An electrical hoist is a mechanism similar to a crane used to lower, raise, and relocate objects and machinery too heavy for manual lifting. While some are powered by hydraulics or, for lighter loads, are hand cranked, most hoists are electrically powered for a wide range of lifting applications.
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Applications of Electrical Hoists
Electrical hoists have many different uses within the industrial sector and are commonly found in factories, manufacturing facilities, construction zones, and plants. The automotive, aerospace, construction, engineering, mechanics, agricultural, medical and manufacturing industries all use lifting hoists of some kind to safely move heavy vehicle and aircraft engines, building parts and supplies, injured or elderly patients in a hospital or nursing home who are not able to move themselves, agricultural equipment and vehicles, cars that need work done to their underbodies, and anything else that is too heavy to be manually relocated.
Electrical Hoist Design and Function
Electrical hoists are both a genre of hoists with many subcategories as well as a specific type of hoist itself. Electric hoists are the most common hoist because they are able to lift thousands of pounds but are still considered cost effective in comparison to hydraulic hoists. They are sometimes mounted to the ceiling, but are most often of stand-alone construction and composed of metal rails, a long metal chain or wire rope that is employed for the actual lifting, one or more electric motors, and a gear box, in which the controls are located. Within the hoist family are engine hoists, car hoists, chain hoists, and cable hoists, just to name a few.
The most important specification when lifting objects with an electrical hoist is the maximum weight capacity—the object being raised must not exceed the weight requirements to ensure worker safety is not compromised and the hoist will not drop the load or tumble over on its side. The actual lifting is done with either a metal chain or wire rope, which is composed of several metal wires wound around a rubber core. These components are attached to a large hook. Often, the load being lifted must have a hoist sling attached around it to be lifted in a balanced manner.
Notable Types of Electrical Hoists
There are several different types of electric hoists, each of which are designed to lift specific objects and weights. Overhead hoists are attached to a ceiling beam or a linear track and are able to move back and forth. Portable hoists are free standing and composed of a metal frame. They often have wheels and are lightweight and easy to transport from one location to another. Some hoists are designed to lift whole vehicles, usually for car maintenance and mechanics. They consist of four bars, each with a wheel platform. Since automobiles weigh multiple tons, these car hoists must have a great lift capacity, especially since employees work underneath the raised car. Depending on how high the load must be lifted, hoists all have chains and cables of different length. They are wound around a spool by a mechanical lifting device called a winch.