What’s the Best Crane for a Caustic Environment?

We don’t need to tell you: for whatever the job, you need a crane built to last. Downtime is not an option, and neither is failure.

By Gillfoto (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Cranes are a big part of the job, and a big investment. Therefore, it’s critical to choose the right one. If the environment in which the crane is operating is corrosive or caustic, you need a crane that will stand up to this.

Will a standard crane do the job? Yes. Will it last? Not necessarily. The solution? A crane especially designed for a corrosive/caustic environment.

The reason a standard crane won’t last long—and will require constant maintenance—is its inherent design. Its standard steel parts and components simply can’t stand up to the caustic environment for very long. They will rust and eventually break down.

Additionally, the crane’s electrical motors and parts will quickly wear down after exposure to the caustic/corrosive environment. Even the crane’s lubrication will quickly need replacing—it will evaporate faster due to caustic vapors—while chemicals can condense on the crane.

So what can be done to prevent this? A crane that is specifically designed for this environment will take all of these factors into account, and will feature a number of design elements to counteract them. Some of the many design choices will include:

  • Stainless steel parts—including wire rope, trolleys, suspension cable, etc.—can replace standard steel
  • Zinc plating of parts can offer the same benefits of stainless steel
  • Motors can use stainless steel hardware, and can have protective coatings
  • Non-rusting polymer can replace steel hoist sheaves
  • Wheels can have sealed bearings to keep vapors out
  • Control systems can be housed in enclosures

These are just some of the many ways a crane designed for caustic environments will effectively stand up to the elements, and therefore last significantly longer. In the end, the custom design will prove to be the most cost effective choice, proving invaluable down the line