How to Enhance a Standard Hoist & Crane

 Date: 3/22/2021
Previous Blog: Winches vs. Wire Rope Hoists


Enhance your standard hoist for optimal performance and lifespan

It isn’t often that two companies need identical cranes. Even if the overall application is the same, the physical environment around their operations may be different, or the operating team may have specific requirements for the lifts they’re executing. That’s why it is important to choose the right hoist system and components that suit your application – ultimately, saving you money on unexpected maintenance and optimizing the lifespan of your crane.

There are several additional features commonly added to hoists to increase safety, performance and/or the lifespan of your equipment. Today, we look at 12 common features that can elevate the potential of your hoisting equipment.


Why add features to your standard hoists and cranes?

Depending on the application, sometimes additional features for hoists and cranes are essential.

Take, for example, an outside crane near a seashore. Because of the outdoor, maritime environment, the hoist should be protected with components that provide an IP rating of 66 instead of 55 to prevent water, salt and sand from damaging the electronics. Your hoist may also need heaters and other features to prevent condensation from forming near the electronics, and you should use specialty paint for added protection against corrosion from salty air.

When we quote equipment for an application like this one, we present the quote with these crucial safety and longevity features accounted for. However, it’s not uncommon – unfortunately – for competitors to quote the same project with a basic hoist…and wait for the services and parts requests to come in quickly after installation.

Is that route cheaper upfront? Most often, yes.

Will you have a crane that runs optimally and safely for as long as it possibly can? Definitely not.

Right-sizing and optimizing your hoist from the start will prevent unnecessary maintenance and downtime, increase the performance quality and extend the lifespan of your crane.


What additional features are available and when would it make sense to use them?

In addition to choosing the standard crane system that best fits your needs, you can select additional features to enhance your hoist for optimal performance based on your application and the environment. The following list explains common hoist and crane additions and their use cases.


Multiple Hoists on One Bridge

Multiple hoists on one bridge allows you to easily lift loads of different weight and size from one location of the bridge to another without disrupting workflow. One application is to have two hoists of the same capacity, allowing operators to have multiple picking points on the same bridge. Another common application is to have a large capacity maintenance hoist for occasional use, and a smaller capacity workhorse hoist for daily work.


Crane Lights

These allow you to illuminate key areas of the workspace for better safety. Building lights are often installed above the crane, and the bridge crane could block this lighting. Crane lights allow for consistently bright task lighting of your work floor. This can be especially important in areas where daylight is minimal or seasonal changes cause early sunsets.


Jump Catches

Standard end truck wheels have flanges that keep the wheels running on the runway rail. A jump catch is a safety feature that attaches to the end truck and runs along the runway rail to provide additional safety and prevent the crane from jumping off of its intended track. This could be particularly helpful if your region is prone to natural disasters like earthquakes and is used for applications that include a cantilevered portion of the bridge girder to safeguard against tipping.


Rail Sweeps

Rail sweeps clear the runway rail below the end truck, working like a broom to remove debris from the crane’s path. This feature is extremely useful in outdoor and dusty environments to prevent damage to the end trucks and keep appropriate traction between the wheels and the rail.


Overload Indicators

Overload indicators include sound, light or a combination of the two. These indicators are customizable and set according to application needs and standards to alert the operator when the load is over the allowed capacity. Overload limits are a standard for all R&M hoists, but this indicator gives a more noticeable warning to the operator so that they can quickly resolve the issue.


Secondary Brakes

A secondary brake can be added to your hoist for an additional layer of safety. The size and type of secondary brake will depend on the frame size of the hoist. For lower capacity hoists, a secondary electric brake is added as a safeguard in case the primary brake were to malfunction. For larger capacity hoists, a drum brake is added instead to account for the increased force that would be applied in the case of a failure. The secondary brake is a feature that you will ideally never have to use, but is often required in applications that include a critical lift, such as aerospace applications.


NRGmaster Energy Chain

The NRGmaster energy chain provides a long-lasting solution that eliminates the need for dangling festoon cables and provides industry-leading headroom clearance and potential floor coverage. An energy chain-style crane electrification system replaces the festoon, which eliminates dangling cables that can snag on machinery below the crane. This system provides the best floor coverage, increased ease of operation and limited down time. This system is advantageous in applications that require frequent trolley motion or any time that a radio controller is necessary.


Traveling Indicator

The traveling indicator is a visual or sound warning of when the hoist and/or crane is moving. This can be a flashing light, a horn or combination of the two for the trolley or bridge motions. A traveling indicator is an essential safety feature when working with large crews or multiple construction teams, who may not be aware of the crane’s motion.


Indicator Beacon

An indicator beacon on the bridge panel tells operators important messages about the crane’s function. Indicator beacons can be designed to inform operators about a wide variety of functions, including hoisting in motion, hoist or crane overload, service warnings and even simply that the power is on.



Anti-collision features are recommended if you have multiple bridges on the same runway. Collision avoidance sensors keep the bridges apart to avoid overloading the runway or damage from crane-to-crane collision. There are several different types of anti-collision systems that you can add to a crane, depending on the application and air quality. Collision avoidance can be selected as slow-down, stop, or slow-down + stop according to the facility’s needs.


Radio Controls

There are several options for wireless radio control transmitters that make operating your crane easier and more efficient. Some radio systems give you the option to control two cranes independently or in tandem with a single transmitter. If your system relies on radio controls, a spare transmitter is highly recommended in case the primary radio control malfunctions. Another radio option is a display on the transmitter that shows information like service warnings and operating load on an easy-to-read screen.


Load Display

A load display shows the amount of weight being lifted in real time. It’s important to note that this weight is accurate within +/- 5% and therefore is not considered a precise scale. This feature is essential if your application will involve large loads or those that are close to the maximum capacities of your crane system. If the overload limit is activated, the load can only be lowered to the ground safely and the load display can help the operator avoid this additional load handling.


Slack Rope Supervision

Slack rope supervision is a feature that monitors the amount of slack in the rope when a load is on the ground in order to control the speed until the slack is taken out of the rope as the load is being lifted. This prevents snapping of the rope and unnecessary damage to the hoist frame.


Double Reeving

Double reeving ensures a true vertical lift by using two wire ropes on one drum that wrap and unwrap from the drum at the same time. Double reeved hoists are ideal for either high-capacity lifts or loads where exact precision via true vertical lift is important.


The Right Way, the First Time

R&M believes in doing things the right way from the start. We are committed to providing you with the best crane system, including add-ons, for your needs and environment. This increases the quality of the performance, ensures longevity of your equipment, and reduces maintenance costs and downtime.

Hoists and cranes are all we do, and we’ve been in business for over 90 years. With top-of-the-line products and access to the largest global portfolio of equipment, R&M has the experience and resources to set your operation up for success. Plus, our experts are in your time zone and speak your language for after-sale support in the Americas – whether answering the phone to address your questions or shipping a part to you within 24 hours.

To get started, use our crane designer tool for an immediate equipment recommendation or contact your local distributor for help deciding which hoist and add-ons are right for your application.