A chain hoist is an electric winch that uses a chain wrapped around the winch drum to move materials. Chain hoists are available in various sizes and weights, with different features for multiple applications. Some of the factors you must consider when choosing an electric chain hoist are weight capacity, lifting speed, duty cycle, electrical supply system, and lifting height.
Performance of a Chain Hoist
Here we will discuss these factors and how they affect the performance of a chain hoist.
1) Weight Capacity: Chain hoists can be found in capacities ranging from 2-tons to 300-tons. The size you need depends on the load weight you will be lifting. If your job requires moving loads that are significantly larger than what your hoist can handle, it’s time to upgrade.
2) Lifting Speed: Chain hoists range in speeds from 50 feet per minute (fpm) to 600 fpm. The speed you need depends on the frequency of your work and how fast you need to lift and lower loads. For example, if you only need to use your winch once a day, 50 feet per minute might be fast enough for your needs. However, if you need to perform tasks multiple times a minute, you will need a faster speed.
3) Duty Cycle: Duty cycle refers to the percentage of time your winch can operate before it needs to be shut down for servicing. For example, if your hoist has a 50% duty cycle, you are allowed to run the hoist continuously for only 30 minutes before it must be turned off and allowed to cool down. Therefore, you must know the service interval for your winch, as well as the most extended amount of time it can continuously run before needing maintenance.
4) Electrical Supply System: Electric chain hoists have different voltages and amperages (V and A) depending on their size and weight capacity. For example, a 5-ton hoist requires 208/230 volts at 3.5 kVA, while a 30-ton hoist requires 480 volts at 27.2 kVA. Therefore, the size of the motor in an electric winch directly affects its voltage and amperage, which will determine your electrical supply system needs.
5) Lifting Height: Typically, chain hoists are mounted above the area you intend to lift or lower load. For example, if you need to lift materials into your second floor, the winch must be installed on your roof. The height at which you can install a chain hoist depends on its weight capacity and lifting speed (more on this below).
However, there are options for low-height applications. For example, a manual chain hoist has a lifting height of 10 feet, while a light-duty electric chain hoist can be mounted at or below 30 inches.
6) Lift Speed: As previously mentioned, the speed you need depends on your job. In general, manual chains hoists are available in speeds ranging from 5-feet per minute to 70-feet per minute. Light duty hoists have lifting speeds between 100 and 200 fpm, while medium-duty hoists go between 200 and 400 fpm. Heavy-duty electric chain hoists are capable of reaching speeds up to 1,000 fpm for short periods.
7) Lifting Capacity: A manual hoist can support up to 10,000 lbs of material. Light duty electric winches can handle 5-tons while medium and heavy-duty hoists range between 10 and 50 tons of weight capacity.
8) Hoist Controls: Electric chain hoists can either be controlled by individual push buttons or a controller. While push-button controls are more intuitive and easier to use, control panels give you greater control over the hoist, such as speed settings and onboard diagnostics.
9) Safety Factor: All electric hoists have an industry-standard seven-to-one safety factor built into their design. For example, a manual chain hoist has a safe working load (SWL) of 1/7th its maximum capacity, while light-duty electric hoists have SWLs between 1/5 and 5/5ths of their total capacity.
10) Durability: If you need a high duty cycle, you should choose an electric chain hoist that is more durable than the lighter-duty models. For example, light and medium-duty electric winches should only be used in intermittent applications, whereas heavy-duty hoists can handle continuous operations.