How are below the hook devices improving lifting safety?

By Niamh Marriott28 November 2022

Below the hook devices securely balance components and improve the safety of lifting work, whatever the size or shape of the load. Niamh Marriott reports.

Two Modulift lightweight spreader beams Two Modulift lightweight spreader beams used by Liftek on waterbag test. (Photo: Modulift)

A big return to live events, and in particular the return of the behemoth tradeshow Bauma in October this year, has meant the industry can test and try out a plethora of new products designed to improve lifting work, and see their effectiveness in person.

Below the hook devices aim to improve the stability of cargo, the efficiency of the moving work and the safety of all people involved.

Below the hook devices can be used in a testing capacity prior to machines being used on site.

Recently, two Modulift spreader beams were used to perform a 2,420 tonne load test in Dubai, UAE, by Liftek International.

The MOD 1000 beams were used in a crucifix configuration to perform the test, with each beam lifting a load of 990 tonnes, and the remaining load being suspended directly from the crane hook.

Lightweight spreader beams

The project was a collaboration between several specialist equipment suppliers around the world. P-6043 Green Pin shackles, of 600 and 500 tonnes, were provided by Royal Van Beest.

Wireless load links, load pin shackles and T24 electronics came from Load Monitoring Systems, and two waterbags, 110MT and 50MT, cable laid grommets and round slings manufactured by Liftek International were also used.

Modulift spreader beams used in crucifix configuration for a load test in Dubai Modulift spreader beams used in crucifix configuration for a load test in Dubai. (Photo: Modulift)

Sarah Spivey, managing director at Modulift, said, “It’s encouraging to see our beams being used as part of such a demanding project.

The MOD 1000 is ideal for this type of lift due to its relatively low self-weight.

“Our spreader beams are specially designed to provide a lightweight solution so that cranes can work at maximum capacity.”

All products in the Modulift spreader beam range are compliant with ASME, BS and DNV standards. Capacities range from 6 to 3,000 tonnes and can be re-used without the need to re-test or re-certify even when dismantled and re-configured.

Remote controlled lifting hooks

Below-the-hook rigging encompasses a wide variety of products and, moreover, it’s become an area in which automation is increasingly been applied.

Montreal, Canada-based OTH Pioneer Rigging has launched a new line of lifting hooks that are remotely controlled to allow workers to release rigging from loads safely from a distance.

With an unlimited number of hooks synchronised on the same remote, users can design their own setup.

Both models, with a 1,995 kg and 5,262 kg working load limit, work with vertical, basket or choker setups and any kind of attachment (wire rope, nylon rope, chains, eye bolts, etc.) to lift up to 45,359 kg.

For high cycle tasks such as steel erection, wood framing, components delivery or trans-loading, the remote-controlled hook can save up to four hours of the time it takes to release loads over the course of the day, the company said.

Mechanical fall protection
The Green Pin Catch Shackle The Green Pin Catch Shackle was developed in co-operation with DROPS. (Photo: Green Pin)

The remote control is colour coded to co-ordinate with hooks, which can be opened all at once or one at a time.

The remote control triggers an opening mechanism, and a two-button release sequence is required to open the hook.

This below-the-hook lifting device features a mechanical fall protection design that switches off the opening mechanism of the hook during the lift.

“The rugged design and streamlined shape of the hook is designed for work in harsh environments, and features long-lasting battery life, capable of making more than 100 lifts per day for a full week before recharging is required,” OTH said.

“The hook remains locked if the battery is fully discharged.”

Preventing objects falling from height

Preventing the dropping of equipment and components from height is a core concern for the lifting industry. Dropped objects are a well-known safety hazard and a leading cause of accidents.

Green Pin offers a solution to this problem with its Green Pin Catch shackle, which prevents the accidental dropping of shackle bolts, nuts, cotter pins and even complete shackles.

SkyLifter solar electric air crane SkyLifter is a solar electric air crane that can vertically lift payloads beyond the technical limits of the largest helicopters. (Photo: Skylifter)

The shackles have an attachment point on each individual component to connect them to a lanyard which can be securely fastened to something or someone, a tool belt the rigger is wearing, etc.

The disc on the nut that enables tethering rotates independently from the nut itself, thereby not coiling the attached lanyard.

The Green Pin Catch Shackle is supplied without any wiring so every user can choose their preferred method of securing the products.

Solar electric air crane

As wind turbines for electricity generation grow taller and are moving further away from the coast, the industry looks for ways to ensure safety and improve efficiency.

Mammoet’s wind innovation challenge aims to find solutions for safe and efficient load transfer between two floating vessels, and methods to reduce the cost of wind turbine maintenance.

Earlier in 2022 the final of the 5th offshore wind innovation challenge showcased two such options – the SkyLifter and Seaqualize. SkyLifter is a solar electric air crane that can vertically lift payloads, up to 250 tonnes, beyond the technical limits of the largest helicopters.

Comprising a lenticular aerostat and an underslung pod, it is a lighter than air vessel designed to remain in a geo-stationary position with minimal energy expenditure.

Should the idea fly the weight considerations and its eight load suspension lines will make for some interesting solutions below the hook.

The Seaqualize Delta is a hook-suspended unit that turns a standard heavy lifting crane into a high-performance active heave-compensated crane.

The Seaqualize Delta turns any standard heavy lifting crane into a high-performance active heave-compensated crane. The Seaqualize Delta turns any standard heavy lifting crane into a high-performance active heave-compensated crane. (Photo: Seaqualize)

It allows operations such as floating transition piece installations, feeder barge lifts of delicate components such as turbine nacelles, and even transfers from feeder barge to floating heavy lift vessel to take place more reliably.

During feeder barge operations it can offer more than 80 per cent higher workability during winter months, vastly extending the envelopes during which work can take place, and so keeping expensive specialist vessels busy.

Rated for 600 tonnes, its full passive load control ensures smooth motion with no accidental lift-offs or re-hits, resulting in a more productive and safer workplace.

Continuing development of below the hook devices can only lead to better lifting work, and with the ongoing implementation of automation, safety on site should only continue to improve.

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