Hoists are powered lifting assistants. They can be used to lift a heavy item or even a person. Hoists are usually placed overhead and attached to the ceiling, and may have a power supply. They use a suspension system, sling, and power supply cable. There are many different types of hoist, and it is important to be aware of how they function before you begin using them.
There are two main types of powered hoist. Portable battery operated hoists have advantages and disadvantages. These are lightweight, and can be easily detached and moved to enable work on different tracks. However, if you are using them in different places, you still need the tracks in place to enable them to work at all the places you require. These are particularly popular in nursing homes for moving elderly people who may need assistance.
A permanently attached ceiling track hoist is fixed to a ceiling track in one place. It has a powered lifting mechanism that you can operate continually. These are used in large warehouses or any place where lifting is performed routinely. Unlike the portable hoist, this type of hoist cannot be moved and hence does not require constant dismantling.
The main power supply for these hoists comes through the main electricity supply. However, if the hoist fails to operate, there is sometimes the option of a backup battery supply. If the hoist does not have this option, then you should be able to operate it manually to lower the heavy item.
Another factor to consider is the type of tracks and suspension for your hoist. You can choose from a straight or angled track. These basically hoist things in the direction they are set. With angled track hoists, you can move things around corners and bends. There are also turntable hoists that can swivel weights completely around.
An X-Y tracking hoist uses two parallel tracks on each side of the room, either on the ceiling or opposite walls. Hoists of this type can move the weight anywhere in the room as needed. Gantry and free standing hoists have floor-standing frames. They are particularly useful for people who do not have much space to maneuver and are sometimes used when moving elderly people in and out of bed.
Different hoists have different lifting capabilities. Hoists with a powered lifting mechanism take all the strain of the item and place none on the person operating it. Also remember to check that a hoist has the lifting capacity you require to move your items. The lifting height range will also vary between hoists; each has its own maximum height and can usually not be extended.
The hoist's safety aspects are another important factor. Does it have an automatic cut off switch? This will enable quick power cut off if there is an emergency. Is there a battery back-up supply or wind down option, in case of power failure? All of these factors should be checked be before buying or operating a hoist.