Hoist Basics Part 1: Explaining Lifting Types

Hoist Basics Part 1: Explaining Lifting Medium Types

Hoists service are machines used to vertically lift materials and equipment that are too heavy or oversized to safely move by hand. If you work in construction, you likely need hoisting services to get the job done.

To educate our customers about the hoisting services we have available, we have put together this three-part series on hoist service basics. We’ll begin the series by explaining lifting medium types.

“Lifting medium” refers to the component along which a hoisted load travels. The majority of hoists use chains or wire ropes to lift materials to their desired height.

Hoist Service Welded Link Load Chains

A welded link load chain is comprised of interwoven formed-and-welded metal links. The links fit the hoist load sprocket, also called the load wheel, load sheave, pocket wheel, or lift wheel. As an operating mechanism turns the wheel, the load chain transmits motion to the materials attached to the chain via a hook or other anchor.

Welded link load chains come in various sizes, stated as the diameter of the metal that forms each link, such as 1/4-inch or 5/16-inch. Manufacturers design welded link load chains to achieve specific strength ratings based on their size. Users should also know that welded link load chains are not interchangeable. For safety and performance reasons, only use a chain that meets the hoist manufacturer’s original specifications.

Roller Load Chains

A roller load chain consists of alternating pin links and roller links. The pin links articulate inside bushings, and the roller links are free to turn on the bushings. Bicycle chains are an example of this design. Similarly, roller load chains fit on the teeth of the hoist load sprocket, which transmits motion to the load attached to the chain.

Roller load chains come in various sizes, stated as the pitch or spacing between pins, such as 5/8-inch or 3/4-inch. Be aware that roller load chains used in hoist applications have different manufacturing specifications than chains used for power transmission applications. Therefore, the two are not interchangeable.

Hoist Service Wire Ropes

A wire rope contains a core, strands, and wire. It fits within the grooves of the hoist drum, which transmits motion to the wire rope as it spins.

Wire ropes come in various sizes, stated as the diameter of the strand, such as 5/16-inch or 3/8-inch. Numerous rope constructions and material types are available, but they are not all created equal. Be sure to select material strengths and rope sizes according to the hoist manufacturer’s design specifications.

Regardless of the lifting medium you require, Scaffold Resource can help. We provide full-hoist service solutions for customers in DC, Maryland, Virginia, and beyond. With our skilled team and over 24 years of experience to draw from, you can count on us to customize a solution for your most challenging projects. To learn more about our hoist services, or to request a quote, please contact us today at 301-924-7223.

Also, be sure to check out part two of our series on hoist basics: explaining operation types.


Scaffold Resource – https://scaffoldresource.com/

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The Hoist Family – the Roles of Different Hoists Explained


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Scaffold Resource specializes in providing an array of reliable, high-quality vertical access services and solutions to construction sites across Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and beyond.


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