Promoting hoists is a huge but essential task

11 February 2019

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I was explaining to a friend recently what it is specifically that I write about as a journalist. Before becoming editor of Hoist I worked on our other lifting title Cranes Today for a couple of years, which is a topic simple to explain to people who don’t work in our industry—tower cranes in particular are an everyday sight in towns and cities. It took a few sentences, though, for my mate—who admittedly has no background in engineering—to fully understand what we mean by a hoist.

This got me thinking about the way our industry promotes its products and capabilities. It seems to me that there’s a twofold challenge—firstly that permanently-installed lifting equipment is often ‘hidden’ inside buildings, out of the public eye, and therefore unable to illustrate the application it’s being used for. Secondly, the sheer range and scope of possible applications for hoists is enormous, covering almost every conceivable industry.

This versatility reminds me of a problem I was informed about by a manufacturer of spider cranes, the small, portable lifting devices used, for example, to fit windows in new builds. The manufacturer explained that it’s difficult to properly promote the products, because its impossible to cover all the possible end uses for them. Even if you mention several industries that use them, there are always some opportunities you won’t have time or space to cover. And again similarly to hoists, the manufacturer also mentioned that spider cranes are typically used indoors, out of sight, so the important jobs they complete cannot be seen by passers-by or, often, visitors to the site.

So, what can be done to ensure that potential users of hoists are as fully-informed as possible in terms of the potential applications and other positive qualities of hoists?

Well, firstly there’s the work of industry bodies such as the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA). As you’ll see later in this issue, I recently visited Ross Moloney, appointed as CEO last January, at LEEA’s Huntingdon base. They’re working on a broad programme of activity to ensure that lifting equipment and projects have the excellent reputation they deserve.

And, manufacturers can produce case studies— accounts of projects completed with their clients, looking at the challenge that needed addressing, and the lifting solution that was installed. As a journalist I shouldn’t really say this, but a picture can really be worth a thousand words—and accompanying a great job-site photo with some further information can very quickly explain one of the many uses of hoists. The more case studies that are out there, the more that overhead lifting systems will be understood, appreciated, and used. Customers are not always willing to be named, of course—in this issue’s aerospace feature we’ve had to omit some names for confidentiality, for example, due to the nature of the sector—but even so, I think you’ll agree that the coverage shows hoists in a great light.