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Understanding Lifting Chains - A Guide to Safe and Efficient Lifting - Part 1

Posted 06/03/2024
Lifting & Lashing Points, RUD News,

This is a 2 part article.

The age-old proverb, "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link," first used in Thomas Reid’s “Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man” in 1786, perfectly encapsulates the critical role of lifting chains in material handling. This article delves into the world of lifting chains, exploring their types, grades, uses, and essential safety considerations.

What are Lifting Chains?

Lifting chains are crucial connectors between a load and a lifting hook. They are typically secured to a designated lifting point on the load, ensuring safe and secure lifting. Lifting chains form part of chain suspensions, which, along with the chains, include a master link, end components like hooks, connecting or shortening components and balancers if required.

Evolution of Lifting Chains:

Modern lifting chains have significantly improved compared to their predecessors. While past chains suffered from low material strength and cumbersome weight, today's chains offer high strength, durability, and cost-effectiveness, making them the preferred choice for lifting and lashing applications. They also weigh considerably less for the same WLL (Working Load Limit), which is beneficial when lifting heavy loads.

Types of Lifting Equipment:

While wire rope and synthetic slings offer alternative lifting options, they have limitations, particularly in terms of adjustability, susceptibility to sharp edges, and performance under extreme temperatures.

Lifting chains stand out with their:

  • Adjustability: Length can be easily modified using additional components.
  • Sharp-edge resistance: They exhibit greater resilience against damage from sharp edges.
  • Temperature tolerance: They perform well across a wider range of temperatures.

Choosing the Right Chain Grade:

Several chain grades (Grade 80, 100, 120) exist, each with its own WLL (Working Load Limit). Selecting the appropriate grade is crucial for safety and efficiency.

Grade 80: This has been in existence since 1970. It is very popular in some parts of the world because it offers affordability. However, it has a lower breaking force and weight limitation.

Tip: RUD was the first chain manufacturer, approved for Grade 80 in 1972

Grade 100: It has been in existence for the last 30 years and is popularly used by many operators. It is a step up over Grade 80 and provides a balance between cost and performance.

Tip: RUD launched Grade 100 as VIP (Verwechslungsfrei in Pink) in 2006, and it is still a popular product used in many lifting applications. Click here for more details on the RUD VIP Grade 100.

Grade 120: Grade 120 is the latest and strongest grade, offering lighter weight and higher breaking force than Grade 80. Exclusive to a few manufacturers (including RUD).

Tip: Grade 120 offers a 30% reduction in weight than Grade 80 because it uses less material. It also possesses a 60% higher breaking force than a Grade 80 chain, and it is extremely robust, tough, and resilient to sharp and rough edges.

What this means is that an ICE Grade 120 Lifting or Lashing Chain - no matter the nominal thickness - can replace a Grade 80 chain of a next-higher nominal thickness.

Click here for more details on RUD ICE 120 Chains.

To be continued ...

Article copyright to RUD Australia. This information is accurate at the time of publication, and RUD Australia takes no responsibility for any errors, inadvertent or otherwise. Some pictures are for illustration only.

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