control panel that you will be operating to control all four of these functions.
How long will it take to master?
It should only take a few weeks for you to become masterful with the controls, especially if you are being tutored or trained by someone who has done this before. It is possible to watch videos on how to run the exact unit that you will be operating, although it is better to have one-on-one tutorials provided in person. Additionally, you will never be able to control it properly unless you are using it in an actual business setting. Once you are used to the routines of the business, and also how the controls are manipulated, you will then be able to master that particular machine for your company to maintain production levels.
This basic overview of how to properly operate an overhead crane should give you a general idea of what to expect. They are all made in a similar way, and the control panels are also very similar, so it should not be too much of a problem to either learn everything up front, or transition to a completely different overhead crane operation.
1. Before starting the crane system, please check carefully if the mechanical equipment, electric motor and protective insurance device are good and reliable. If main crane accessories are out of work, such as controller, brake, limited stopper, electric bell, never lift.
2. Must obey the command of signal officer, but should stop at once when hearing anyone’s emergency stop signal.
3. The driver must make sure the commanding signal before operation, and must ring the bell before drive.
4. When travelling near limited stopper, the cane system and the trolley move near the end, slow down the speed. Don’t baking a trolley instead of braking, not using limited stopper instead of parking switch, not using emergency switch instead of common switch.
5. Walk on the required safe aisle, special-purpose platform or escalator. Banned to walk on the sides of the crane system track except maintenance. Never walk on the track of the trolley, never cross from one overhead crane to another.
6. When overhead crane doesn’t work, the lifting material can’t be suspended in the air. When travelling, warning bell should be ringed if there is person on the ground or unloading the material. Never permitting lifting the material over the person, and the material can’t be lifted too high.
7. When travelling, there should be some distance between bridge cranes.
8. Standing on the safe position to check the bridge crane, and cut off the power, hang on the warning sign of “NO Switch on”. Fence should be set on the floor and hang on the signal of “NO Passing”.
9. When heavy material is lifted, try lifting the material just off the ground to make sure the crane hoist is stable, crane brake is good, then lift the material higher slowly. Don’t operate three handles at the same time.
10. When bridge crane is travelling, person is banned to up or down, maintenance and adjust are not permitted.
11. If power failure happens in travelling, switch handle must be set on the position of “zero”. If the material is not lifted on the ground, the operator can’t leave the control-room.
12. When travelling, if the material suddenly glides because of the trouble, emergency measures must be taken to put the material on the ground where no people stand
13. Sufficient lighting is necessary for night work.
14. Notice if there are obstacles on the track when travelling. If lifting big goods blocks the view, at least one person should be pointed to monitor and guide.
15. The driver must seriously obey rules of “Ten NOT-lift”
(1) Not lift when the weight of material is over the rated load;
(2) Not lift when the signal and weight are not clear, the light is dim;
(3) Not lift when the rope and goods are not bound tight, and not conform to safety rule;
(4) Not lift when the bridge crane lift the goods and make process directly;
(5) Not lift if the rope is not straight or the material is not hang right under the trolley;
(6) Not lift if there is person or live animal on the lifting material;
(7) Not lift explosive material;
(8) Not lift if the material is not organized well;
(9) Not lift if the material is buried in the ground;
(10)Not lift if the liquor material is too full.
Five tips for safe overhead crane operation
Overhead hoists make it much easier for you to move heavy items. However, statistics show that each year tens of people die each year due to accidents associated with overhead crane operation.
When working with any type of heavy machinery, safety must always be your main priority. Safety becomes particularly important in any overhead crane operations. These operations normally involve moving of heavy objects and loads that can cause serious damage if dropped.
Keep the following five tips in mind if you wish to be safer with your overhead crane operations.
Regular maintenance of cranes is key to safety. Load testing maintenance ensures that you know the exact number of pounds the crane can handle and ensures that it remains in top condition.
You must never treat maintenance as something optional especially when dealing with heavy machinery. In case any of the moving parts breaks down, wears out, or gives out, the crane can cause serious damage.
To ensure that your employees are safe and for the smooth operation of your building or warehouse, ensure that you perform regular maintenance on your crane.
2.Ensuring that attachments or slings are properly secured
Improper securing of the slings that carry heavy objects is one of the leading causes of accidents associated with overhead crane operation. If the slings aren’t secured properly, objects can slip out; tip until off balance, and finally crash to the ground below.
3.Ensuring that the load is clear of obstructions
Overhead cranes should first move the load straight in the air before they shift it in any lateral direction. This is the only way of ensuring that nothing clings to the underside of the load. In case boxes, cables, or other kinds of objects are attached, they can add extra weight to the crane. In addition, before moving it laterally, it is good to ensure that the load will clear any obstructions easily.
4.Ensuring that employees understand their risks
During overhead crane operation, all employees in the vicinity should understand that they are in a dangerous area. Put up signs around the work area to alert employees to the fact that overhead crane operations are taking place above them. Workers need to steer clear the crane and must never walk beneath any loads suspended midair.
5.Driving sensibly and carefully
The person who is responsible for managing the overhead crane operation should be extra careful with his or her actions. The operator must never move too fast and must be careful not to jerk the hoist especially if it is carrying a heavy load.
Quick reversals in direction can make the load to spill while swinging the load can be very risky. Controllers must always have their full attention focused completely on what they are doing. They should regard anything that takes their attention off the tasks as highly dangerous.
In conclusion, while overhead crane operations make it easy to move heavy loads, it is still a dangerous job. Follow the five safety tips discussed in this article and you will have a safe workplace free of accidents.
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