A simple innovation developed at Sandia’s California campus and designed to improve hoists may make it easier for people everywhere to work safely on heavy items.
Hoists are used in auto garages, machine shops and manufacturing plants around the world. Their only job — to safely and easily lift heavy and unwieldy objects so that they can be worked on. But once an automotive engine or some other piece of hardware has been lifted into the air, it can’t easily be rotated so workers can access hard-to-reach areas, until now.
Researchers Irfan Nadiadi and John Monson collaborated to find a way for environmental test teams to rotate and lift objects safely. When they couldn’t find a commercial off-the-shelf solution, they developed a custom, locking side pull hoist ring. It mimics a traditional side pull hoist ring but provides an integrated, removable locking pin to fix the hoist rotation at a desired angle.
“It’s such a general tool, a piece of rigging hardware,” Irfan said. “You lift the object, you pull out the pin, rotate it while it’s suspended and then lock the pin and set it back down. If you didn’t have a locking capability, you may have to hold your tool and workpiece at an awkward height, rotated in a difficult orientation.”
John added, “Two opposing locking hoist rings must align with the center of gravity. That’s what allows you to freely rotate a workpiece and lock it.”
When they filed a patent for the novel hardware, both were surprised to find no one else had thought of it.
“Maybe it should have existed,” Irfan said. “There’s a bunch of potential applications in R&D labs or the aerospace industry.”
John said that any industry that uses rigging hardware could benefit from their innovation.
“In certain applications it improves the safety of lifting operations and reduces the number of people needed to perform those tasks,” John said.
He suggested that he and Irfan don’t see their innovation as particularly important; they just wanted to solve a problem for their co-workers. He does say the process sparked a new innovative thought.
“One thing Irfan and I talked about was coming up with a family of parts with different load ratings,” John said.
As designed, the upper limit of their hoist ring is 300 pounds.
“The design is scalable,” Irfan said. “While it’s perhaps designed for one weight now, it could easily be scaled up using a bigger fastener. A lot of the different environmental test labs in California and New Mexico really appreciated the added feature of being able to lock the rotation and they’ve asked if we can build more.”