IN A WORLD WHERE THE MAXIMUM WEIGHT OF A TRANSPORTABLE CARGO SEEMS TO BE ON AN UPWARD TREND, OPERATORS ARE KEEN TO USE THE MOST EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE TECHNIQUES TO GET ITEMS FROM A TO B. HOWEVER, THERE IS MORE THAN ONE WAY TO MOVE A HEAVY LOAD, EXPLAINS BOB BEECH
The business of shifting heavy loads is possibly as old as civilisation itself. As soon as man tried to adapt his surrounding to suit his needs, there was a need to either move heavy objects to a place where they were useful, or out of the way.
In the modern world many heavy transport companies offer a range of specialist installation/removal services to their customers as part of a package. These services can include lifting, jacking and skidding heavy loads to get them either from a heavy transport vehicle to their required location, or vice-versa. Many of these specialists have turned this work into an art form, using a subtle combination of modern technology and techniques developed over generations.
The key factor in this sector is the quality of the staff employed – quite simply the best equipment available is next to useless if it’s literally in the wrong hands. Early pioneers in heavy haulage developed the skills required to load/unload heavy cargos because there was nobody else capable of doing the job. Crane technology was in its infancy, and there was no other way other than jacking, blocking, winching and skidding. Early steam traction engines were equipped with built-in winches, and this trend carried on when the diesel powered ballasted tractor took over this role.
This early innovation has a direct link to the sophisticated techniques that are employed today. The equipment used might have changed out of all recognition, the basic principles remain the same – the use of levers, mechanical advantage and virtual elimination of friction are still fundamental in moving large, awkward and heavy objects safely and efficiently. Conventional cranes are able to lift massive weights, there are still many applications where there is either insufficient room or other obstructions that rule out their use.