Understanding How Chain and Wire Rope Hoists Differ

Posted on April 20, 2018 in Gantry Cranes

Using drums or lift wheels, hoists are able to move loads vertically and can be operated electrically or manually.  Furthermore, industry professionals typically rely on one of two different types of electrical hoists, namely chain or wire rope.  When you’re analyzing a particular lifting task, there are 4 key factors that you have to consider for both types of hoists including:



  • application type
  • capacity
  • duty cycle
  • environmental conditions



So whether it’s the aerospace, automotive, construction, or food and beverage industry, there is always a need for heavy materials lifting and handling equipment. You need to check and see the amount and varied lifting needs that your business has before investing in heavy duty weight lifting options.


Chain Hoists


These types of hoists lift materials by pulling a chain through a sprocket and then moving it into a chain holder.  They are typically used in applications that require the lifting of loads weighing less than 10 tons. Compared to wire hoists, chain hoists require far less preventative maintenance.  Additionally, they differ from rope hoists in that they are able to provide what is known as “true vertical lift.”  In other words, they must rise straight up without making any lateral movement.


This is typically used with applications where precise vertical placement is required.  For less demanding environmental projects and other shop tasks, chain hoists are the more economical (cost-effective) alternative.  Since they are enclosed and protected against harmful chemicals and certain outdoor factors, chain hoists are the ideal choice for such applications and tasks.


Wire Rope Hoists


When lifting materials loads with a wire rope hoist, a cable is wrapped around a drum that has been grooved in order to accommodate it.  For material loads weighing 10 tons or more, you want a wire rope hoist instead of a chain hoist. This particular type of hoist is characterized by having a broader variety of choices or options and is capable of lifting at much faster speeds.  Because chain models are more susceptible to wear and tear, the wire rope varieties are the ideal choice for those tasks requiring frequent use.


However, since the wire rope travels around a grooved drum, slight lateral movement of material loads is not uncommon.  Despite the fact that this movement is negligible, you have to use chain hoists in order to maintain true vertical lift.  It’s important to keep this is mind when precise vertical placement is imperative for certain tasks such as stripping molds.  It’s also important to understand which hoist is going to provide you with the most durability based on the type of application it is needed for.

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