For Columbus McKinnon, early 2015 will be a key period in the expansion of the company’s electric chain hoist offering. Central to this will be a two-ton single fall (single reeved) Lodestar for industrial and entertainment applications. This new model features higher lifting capacity and higher line speed at a lower overall hoist mass, explains the manufacturer.

Elsewhere, its Universal Trolley product line offers a "universal fit for nearly all CMCO brand hoists" up to 3 tons while featuring a modular design that allows quick changes in configuration from plain to hand geared to motorized versions in the same basic package.

Reflecting on the company’s experiences in 2014, Christie Lagowski, communications specialist at Columbus McKinnon says its customer base is continually looking for greater productivity and safety when it comes to lifting applications. "While there are a number of ways to get there, CMCO continues to believe that solid, fundamental user training and the addition of certain elements of technology will drive future increases in both areas," she explains.

She adds: "While not considered a traditional manufacturing sector, CMCO’s customers in the entertainment business are driving not only unit production but also leading us into technology development to support their needs. They are asking for dynamic behavior from hoists to support more sophisticated stage shows while also demanding improvements in weight and size to support more total hoists per event."

Going forward, CMCO is placing the spotlight on the size and weight of its product lines and is looking at different manufacturing and material technologies to increase what its call "lift density" (load lifted per unit of hoist mass).

"Electronic control systems and the "Internet of Things" are definitely playing a much stronger role not only in the entertainment market but also in a number of industrial applications," concludes Lagowski.

Verlinde’s electric hoists are in operation in a diverse number of fields. One such example is at SNT Duriez, an energy conversion and power transformer production specialist. Located at Grand Quevilly, a short distance from the Port of Rouen, the company recently recycled a number of used containers to become electrical transformer stations.

The company is leveraging two suspended cranes, fitted with Verlinde electric wire rope hoists, at the new 2000m2 Grand Quevilly building. A standalone metal structure accommodates the movement of two suspended cranes that are fitted with Verlinde’s Eurobloc VT3 wire rope hoists.

The firm’s suspended cranes are power fed by an electric conduit that is fixed to the metal structure while each of the Verlinde VT3 wire rope hoists power fed by a trailing cable.

Elsewhere, a service platform on the suspended crane enables access to the control cabinet and facilitates maintenance and servicing with the suspended cranes used to enable the hoists to usefully cover practically the whole width.

In addition, limit switches ensure complete safety with the 2-speed hoisting motor for the hoists and horizontal travel provided by a variable speed motor ensure full safety and excellent accuracy for shifting loads. Jean-Bernard Chombard, managing director of SNT Duriez, explains: "Contrary to appearances, it is not enough to simply put all the parts ‘in the box’ and connect them.

"Numerous parameters have to be taken into account and especially that of enclosure cooling. Take, for instance, a 30 MVA transformer designed to operate at 40°C. If its temperature rises to 70°C, its performance drops by 30% and the life span is shortened. SNT’s experience and excellence are such that these aspects are mastered".

"Everything we handle here is heavy and there is almost nothing that can be shifted without the two suspended cranes. The latter are fitted with Verlinde Eurobloc VT3 dual rail wire rope hoists and operate together or separately. For instance, we designed a spreader beam that can lift Shelters by means of slings attached to their four corners using the two cranes in synchronized mode.

"Rather than use a radio remote control system, we opted for a cable control system enabling the two operators to remain near one another thus improving coordination and safety. "The spreader beam keeps the two cranes at the correct distance apart and safety switches prevent possible shocks. The suspended cranes also handle transformers, inverters and other equipment until and including their final installation in shelters."

Elsewhere, Konecranes has expanded its offering for end users carrying low capacity lifts with the launch of the new CLX overhead chain hoist crane. Pitched at customers requiring a combination of performance, safety and reliability during lifts, the CLX range is available in capacities from 500kg up to 5 tonne.

According to the manufacturer, the system comprises durable components and a variety of technical features that ensure smooth and accurate load handling. The CLX chain hoist is specified with a compact aluminium frame that allows for easy access during maintenance. Additionally, the crane features a new magnetic brake is capable of handling more than one million operations, which in real terms will serve the entire lifespan of the actual hoist. The brake and a slipping clutch overload device are also designed to prevent the load from dropping or micro slipping in the event of clutch failure or an unexpected external hazard.

Elsewhere, Konecranes has kickstarted its ‘Quick Ship Program’, which is designed to ship complete industrial overhead cranes in capacities up to 10 tonnes in a four-week period. The crane package comprises a CXT hoist, end trucks, power supply, and single girder steel in spans up to 52 feet.

"Customers can obtain a competitively priced crane quickly, with no compromise on quality," explains Konecranes, Mark Ubl, vice president of industrial crane products, in Region Americas.

He added: "By including the steel, we take all of the guesswork out of delivery and completion. Customers know exactly when their crane will be shipped and can be confident that it contains all the components they need."

