The other misconception is that the load brake requires an annual inspection. This is incorrect. All load brakes are self-adjusting and minimum maintenance is required. There is however cases the load brake require an inspection. If you hear clicking sounds coming from your load brake then an adjustment is required and can be done externally with the adjustment nut. However if it has been several years since the gear case has been opened and inspected than it is a good idea to open the gear case to inspect the brake linings and other components. Lubrication to the load brake is also highly important. Every time pressure is applied to the load brake the heat is dissipated by the lubricant. If not enough lubrication is in the gear case than the brake will over heat destroying the brake liners. In some cases forced cooling is required for heavy loads. The lubrication should either be changed out annually or lab tested. The viscosity of the lubricant is vital to control the operating temperature of the gear case. Old or dirty oil will change the original viscosity of the oil. Like anything oil too has a shelf life even if it is clean. If the viscosity or oil level is too high or too low it can cause overheating, excessive power consumption, and foaming. It is recommended to inspect the gear case and load brake every 4 years or per your OEM. Each OEM will have a different recommendation so check with your owner’s manual for inspection frequency. It is recommended as well to test the load brake annually at 25% of the load capacity. Not following your OEM recommendations could result to premature wear of your load brake.
I hope this small amount of information has been helpful to you. The inspection process although not annually is very important in safety of your crane and in extending the life of it. It may be a costly investment but it is vital in preserving the life of your crane and the safety of those that work under it.