Expert article

How to service your crane – the right way

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Manufacturers and regulatory agencies make servicing a crane the right way a straightforward matter: Develop and implement a preventive maintenance program that follows the manufacturer’s recommendations. It’s good advice that’s written into the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) if your are in the US and many other regulations specific to the country you work in.


By Joe Otten, Director, Training and Development


OSHA 1910.179(l)(1) clearly states: "A preventive maintenance program based on the crane manufacturer's recommendations shall be established."

OSHA also covers crane inspections [1910.179(j)(1)], which form the foundation of a good crane service and preventive crane maintenance program. Inspections enable you to keep an eye on your equipment for signs of wear. This regular monitoring enables you to plan and execute crane repair to avoid breakdowns and the potential for thousands of dollars in lost production.

OSHA and ANSI indicate that frequently scheduled crane inspections, performed daily to monthly, and periodic inspections, performed monthly to annually are required. However, I know from experience, this is where servicing cranes the right way becomes less straightforward

Most crane users opt for the minimum frequency of scheduled crane inspections. For equipment that requires frequent inspection, they usually opt for monthly. For equipment that calls for periodic inspections, annual.

It’s impossible to determine the best frequency for inspections and preventive maintenance for a given piece of lifting equipment without knowing its Crane Manufacturers Association of America (CMAA) service classification. Several factors dictate the actual frequency of inspection and crane service for a given crane:

  • Design of the crane
  • Environment in which the crane is used
  • The duty cycle of the crane – frequency of lifts, the distance loads are carried and the load spectrum – that is, the percentage of the capacity of the crane that is typically lifted


Crane usage key to servicing cranes at the right frequency

The key to inspecting and servicing a crane at the proper frequency depends on accurate monitoring of crane usage. Many crane users are uncertain how to do this.

A crane professional can help. Another solution is Konecranes TRUCONNECT® Remote Monitoring which collects condition, usage and operating data from control systems and sensors on a crane, providing visibility to crane usage.


Make crane operator training part of your preventive maintenance strategy

Although it may seem unrelated to servicing a crane the right way, crane operator training is another preventive crane service solution. Studies show that 80 percent of crane breakdowns result from human error – the operator using the equipment incorrectly or ineffectively, leading to premature wear and malfunction and the code requires crane operator training.