Ubl also went onto stress that facilities with capital expenditure budgets, which may have earmarked funds for a 2014 crane purchase means that managers can complete such deals to meet construction deadlines. Konecranes systems in the quick ship initiative are available in 3-, 5-, 7.5- and 10-ton capacities, with either a 2-speed hoist or VFD inverter controls.

Harrington Hoists is enjoying ongoing success with its comprehensive electric chain hoist portfolio. According to Bret Lussow, vice president of business development at the US company, food grade and theatrical hoists are niche products in rapidly growing industries. "Smart Limit hoists were evolved from new technology with variable frequency drives. All of these hoist open new markets and new opportunities for Harrington," he explains. "Demand is strong, particularly for theatrical hoists where customers had limited options and suppliers in the past. We have been pleasantly surprised with the market and growth for these products."

Lussow explains that one area in particular where the manufacturer continues to gain traction is in the entertainment segment with long running concert tours. "Installers love the ease of operation and maintenance free aspect of the TNER. The accolades keep coming and we are gaining some real attention from major installers and users of theatrical motors," he adds.

These additions to its range of theatrical chain hoists have been designed with a number of industryspecific features that include as a "sleek" round body with no sharp edges and built-in handles, grease packed gearbox and a black canvas chain container. The hoists, which can be used in the theatrical and entertainment arena, also feature a pull-rotor motor brake with five-year warranty. Compiling with German regulation BGV-D8, the theatrical chain hoists are available in capacities from 0.5 ton to 2 ton.

In addition, the TNER range features a unique chain guide that is claimed to provide quiet and smooth guiding of the chain for use in standard or reversible configurations. It also features upper and lower paddle limit switches for maximum travel as well as a carbon friction clutch for consistent performance.

The company recently devised a training programme for its TNER theatrical electric chain hoists family called he Entertainment Technician Certification Program (ETCP). This consists of an eight-hour inspection and repair training course that is intended for ETCP certified riggers and electricians. It course covers inspection, repair, maintenance, and troubleshooting the manufacturer’s TNER hoists.

Those taking part will learn how to read and interpret wiring diagrams and troubleshooting electrical problems in the hoist control and motor circuits. In addition, instruction is provided on performing a proper inspection of hoist components per the ASME B30.16 and PLASA / ANSI E1.6-2-2013 standards, as well as maintenance and repair.

In addition to the TNER family, the business offers NER Food Grade hoists that have been "very well received" owing to the comprehensive selection of options we offer. "We do not force a customer into a standard specification, instead we let them design and build a hoists according to their needs and budget," Lussow explains.

The NER-FG series of products are available in a range of capacities that start from ¼ tonne up to a maximum of two tonnes. These hoists are offered as a standard single speed as well as an under the cover, variable frequency drive dual speed specification.

According to the manufacturer, these food grade hoists can be paired with the firm’s range of trolleys, either push, geared or motorized variants, in environments where any incidental contact with the product in question is strictly off-limits.

The NER-FG food grade hoists incorporate all of the features found in the company’s standard N/ER three phase electric chain hoists. This includes the manufacturer’s smart brake technology known as ‘The Guardian’, which is claimed to be a failsafe maintenance-free brake that has a 10-year warranty. Also featured is an extreme duty 60-minute rated motor and a fully-sealed hoist body that is said to be suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications.

In addition, the hoists include standard features such as white epoxy paint for hoists, trolleys, hooks as well as suspenders, nickel-plated load chain, canvas chain container, food grade lubricants in compliance with FDA standards. The manufacturer also outlines that the series can be specified to adhere to specific requirements such as a stainless steel bottom hook, stainless steel trolley wheels, stainless steel side guide rollers, nickel-plated shaft and suspender, stainless steel or plastic chain container.

"Customers are continuing to look for safe, reliable and cost-effective chain hoists. One customer evolution is increased demand for online, real-time information," is a trend being noticed by Brian Stephens, senior product manager at Terex Material Handling North America.

He explains: "As a result, we’ve enhanced our Chain Hoist Designer online tool, which enables customers to completely customize their chain hoist solution. Everything from speed and lift height to details such as color, can be configured and purchased quickly and easily.

"Another customer evolution is desire to purchase a complete and integrated solution rather than buying components from numerous suppliers. Our customers appreciate the ability to purchase electric chain hoists along with freestanding cranes as a complete, seamlessly integrated solution from us as there’s sole accountability for the performance of the purchase."

According to Stephens, the company is seeing growth across all major sectors including automotive and general manufacturing and expects to see growth in variable speed requirements from customers due to increased performance and precision needs.

The manufacturer recently sealed an order for its Demag DCMS-Pro Chain Hoists from a Midwest manufacturer of high capacity hydraulic cylinders used by heavy mobile machines. "Partnering with Demag increases our flexibility and gives us a great resource for designing custom lifting and assisted lifting solutions," explains Mike Shannahan, owner of Cynergy Ergonomics.

John Paxton, general manager of Terex Material Handling North America added: "This order is an excellent example of leading manufacturers continuing to choose Demag products to help enhance plant ergonomics and safety."