A ratchet jack is a tool that lifts a heavy piece of equipment, vehicle or other item by the principle of applying force in small incremental processes. The ratchet jack is a type of jack, a lever based machine, that uses a ratchet method to raise up cargo. Ratchet jacks come in many different forms, and are used in many industries.
Different ratchet jacks make use of various forms of engineering for lifting a lot of weight from a relatively narrow position. A “jack and ratchet” setup might include technology where a screwing motion turns a bolt and raises up cargo steadily. Many of the ratchet jack designs need a separate steel bar to operate them.
In many cases, a ratchet jack has a small ‘reversing lever’ that determines whether the jack will raise or lower a load when the operator pushes down on the steel level arm. Those operating the jack simply flip this switch to reverse the direction of the load. Ratchet jack makers often include the reverse lever near the base of the jack for easy location.
The best ratchet jacks are built of sturdy, heat-forged steel or steel alloy. Heat-treated components generally perform better under pressure, and thorough testing provides more operational security for these kinds of devices. With this kind of construction, some ratchet jacks can hold and manipulate as much as 20 tons of material.
A ratchet jack with a larger base often provides more stability for adjusting large loads. Some ratchet jack designs are also made specifically so that operators can use them in small areas. According to their design and purpose, ratchet jacks can cost from several hundred dollars to well over a thousand dollars each.
Ratchet jacks are used often in many different fields, including a wide range of building and construction industries, as well as heavy lifting operations such as mining. Metal fabrication shops or other indoor facilities may include ratchet jacks in a tool set for moving tools, equipment, or goods. A retail warehouse or other storage facility may also keep ratchet jacks on hand.
Jack and ratchet design represents some of the newest technology for safe and sturdy lifting. Many of these designs are in compliance with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards for a safe workplace. Workers should always use all of the precautions spelled out in user manuals for the best chance of operating ratchet jacks safely, and contributing to an injury-free workplace.