Cranes are extremely powerful machines with the ability to lift great amounts of weight. However, due to their size and power, large cranes are often left at the mercy of external conditions such as fast winds and sub zero temperatures. This has a significant effect on the crane’s functionality and increases the risk of damage, component failure, and even injuries.
Failure to understand external conditions can put operations at a halt resulting in thousands of dollars worth of loss or more depending on the size of operations. In this blog, we’ll take a look at how a change in temperature affects the performance and safety of cranes.
Cold Weather Conditions
Extremely cold temperatures can have a negative effect on the crane’s performance. Lower temperatures have been noted to affect multiple elements of tower cranes including the hoist, rigging devices, and hydraulic systems. The cold weather also reduces the crane’s tensile strength and in some cases, even leads to catastrophic failures.
When the temperature drops down to 0 degrees Celsius, the cold starts having an effect on the rigging and hoisting devices. Also, the crane’s maximum load capacity and hydraulics begin to show decreased performance. Lifts that must be carried out in cold temperatures should take into account the risk of hydraulic system failure and ideally reduce maximum loads by 25%.
If the temperature goes down to minus 30 to 40 degrees Celsius, lifts should be delayed or reduce the maximum load by 40%. For temperatures lower than minus 40 degrees Celsius, all operations should be halted for anything other than emergency reasons.
Hot Weather Conditions
Although hot weather conditions are less dangerous than cold weather, the heat still poses a risk to overhead cranes. High temperatures reduce the effectiveness of the crane’s seals and increase the risk of them being broken. This makes it crucial to protect it from direct sunlight especially during hot weather.
Windy conditions pose the greatest risk of accidents faced by crane operators. Each crane has a maximum wind speed under which it can be operated safely and anything above that places the workers and machinery in a dangerous position. High winds can make it difficult to maneuver loads. Also, winds speeds tend to get faster the higher loads are lifted making it crucial to understand wind speed, the direction of the wind, and load limitations.
Understanding how the temperature and external conditions can affect your crane is a foundational requirement for ensuring workplace safety. Crane Warning Systems Atlanta provides crane wind speed indicator and crane warning systems that assist crane operators in protecting both the machine and surrounding workers from damage. Contact us today for more information.