Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bridge Cranes and Hoist Duty Cycles by Guest Blogger Richard Wehrmeister

This week is The LeCrane Chronicles first Bi-Monthly! I want to start the first one with a highly reputable guest blogger. This month I am pleased to have a post from Richard Wehrmeister. Mr. Wehrmeister is the General Manager of AdvancedOverhead Crane out of Houston Texas. Advanced Overhead Crane has been in busy for many years and is highly respected in the Texas area.

I was scrolling through my LinkedIn groups the other day and I came across this post regarding the duty cycles of electric motors. I had thought this gentleman had brought up a good point. Why won’t bridge crane manufacturers label their cranes with the designed duty cycle? Just because you have a H4 duty bridge motors does not mean your trolley is H4 or the duty cycle of the crane itself an H4 rated crane system. It would be beneficial to know what the crane was designed for regardless of the duty cycle of each individual motor on the crane. The hoisting mechanism is an integral part of the crane. Therefore the duty cycle of the hoist should be the same for the crane correct? You would think so, however this is not always the case. So if the manufacture labeled the crane with an overall duty rating, it would help in the future of the crane with decisions for certain retro-fits, and also an increase of crane usage. Lets hear what Richard had to say about this topic…..

Bridge Crane and Hoist Duty Cycles by author: Richard Wehrmeister

For quite some time I have been an advocate of having all manufacturer’s adding the duty cycle designation to both the hoist and the bridge crane nameplate. My reasoning for this is it allows the bridge crane inspector to analyze the actual duty cycle as operated to the manufacturer’s designed duty cycle. It is not unusual to find equipment that is being used beyond the manufacturers designed duty cycle.

Situations that have come up:
• Equipment was sold for one application and over time the application changed to a more strenuous duty cycle.
• Equipment sold did not meet the application requirements from the start.

To give a couple of examples:
• A number of years back we sold a class C crane with a class H3 hoist. The crane was going to be used in a testing lab. The crane/hoist was only being used 3-4 times a day under capacity load. We were trying to save the customers a few dollars with the H3 hoist. Big mistake, after a couple of years the lab was gone and the crane/hoist became a production crane/hoist. While the crane is working trouble free for the operation the H3 hoist would not hold up. In other words the hoist had on going problems with both the mechanical load brake and the hoist motor brake up until we change out the hoist to a H4 classification.
• Not long ago we were asked for a second opinion involving a hoist. When looking at the hoist from the floor, I remarked that it looked like a brand new hoist with the gear cover off. The customer said that the hoist was a few weeks old. I started to question the customer about the application and I noticed a very large lifting magnet sitting at the other end of the shop and looking back up at the hoist I saw a cord reel. Of course my question to the owner was how often did they use the magnet and did they leave the magnet hanging on the hook during a normal shift. This magnet was about the size of a scrap yard magnet and for those of you familiar, they are very heavy. Once I received my answer I told him that the hoist would not work in this application unless he wanted to rebuild the mechanical load brake every few weeks. He was upset and of course I asked him if he addressed the hoist application with the supplier before ordering the hoist. Note: The lifting magnet far exceeded the maximum weight requirements allowed by the manufacturer for a below the hook device on this particular hoist.

The duty service classifications for hoists are listed In ASME HST Performance Standards. ASME lists five duty classifications H1, H2, H3, H4 and H5.

The duty classifications for bridge cranes are listed In CMAA 70 and 74. CMAA lists six duty classifications A, B, C, D, E and F.

Both ASME and CMAA define each classification according to loading groups and the service conditions as close as possible, taking into account the speed, load and quantity of lifts in a time frame.
Getting back to my first paragraph I believe this is a topic that both ASME and CMAA should address when Regulations and Specifications become due for rewrite. A simple change to a name plate is a very small cost when we’re only talking about adding a couple digits to a name plate however the only way these changes can get done is to get more crane inspectors, manufacturers and associations involved in advocating change. You comments would be appreciated.


What do you think about this?
Do you feel that adding the duty rating to the crane will be a benefit for the manufacturer or owner? 
Please share your thoughts on this subject.


Calvin LeClair is a representative of Koneranes, A global overhead crane and hoist service company and manufacturer.


  1. I agree completely. Just as we label the capacity of the crane to match the lowest capacity of the components, we should also label it to match the lowest rated duty cycle.

    We are in the motor repair business along with the overhead crane business. As new efficiency standards have some out regarding motors, our customers have become educated on duty cycles, service factors, etc. There is no reason to believe that crane users couldn't adapt and understand similar standards as Richard describes.

  2. Totally true Michael. I can see how useful an amended name plate with the cranes duty cycle could benefit the crane industry. It takes a lot of the guess work out of retrofitting an older crane, and it also lets the customer know what he is really getting. It is all about the willingness to learn. The customers that learn the nomenclature are the ones that make the right decisions on their equipment and will be able to see the benefits in their maintenance investments.Thank you for commenting!

  3. Many companies don't analyze all possible requirements before purchasing the bridge crane. When the requirements are suddenly changed or some new requirements are introduced, the machine requires changes, which costs the company a lot, most of the time. Getting a detail information about the crane, about its efficiency and any possible upgrade will be very beneficial in choosing the crane.

  4. Wonderful information by Overhead Crane! Actually I was searching from last many months about best Overhead Crane company from India. thanks for sharing your blog post.

  5. Wow, thanks for this post! I came across your blog when searching for hoist info and I am glad that I had the chance to read it. Thanks for the insight! I will be back to read more in the future.

  6. Agree completely with the article Rich. Top priority should be given to all operators and contractors using heavy equipment such as bridge cranes, budgit electric hoist, and other material handling equipment. A re-write of regs. is defiantly in order.

  7. Finding companies that do this is quite difficult, is one of the few that I know of who does this as a standard.

  8. turnkey contractors in india
    Liked the post. Looking forward for more like this.