Lifting Equipment Beginnings
In his quest to conquer the environment around him, man has been trying to lift objects greater than his own body weight, since recorded history…..and probably before that. Man has needed to lift large and heavy objects in order to build the structures he has wanted to erect. To do so, he has been quite inventive. As a result, today we have many types and shapes of lifting equipment from cranes and jacks, as well as the hoist.
It is believed that the first piece of lifting equipment was used by the Egyptians. They used a ramp technology to build their pyramids.
The Ancient Greeks invented the crane for lifting heavy loads in the 6th century BC. Cranes were used to construct their temples and tall buildings.
With the advent of Roman civilization, came a great leap forward for lifting equipment. The Romans are renowned for building great structures. To build the Colosseum and their viaducts, they needed lifting equipment that was very strong and mobile to lift and move the heavy stone structures that were used in their construction.
Equipment for lifting was developed further during the middle ages. Cranes were used to load and unload ships and they were used in the construction of the lofty cathedrals that we see in Europe today.
Until the time of the industrial revolution, cranes were made from wood . Since that time, lifting gear has been made from iron and steel and other extremely strong materials.
Throughout history and until the 19th century, lifting equipment was powered by men and animals. The first mechanically powered crane was introduced in the 19th century. It was steam powered. It is also relevant to note that, until this time , the only movement of this kind of equipment was vertical. Cranes were also fixed into a place permanently.
Lifting Equipment Today
Equipment for lifting really came into its heyday in the modern age. Today cranes are mobile. They do not have to be fixed into a place permanently. Another significant development is the ability of a crane to move horizontally, as well as vertically.
Today there is a great variety of lifting equipment. Cranes have been developed for many specific functions. There are the huge cranes seen on large building sites. They have been developed for heavy manufacturing sites as well. There are small wall mounted devices used in lighter manufacturing environments. There are floating cranes used for the construction of bridges, tunnels and dams. There is lifting gear that is used to hoist material and cargo on to ships, trains, containers and trailers. There are mobile cranes that can mounted to trucks or on a rail.
There is a new trend in lifting equipment that is emerging today. It is mini cranes. They are small mobile lifting devices capable of lifting and carrying heavy material. They can be used to help with the installation or fitting of heavy material. They consume little space when compared to the larger cranes. They can operate in tight spaces and go around corners. Because they are small, they can operate in hard to reach places. They can even be operated by remote control.
Today, lifting equipment is no longer just the domain of the construction industry, the heavy manufacturing industry and other industries that involve the lifting of heavy material. Today small mini cranes, called lifters, are used by small builders and fitters to help with the lifting and installation of a range of different materials and products. They are even used at home, privately, for DIY projects.