Electric Chain HoistWhen you are shopping for an electric hoist the first thing that strikes you is the number and variety of hoists available, and this can leave buyers a little confused. Deciding to buy a hoist over its manual counterpart is already in itself an insightful choice because electric hoists are more universal and easy to install. The universality coupled with the ability to mount and remove it easily means that you can use them in many different locations and in many scenarios.

What To Consider When Buying An Electric Hoist

If you are convinced that an electric hoist is really the way to go, then all you now need is to understand your requirements and what options are available to you, so  you can find the perfect hoist for your needs. Here are a few things to put consider before making your purchase.

Pulling power – The rated line pull of your electric hoist determines the efficiency of the device. Regardless of whether you choose a deep drum or wide drum, you should ensure that the maximum rated line pull of your electric hoist is one and half times the gross weight of your load.

Electric motor power – How fast it works while unwinding or winding the cable is dependent on how powerful the motor is. You have a choice between picking a 2.1 or.5 hp depending on your speed needs. Generally people prefer the most powerful motor but these will make you dig a little deeper into your pocket.

How safe is your hoist – Your safety and vehicle safety must be paramount. Ensure that the equipment meet safety guidelines requirements before making your purchase because otherwise you could damage your vehicle especially the frame.

How flexible is it – As mentioned earlier, electric hoists are mostly universal and so can be used in several locations but this is determined by the flexibility of the hoist you are buying. A good electric hoist should be able to offer different mounting combinations so that you can easily move it from one location to the next.

The price tag – People don’t usually just buy items without having a budget in mind. Like any other commodity there are several brands and several stores offering the same so take your time to find the best brand that offers the most affordable hoists and also find a store that cares for the consumers, there is always a store that is offering discounts and so you should not miss out on opportunities like these.

What is an Overhead Electric Hoist?

overhead electric hoistAn overhead electric hoist is typically a hoist which is attached to an i-beam, gantry or track.  They can be fixed in a single point or more commonly they use a trolley to slide along the i-beam or track.

The benefit of using the trolley system with an overhead electric hoist is that you can move the hoist to any position along the beam or track that you need for any given job or to move items from one place to another easily.

Things to consider when choosing an overhead electric hoist:

  • Capacity (lbs. or tons)
  • Lift (ft.)
  • Lifting Speed in ft. per min (fpm)
  • Lifting Medium – chain or wire rope. Is true vertical lift required?
  • Power Supply Voltage
  • Control Voltage – a reduced control circuit voltage usually (24 or 115 volts) accomplished by the use of a transformer in the hoist. This prevents the higher power supply voltage from reaching the operator through the hoist’s push button station.
  • Push Button Cord Length – standard length is approximately 4 ft. less than lift.
  • Power Cord Length – standard lengths vary by manufacturer and/or hoist model.
  • Abnormal Operating Conditions – Will the hoist function properly in its environment? (corrosive, outdoor, dusty/dirty, extreme temperature ranges, hazardous locations,etc.)
  • Duty Cycle Requirements – Does the specific hoist you select meet the application’s duty requirements?
  • Type of Suspension – Hook (swivel or rigid), lug, trolley (push, hand geared or motorized).
  • Headroom Requirements
  • Trolley Hand Chain Drop (ft.) – for hand geared trolleys.
  • Trolley Speed (fpm) – motorized trolleys
  • Beam Size and type that the trolley will operate on.
  • Accessories – any special options or special requirements needed?

Duty Cycle

Duty cycle is one of the most important considerations when choosing an electric hoist for a particular application. Duty cycle can be most easily defined as “a specified number of operations at stated intervals”. For an electric hoist, duty cycle is how much work the hoist must perform in a given period. The weight of the load, lifting distance and frequency of operation, all play an important role in determining the duty cycle capability of an electric hoist.

The Hoist Manufacturer’s Institute has classified duty cycle requirements by hoist class – either class H1, H2, H3, H4 or H5, as illustrated on page 16. Most hoist manufacturer’s classify their hoists by this criteria and catalog this information for customer use. Generally speaking, all industrial grade electric hoists available on the US market today meet at least H3 duty cycle as a minimum requirement.

Most electric hoist manufacturers offer overload protection devices for their electric powered hoists, either as standard equipment, or as an added cost option. Some use internal friction type clutches, while others use electrical shut-off devices, or low torque hoist motors.

Power Supply Voltage

Electric hoists are available in several different power supply voltages. Common AC power supplies used in the USA are: 115-1-60 and 230-1-60 (single phase, 60 hertz household voltages), 208-3-60, 230-3-60, 460-3-60 and 575-3-60 (3 phase, 60 hertz industrial voltages). Single phase hoists are available for certain models dependent on motor horsepower and hoist capacity. Three phase hoists are usually available in all capacities. If required, special motor voltages can usually be furnished at a small extra charge. Voltage information can be found in the manufacturer’s sales specifications.

Typical Uses for Overhead Electric Hoists

Electric hoists have many uses and are sold through many different supply outlets. Standard products can easily be obtained from local supply houses, while more specialized products are often obtained through material handling specialists, or crane builders.

Electric hoists are commonly found in industrial plants for the raising, lowering and transporting material through- out the facility and positioning components in process or assembly operations.

Some more specific uses/markets are:

  • Shipping, receiving, and warehousing
  • Automotive industry
  • Fabricating shops/machine shops
  • Foundries and steel mills
  • Metal plating
  • Lumber mills
  • Food handling / pharmaceutical
  • Textiles
  • Chemical plants
  • Manufactured housing industry

Now you are set to make your purchase

While doing your considerations as mentioned above you should be able to come up with a short list of the electric hoists you are going to have a look at in terms of specific rated line pulls, electric power and safety. Along with these you should also have a short list of brands to choose from and stores offering discounts. Putting all these together should lead you to one or two stores at most and you can happily walk in, select yourself the best hoist for your requirements.