There are many scenarios where a need to lift and handle pipe arises. Pipe is common in infrastructure and construction projects where drain or sewer pipe is being laid in the ground. Pipe is also moved around workshops during fabricating processes and found in machining centers. It is easy to imagine the various material handling challenges this variety of applications present.

A common problem with pipe, whether it be made from concrete, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or cast iron, is finding space to put a lifting tong around the outside of the load, mainly because pipes are often stacked closely together. It is also an economic and logistical challenge to work with multiple diameters of pipe that can exist even on a single jobsite or project.

Pipe handling can typically be catered for with a standard range of products – say, 85% of orders – especially when a breadth of solution is available. Oftentimes, pipe is manufactured to common industry standards, which makes it easier to know the diameters in play, albeit there are many different sizes, and they all seem to be ubiquitous.

Longer pipe and rounds can be difficult to handle because of balance. A good operator can locate the middle of the pipe consistently but the most sure-fire way to be sure is to use a spreader or lifting beam with two lifting devices. We supply pipe tongs that utilize outriggers for helping balance the load. Tongs can only handle a set range so anyone wanting to handle, for example, 6in up to 24in diameter with a tong, may need to use three separate ones.

These complexities mean that bad practice continues to exist in pipe handling; sometimes we see extreme sling angels when using end hooks to make a lift, or a lifting tong that is too large to fit a smaller diameter. It reiterates the importance of selecting the right belowthe- hook product for the task at hand.

We have numerous items in our pipe handling line. Some products hang from a traditional crane hook, while others require some type of two-legged rigging solution, for example, synthetic slings, chains, or wire ropes. Our pipe hook (PH) models are sold in pairs and are designed for lifting and carrying steel or cast iron pipe without damaging the load. Then there are pipe picks and pipe grabs.

Our manual and automatic realising tongs, meanwhile, are also popular, as are our self-leveling C-hooks for concrete pipes. Our Renfroe range even features a curved jaw concept for lifting steel pipe from the end and standing it upright or laying it down. Magnets and vacuum lifters can also be used in certain applications too.

Our best-selling tea cup pipe carriers now offer a smoother exterior surface, lighter weight, and CE markings. The carrier is an efficient way for customers to handle concrete water and sewer pipes, saving time and money in the process. A set comes with two carriers for use with 0.75in and 1.0in wire ropes and two low profile carriers for use with 0.75in and 1.0in wire ropes.

This breadth of offering presents the end user with an abundance of choice. Remember, the first thing is to determine what is the most practical solution for the specific requirements. In other words, find the most important element of the lift/s, and then prioritise. Cost, cycle time, safety, etc., must all be factored into the purchasing or sourcing decision.

Normal ASME BTH-1 design standards are used in all our pipe handling product lines. Sling angles need to be known and understood in line with the operators’ rigger training.