Rigging: Vital Aspect of Every Laundry Project

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Moving a tunnel washer requires careful planning and the right equipment to support the massive pieces. (Photos: G.A. Braun Inc.)

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Only by knowing the weight of this ironer could a company choose the right straps with which to move it, says G.A. Braun’s Robbie Tippett.

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Employees must be aware of surroundings when moving equipment like this open-pocket washer.

Robbie Tippett |

Often overlooked but can make or break equipment installation or removal, expert says

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Every project that requires the removal and/or installation of equipment has some aspect of rigging. 

If you talked to facilities that have completed capital-intensive projects, you will find a wide range of stories regarding the success or shortcomings associated with the moving aspect.  

Rigging can literally “make or break” a project financially, and there are many other ramifications that can manifest if the appropriate due diligence is not applied to the rigging scope of work. There are a few simple ways to take control of this process to ensure that the rigging work at your job site is safe, efficiently run, and completed without damage to the site or infrastructure.  

Keep the following four situations in mind as part of your project-planning process.

LACK OF INDUSTRY-SPECIFIC EXPERIENCE

There are many good and qualified rigging companies throughout the United States. That being stated, experience with industry-specific equipment can’t be assumed. There are many rigging companies that have never seen commercial laundry equipment and don’t have the proper knowledge regarding its handling. 

Not knowing how to properly handle this equipment, as with any type of equipment, can result in damage to the machinery and/or injury to personnel. Prior to attempting to rig equipment, the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) should be consulted as part of the project management and planning process. 

HAVING THE PROPER TOOLS FOR THE TASK AT HAND

Once the rigging task has been surveyed and the rigging route walked, it is now time to decide what tools and/or equipment will be used to complete the activity. 

When using a crane for moving equipment, the OEM should always be consulted so that weights, dimensions and pick points are clearly understood. A failure to understand each of these items can result in potential injury to staff, damage to equipment, and delays in the execution of a project. 

The crane company and/or rigging company will then decide on what size crane is needed. Most applications will require a forklift and/or skates. Again, the OEM should be consulted as to where to position the skates and forklift.  

Utilizing undersized equipment to rig can become a hazardous situation. Utilizing oversized equipment can present challenges to the job site, and job timeline as well. 

FAILURE TO CONSULT WITH THE OEM

Failure to communicate with the OEM could possibly result in issues such as equipment being damaged, facility structural damage and catastrophic damage. 

True, heavy-duty commercial laundry equipment is heavy; therefore, knowing the weights and appropriate load factors of what is being moved is critical. For example, having the right size of crane, proper lifting straps, spreader bars and properly rated eye bolts can make the difference in success or failure.   

Having the right crane for lifting the machinery is most important, but we cannot overlook where the crane is placed, what type of ground it is sitting on, and what is in the crane’s operational space and surroundings. 

When rigging with a forklift, the same rules apply as stated previously. Can the floor, asphalt and/or concrete support both the lift and machine being moved? 

The OEM can also be helpful in developing a load plan with the trucking and logistics planners that will optimize the rigging sequence of events. A failure to plan and communicate can only have a negative impact on all aspects of a project.

SAFETY

Safety is extremely important and can’t be overstated. We all want to go home safe at the end of the day.

A safety plan should be developed for all rigging jobs, and this plan should include a pick plan and a job safety assessment. This should apply to all parties involved and be reviewed with these entities in advance of the project being executed. 

Surprises are not something that operators want to experience, and injuries are something that simply aren’t acceptable in any way, shape or form.  

We must look at the whole aspect of the job from start to finish. Rigging paths, machine weights, machine dimensions, access points, proper tools and equipment, personal protective equipment, lockout/tagout, etc. Remember, there are many questions that can be answered by the OEM. Safety starts once the job has been conceived.

As can be seen from the information presented, rigging is no small task. It can be the difference between a successful project and one that is riddled with issues.  

Take the time to plan, and make certain that you have experienced project managers and the right service providers to support the demands of your specific project. A little extra effort, and possibly a few extra dollars, are typically time and money well spent.

About the author

Robbie Tippett

Robbie Tippett is project field supervisor for laundry equipment manufacturer G.A. Braun.

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