What are the different types of industrial hoists?

A man using an aerial lift.

Hoists are machines designed to lift heavy objects in a row. They typically do this by using a stationary motor to wind a thread attached to an object. Industrial hoists fall into three categories: electric, pneumatic and hydraulic; they can also be characterized by the type of thread they use, such as chain or rope. Industrial hoists operate in a wide range of applications and sizes. This can be anything from lifting small paving stones to heavy shipping containers.

Gantry cranes have industrial winches for loading heavy containers.

Originally, hoists were powered by hand or steam and used locking systems and equipment. Contemporary industrial hoists often employ electrical cables, steel cables or electrical currents. Relying on motors for rotational force, the hoists overcome weight, or linear gravitational force, to pick up objects. The pulling motion pulls the object up and down as the thread winds around a rotating cylinder. This movement is assisted by small or large cranes to transport the object to another place, or by mounting units on cross beams and allowing them to move laterally.

Port cranes use industrial winches.

Industrial hoists are used in many different contexts. Electric types are the most popular, while pneumatic and hydraulic hoists are often designed to meet more specific applications. Loads with capacities from tens to thousands of pounds or kilograms can be moved by electric chain hoists, which generally have variable operating speeds. Typically operated by remote switch, some are designed for silent operation. This can help in scenarios like theaters to raise and lower preset plays.

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Typically, industrial winches are in contrast to winches, which can be vehicle-mounted equipment that perform a similar function. Industrial hoists can be mounted on anything from lifting car engine mounts, or even the cars themselves, to small excavators used in landscaping, to booms, cranes and overhead lifts. They can be used in manufacturing and industry as well as emergency operations. Some can be mounted on swingarms, while others hang from colossal winches that mount beams. Other industrial winches are attached to Goliath cranes, harbor or gantry cranes, to assist in lifting large-scale loads.

Numerous industrial hoist technologies assist in material handling for jobs ranging from manual labor to personal or industrial transport and large-scale construction projects. Despite modern advancements, some continue to rely on simply turning a wheel by hand to provide lift, as with drywall ceiling hoists. Additional varieties employ lifting slings, which are reinforced straps that assist in lifting objects without damaging them, such as small planes, boats and people in rescue operations.

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