When you need to lift heavy objects like the engine of a Boeing 747, you’re not doing it with a team of guys, yelling at them to “put their back into it”. You’re doing it with a crane and sling. Choosing the right kind of sling requires understanding of the application. Depending on the details, you’ll have to choose between wire rope, chain, and synthetic slings.
Wire rope slings are a popular choice for automotive, construction, oil and gas, and general manufacturing industries where a variety of heavy loads and rugged conditions exist. Wire ropes have high strength and flexibility, can be abrasion and corrosion resistant, and are relatively cheap. However, they’re not the strongest sling and relatively susceptible to damage from misuse and abuse. Because they’re also not repairable or easy to inspect, over time it can be costly to use.
Chain slings are often used in foundries, heavy duty machine shops, steel mills, and other environments where repetitive lifts or harsh conditions would damage or destroy any other kind of sling. Chain slings have a flexible design that makes them stronger, more durable, and able to withstand impact, extreme temperatures up of to 1000?, and exposure to chemicals and UV rays. Each link or link segment is also easy to inspect, repair, proof-test, and recertify if damaged. However, chain slings are significantly heavier than other slings and can even crush and damage sensitive or finished parts. Their initial cost is also much higher.
Synthetic slings are extremely popular in construction and other general industries because they’re so flexible, inexpensive, and easy to replace. They’re strong enough to lift heavy loads, but are flexible enough to conform to any object shape and protect expensive and delicate loads from scratching and crushing. Unfortunately, they’re have low-heat, chemical, and damage resistance, so a lot of consideration needs taken when using synthetic slings.
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