How Do I Move My Heavy Equipment

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April 9, 2018

How Do I Move My Heavy Equipment

Whether you have a large piece of equipment to move from your back lot into your warehouse, or you’re trying to move heavy equipment from one city to another, you will need the proper tools to get your equipment from point A to B efficiently and safely. The kind of tools you will need will depend on the size and weight of your heavy equipment, how many people might it take to move it, and where do you need to get it.

When you’re trying to move heavy equipment, consider some of these options and factors to helping you get your heavy equipment around.

1. SKATES

Skates are square or rectangular platforms that move by wheels at each corner. Kind of like the roller skates that you’d put on your feet. Thanks to the efficiency of the wheel, it’s easy to slide heavier objects around once it’s resting on wheels. But there are different kinds of skates, and it’s important to know which one suits your purpose best.

Swiveling skates are made mostly for light and medium loads. They get their name by how they use rollers capable of giving full directional control. That way you can move your heavy equipment around and turn it in any direction you need to as well. Be sure to check with the manufacturer to determine whether the swiveling skates are for lighter loads or medium loads.

Straight line skates are made for the heavier loads. They are meant to move large machinery and equipment from one point to another down a designated straight path. Because of this, their construction and design is capable of bearing more weight.

All skates are designed to help protect your flooring from damage, by providing ease of movement with your equipment, without your machinery ever needing to touch the floor until it needs to.

2. ROLLER DOLLIES

There are a lot of kinds of dollies to choose from. You might even have one sitting in a utility closet in your office. There are dollies made for furniture, dollies meant for appliances like refrigerators, and finally, dollies made for heavy machinery. Depending on your needs, be sure to search for the right kind of dolly.

The way that dollies work is by both the principle of the wheel and using a central load bearing plate or frame. This places the weight of the object on the central plate/frame and the wheels directly under it, and none of the strain on you, so long as you’ve picked the right dolly for the job.

Furniture dollies are the ones you most likely see the most. They have a load bearing plate, two wheels, and a certain height to help better leverage and bear pieces of heavy furniture or anything of similar dimension and weight you may want to easily transport. Sometimes these dollies may come in the form of a rectangular frame that rests on four wheels, similar to a skate, but these are more for furniture and similar weight loads.

Machinery dollies are the ones you’ll want for your heavy machinery moving needs, however. They will be made of tougher materials, like steel. They may resemble skates in a way, but you will recognize machinery dollies by their multiple multi-directional wheels per dolly.

5. TOE JACKS

These are actually used in conjunction with other pieces to move heavy equipment. The toe jack enables you to lift the corners of heavy objects, which then allows you to move a skate or a dolly beneath the heavy object or equipment. These are invaluable to have around the warehouse or office when it comes to heavy equipment moving.

6. AIR BEARING SYSTEMS

Air bearing systems provide a zero-friction cushion of support for moving your heavy equipment. This is done by using a thin layer of pressurized air within the air bearing support. The benefit of the air bearing support system is that there’s no friction. This removes the usual problems with traditional bearing platforms such as wear and tear, the need for lubricants, and other friction-related issues. Due to these advantages, air bearing systems can become a preferable choice when compared to regular load-bearing systems. The one thing that does need management is the external pressurization device that you would need to maintain the air bearing system. This can come in the form of a compressor or a pressure tank.

7. MOVING TRUCKS AND FLATBEDS

When you have to absolutely move something massive, like vehicles, a moving truck or a flatbed will be what you’ll want. Also, it can move everything else you can think to put on it. This is the best option for moving vehicle equipment, construction vehicles, and other equipment of similar size and weight class. It is especially useful if you have to move those pieces over long distances, such as from one part of town to another, or even from one state to another.

8. SAFTY PRECAUTIONS

Safety should be the highest priority when it comes to moving heavy equipment. From 2017-2018 there were at least 1,891 cases of worker fatalities that were filed by OSHA, with many more that likely haven’t been finished with the investigation or cited. Be sure that you and those working with you are properly equipped to handle the moving of heavy equipment.

The first thing you should assess is if you have the right safety equipment for all involved. Workers should always wear the appropriate protective gear before working with heavy equipment. Proper safety equipment can include things such as gloves and long sleeve shirts to prevent getting cut by sharp edges. If there are particulates in the air, perhaps from the friction wear of rollers and other moving parts, safety googles should be worn. Steel-toed safety boots are also recommended to protect feet and toes. With moving rollers carrying heavy equipment ranging into the tons, terrible injury can occur at any time.

It is important to also teach yourself and your workers proper lifting techniques. Use your hips and knees to squad down and lift the load. Don’t use your back as it can cause injury to your spine. And if needed, purchase lumbar support equipment to help provide spine support, it will also encourage proper leg lifting.

If you can add handles to anything that needs moving, do so. A proper handhold makes moving easier and also safer for all involved.

Lastly, it is always to move equipment as a team effort. Try to have at least two people working on moving a heavy piece of equipment. It minimizes chances of injury, and it can get the job done quicker.

9. HIRE PROFESSIONAL HELP

Sometimes moving heavy equipment can prove too difficult. Or maybe you’re short on time and need professional help to get equipment moved quickly and safely. There are companies that offer shipping services to have your heavy equipment and vehicles moved. It provides a safe and quick way to get the moving done, and it puts your own workers at less risk of injury.

This blog post was written by Chris Ward.

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