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New beam lifters a smart option

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A new type of beam lifter, which is lighter than traditional hoists, provided the only option for an awkward job on a construction project in Adelaide.

Four of the beam lifters, positioned side by side, collectively raised 1.7 tonne steel beams to support new concrete for a covered walkway which was being built between two buildings.

Sub-contractor Plympton Steel hired the beam lifters from specialist materials handling equipment company, Kennards Lift and Shift. The German-designed beam lifter weighs just 86kg, compared with 137kg for traditional hoists. It has few moving parts, no cables or wire rope, and a simple worm drive.

Plympton Steel project co-ordinator, Mark Morris, said there was a two-fold problem in the area where the beams had to be raised and secured to concrete columns.

“Firstly, two of the three beams had to be positioned under an existing floor slab and, secondly, the ground we were working on was above a car park and rated to only 500kg per square metre. These limitations ruled out other options such as chain hoists, forklifts or a crane," he said.

“The lifting capacity of one of these beam lifters is 600kg, so by using four of them together and distributing the weight equally we were able to do it comfortably. This is the first time I have used them, and they did the job perfectly.”

Kennards Lift & Shift says these machines can lift beams of up to 600kg to heights of between 1.1 metres and three metres. Another advantage of the beam lifter is that the load holder at the end of the arm rotates so the beam can be swung around to fit through doorways. The hoist folds to a compact size of 1.57m by 730mm by 600mm for transportation.

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