Chain Hoist or Wire Rope?
The two fundamental types of hoist are the chain and the wire rope hoist, and both are suitable for different kinds of work. For lighter loads, a chain hoist may be cheaper than a wire rope alternative and will handle the work just fine. Wire rope hoists are generally better suited to heavy duty work, but scale much quicker in size with the weight rating. For example, for two equally rated hoists generally a chain hoist will be smaller in size and easier to fit into more working environments, whereas the wire rope hoist will need more room for the cable housing. Generally speaking, if a chain hoist is available that will operate in the conditions you need it to, you are probably better off with the chain option. Chain hoists are also usually safer than wire rope hoists (see below).
Hire or Buy?
The simplest types of electric hoist may be available for purchase at a price not at all unreasonable, even if it will only be used on rare occasions. If the hoist will be used a lot day in and day out, purchase may well be the most cost-effective solution regardless. However, for certain jobs that require the use of heavy duty hoist equipment and don't come up that often, a better option may be to simply hire a hoist for the job. Not only will this save you from paying full price just to use a hoist for a week or two, but this will also free you from any worries related to repair and maintenance of hoist machinery.
Causes of Failure
Most hoist systems break over time if operated repeatedly above a certain percentage of their maximum tensile strength. The actual rating on the hoist of maximum load is usually just under this threshold and many hoist systems even include an internal clutch to ensure that the threshold is never breached. This is the most common cause of hoist failure, but it can easily be avoided by using the hoist only for loads at or just under the weight it was intended for. If you need to lift something heavier, buy or rent a stronger hoist. With a wire rope hoist, it is even more essential not to put undue stress on it as if it breaks, the wire can whip and cause injury where a chain hoist will simply break.
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