Advantages of Lifting Slings
Lifting slings are much lighter and inherently safer to operate than chain or wire rope lifting equipment. There is less risk of back injury when moving or setting up the equipment due to this lighter structure. A lifting sling is also much more flexible than the alternatives which can prevent damage to the lifting equipment or to the load that could be caused by a chain kinking, for example. The supple nature of lifting slings is one contributing factor to their common use as patient lifts in health care and emergency response. Lifting slings can absorb shocks much better than a chain or wire rope too, further protecting cargo from damage. Another important safety factor of lifting slings is that they will also not weaken from age or suffer any hidden corrosion which is common in metallic lifting equipment; if a sling looks okay to use then it is.
Guidelines for Use
As with all equipment a lifting sling will last much longer if it is well looked after. Several guidelines can be followed to ensure a lifting sling lasts as long as it should. First of all, a sling should not be allowed to twist during a lift as this can seriously weaken it. A sling should never be pushed past its operating limit by being overloaded. The sling should be attached to the load such that it does not cover sharp corners or slide along edges; if a load with sharp edges must be moved using a lifting sling, protective edge covers should be used.
In general, a lifting sling that has been weakened or softened by exposure to chemicals, is frayed, chafed, cut, torn or has any other signs of damage should be replaced or repaired immediately.
Regular or Single Lifting Slings
Single thickness lifting slings are by far the most common type of lifting sling and offer moderate load capacity with multiple lengths to choose from. Suitable for most common tasks, even the single thickness lifting sling is capable of holding several tons of weight.
Duplex Lifting Slings
For applications that involve lifting excessively heavy loads, a duplex lifting sling is manufactured from double thickness webbing to increase it's lifting capacity. Only slightly less flexible than a regular single thickness lifting sling, the duplex lifting sling can often handle 50% or more additional weight at an equivalent length.
Round Lifting Slings
Some jobs are just not suited to the harder webbing lift equipment and for these applications round lifting slings are available. Usually made from a series of ribbons enclosed in a tubular casing, round lifting slings are more appropriate for lifting loads of a fragile nature. Due to the core of a round sling being constructed from a series of parallel fibres, at safe working loads the stretch can be as little as 3%. This is much less than with a traditional webbing sling and can help to prevent the dangerous "dancing" experienced with some slings.
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