How To Reduce Maintenance Paperwork For Overhead Cranes

Every day, thousands of companies trust the overhead cranes to handle incoming and outgoing material movement, and for good reason. The tasks of lifting and moving heavy material can be handled much more efficiently, and in a safer manner, by an overhead crane as opposed to when employees are doing so manually. With large and heavy loads being transported overhead, there are several agencies ensuring that they develop effective overhead crane maintenance programs to keep everyone working inside the facility safe from crane failure.

While most people know that OSHA is tasked with ensuring safe overhead crane operations, there are two other agencies who work diligently to ensure that the overhead cranes in operation in manufacturing and other industries are fit for service.

The American Society Of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Crane Manufacturers Association Of America (CMAA), also labor behind the scenes with crane operator safety as their initiative. By working with OSHA to enforce overhead crane maintenance guidelines, these organizations are saving lives with every safety issue they find and order repaired.

What Is Achieved By Performing Regular Overhead Crane Maintenance

As with many manufacturing tools, overhead cranes are excellent investments for a multitude of reasons. However, without a detailed maintenance plan for the tools and equipment, they can quickly go from being labeled an asset to serious liability. By performing regular overhead crane maintenance, the company ensures that deteriorated or damaged overhead crane components are located, and the unsafe conditions caused by the damaged components are resolved prior to returning the overhead crane to service.

There are a great number of parts and components that can be damaged or outlive their safe lifespan that should be inspected. Regular overhead crane maintenance and inspections are in place to ensure that there are no accidents or unsafe work conditions caused by any or all of these crane parts and components.

Main Issues With Paperwork-based Overhead Cranes Maintenance

Paperwork-based maintenance programs are rapidly being upgraded to CMMS-based maintenance programs in every facet of industry and manufacturing. There are multiple reasons for this transition, the most frequently heard being the need to remove human error from preventative maintenance programs.

When maintenance records, requests, and other related documents are handled with paper, ink, and file cabinets, inevitably paperwork is lost, misfiled, and even damaged. CMMS-based maintenance programs move the printed document to an easily accessible, helpful platform that doesn’t require maintenance technicians to guess when preventative maintenance should be performed. A CMMS doesn’t lose files or misplace them either, and will require the OSHA mandated documents to be uploaded or manually keyed before it will allow the preventative maintenance work order to be labeled completed and closed.

How To Create a Proper Overhead Maintenance Strategy/Plan

  1. The key to creating a proper overhead maintenance strategy for an overhead crane system is to follow the guidelines set by the crane manufacturer. This will ensure that they adhere to the correct intervals for maintenance to without compromising the safety inspection plan required to operate the equipment. All the maintenance specifications that are outlined by the crane manufacturer should be written into the maintenance strategy, as a completely inclusive maintenance plan is the cornerstone to safe and proper operation.

  2. The crane operator should outline and address daily Inspection items, and they should not operate the equipment until they have completed the daily inspection and found no defects. These items can include checking the operating mechanisms for maladjustment, inspecting the hydraulic components for damage, and ensuring that valves and lines are not showing any deterioration. They must inspect the crane hooks also daily to ensure that there are no cracks or deformations.

  3. Besides the Daily Inspection items, there are also Monthly Inspection tasks to consider when creating the overhead crane maintenance strategy.

  4. These Monthly Inspection tasks can include inspecting the rope and end connections for broken strands and/or wear, checking the hoist chains’ end connections for wear and distortion.

  5. Ensure the written records for these inspections are accurately updated by the operator performing the inspection

How To Create An Overhead Maintenance Checklist

When creating the overhead crane maintenance checklist, it should be divided into three stages. The first stage, the Area Check, will include the OSHA mandated items in the general area of operation, such as knowing the crane disconnect switch location. It also includes tasks such as checking the area for any warning signs per OSHA definition, ensuring the area is free of workers, checking the area the load is being moved to in order to verify it is clear, and verifying the load capacity is under the crane’s rated load capacity.

The second stage is the Preliminary Check. This stage includes tasks like ensuring the electrical systems, bridge, trolley, and hoist are free of broken or damaged components. Other tasks often are checking the pushbutton pendant for damage and ensuring that the open power source is secure.

The last stage of the maintenance checklist is the Equipment Safety Check. This includes checking all powered systems of the crane and verifying their proper function, making sure all hooks are free of visible damage with less than 10% wear, and checking the wire rope and load chain to ensure there are no kinks, cuts, or thermal damage visible. Per OSHA regulations, this three-stage checklist must be completed by the operator prior to any use of the crane.

Creating An Overhead Maintenance Plan Using A CMMS

To create an overhead crane maintenance plan using CMMS software, you’ll first have to read the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines and recommendations, as we discussed earlier in this article. Once you have your maintenance tasks and their frequency established, you can create a preventative maintenance work order using the overhead crane asset number that has been assigned to it, in the examples shown here it is 90-1. That asset is the 90-ton plant overhead crane.

Once you’re set to key your preventative maintenance work order, follow the path of reliability, maintenance, go to the Add Task button, and key the preventative maintenance work order into the form. You will come to a field after adding the work order description, asset, and the person to assign the PM to that asks if they must complete a form. If yes, you can attach the form, such as the Daily Safety Inspection form, directly to the work order. Mark yes, then select the Daily Safety Inspection form, and click select.

Complete the form showing that the preventative maintenance has been completed, then choose the Submit Form option. You’ll then be back at the preventative maintenance work order builder.

You can fill in any relevant information about the PM, and then hit save, or if it has been completed at this time, choose Complete Task.

You may also attach any relevant documents on this tab. There is a cost and parts tab on the PM builder as well, with a receipts tab that can be selected if you need to upload any parts receipts for materials that were purchased to complete the PM.

In order to set up the 30 day, 90 day, and annual overhead crane preventive maintenance work orders, you would follow the same path, and attach the same safety inspection form to be completed by the technician that is performing the PM.

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