Installing an overhead crane or hoist in your warehouse makes the process of moving materials on and off of high racks much safer and easier for your team, but only if each load is supported by the right sling. The sling is responsible for carrying the weight of the load and ensuring it doesn't slip and fall as it moves slowly through the air. Learn how to match sling types to the demands of your particular loads to prevent accidents and save money on material handling equipment.
Metal ropes and cables made from twisted bundles of wire are commonly used in warehouse settings for pallets and other large loads because they're affordable and offer a lot of strength for the price. Both coated and uncoated varieties are available, with the coating protecting the metal from corrosion. The longest possible hoist slings are made from this material because only twisted strands of wire offer the same performance regardless of the length of the rope. These slings are most strongly limited by their inability to bend and wrap completely around an object. Tight bends wear out the rope prematurely, so it's essential to only use relatively large and wide loads in these slings or add padding to prevent the rope from making too tight of a bend.
Need to adjust the sling after each load to accommodate a different shape or size? Chain slings offer the most adjustability to save time in a busy warehouse. This time-saving feature is balanced out by the heavy weight of the material, which makes it more tiring for employees to lift these slings for inspection and to attach them to the hoist. However, the durability and reliability are two more features that make it worth the extra weight. Make sure you offer extra training in the inspection and maintenance of these heavy-duty slings since it takes a more experienced eye to spot early signs of wear and damage to a chain sling.
For basic warehouse product transfers, nylon or polyester webbing is the most commonly chosen option because it's affordable, easy to inspect for damage, and surprisingly versatile. While webbing made from synthetic materials is not as durable or cut-resistant as the metal sling options, these slings are safer than those models if a breakage does occur because the material won't cause as many serious injuries if it comes in contact with someone while whipping from the force of the break. Unlike products made of uncoated metal, synthetic webbing slings also offer great chemical resistance. Other benefits of synthetic webbing include:
- Mildew and rot resistance due to the fact that the synthetic fibers don't absorb or trap moisture, grease, and other contaminants
- Less chance of damage to the surface of a polished, painted, or coated item due to the smooth surface of the webbing
- High weight limits, with some slings being rated for a maximum of 300,000 pounds
- Shock absorbency, which means an accidental jerk from the hoist won't immediately cause the sling to fail and the load to fall.
Finally, don't forget about the unusual but powerful round slings available for warehouse hoists. These models are crafted from bundles of high strength synthetic yarn fibers which are surrounded with an oversized nylon or polyester sleeve. The extra space around the bundle prevents abrasions from weakening those fibers if the load shifts or slides against the sling as it is being moved. These slings offer the tightest fits around loads with unusual shapes, and they also stretch less over time than the usual synthetic webbing. Affordability and a light weight make them popular with warehouse owners and employees alike.
For more information, contact a company like Tri State Surplus Co.