Get to know your Chain Components
When it comes to lifting and lashing, there are a lot of vital components needed to complete each job safely.
At The Ratchet Shop, we understand the importance of safety when transporting or fastening heavy loads. That’s why we’ve written this handy guide to chain components so you can tell each part apart, reducing error and ensuring you have the right equipment for the job.
If you’re unsure which chain or hook type your project needs, read on to find out.
Each unique component plays a different role in the lifting or lashing task at hand. While the chain is a metal rope-like structure made up of links, hooks are supplementary features that can be added to carry loads more easily.
Although each component is different, they should all enjoy the same high-quality material — alloyed steel. If purchasing your chain components from a reputable retailer like The Ratchet Shop, all hooks, chains, and links will be made from Grade 80 heat-treated steel that has been tested and certified to ensure maximum safety at all times.
Lashing chains are used to secure and fasten heavy loads when being transported. Essentially functioning like a heavy-duty ratchet strap, lashing chains have little give to avoid slippage when loads are in motion. Usually, lashing chains are fitted with hooks on either end to make tying down — or lashing — easier.
Much more complex than lashing chains, lifting chains are used to hoist heavy loads and manoeuvre them easily. Depending on the nature of the task at hand, it may be best to use a one, two, three, or even four-legged lifting chain in order to safely hoist your load.
The most basic form of lifting chain is a single leg chain. Making only one point of contact between the crane and the load, this chain structure is optimal for lifting simple loads in a vertical hitch.
More intricate chain structures, like the four-legged lifting chain, however, offer a much more controlled lift.
Most chain retailers will sell their chain by the metre and by thickness, allowing you to customise your chain as you require for different tasks.
Hooks are one of the most useful chain components, added to the end of chains to elevate their functionality for the purposes of lifting or tying down..
The shape, style, and orientation of chain hooks all play an important role in how effectively you can carry out a task since their designs are all optimised for unique processes. Read on to learn more about the different types of hook.
Eye hooks are welded for a permanent connection to slings. Their permanence is useful in terms of strength, but awkward if the hook gets damaged as the entire sling needs to be replaced. Eye hooks are, however, the most versatile hook and come in numerous variations, for example, the Eye Swivel Hooks for flexibility or the Eye Self-Locking Hooks for extra security.
Clevis, or ‘C’, Hooks
‘C’ Hooks, deriving their name from their unique C-shaped design, are an optimal choice for lifting tasks where a safety catch is not required. Their large throat opening enables swift, simple hooking for all manner of heavy-duty lifting jobs.
A less common form of hook, Foundry Hooks are usually used in the cast metal industry and are forged specifically for lifts that need oversized attachment points. Due to their popular use in tasks where there are high heat levels, they are often designed not to have a latch.
As their name suggests, these hooks are designed especially with a narrow throat to ‘grab’, shorten, or hold chain lengths.
Due to their specific use, each different Grab Hook is optimised to work with a certain size and grade of chain, so it is important to check the compatibility before buying. For regular lashing jobs, Standard Grab Hook will work fine; however, Cradle Grab Hooks are becoming increasingly popular due to their improved support of the engaged chain link.
Lastly, Swivel Hooks are perhaps the most unique chain component since they enable rotation and free movement. Positioning Swivel Hooks are excellent for maneuvering chains before the load is attached, but True Swivel Hooks with Bearings are best for rotation while under load as they can withstand the force.
As we’ve covered, the individual segments of lifting and lashing chains are called “links”, but this also refers to the large connecting additions to working chains.
Master Links are large, oblong chain links used to fasten slings to chain loads. Their size allows for wire ropes in brindle configurations to pass through them with ease. Master Links are available in a variety of different diameter sizes depending on the size of chain and wire rope.
Connecting Links, on the other hand, have a simple design for quick assembly, dismantling, and reassembly of lifting chain slings without the need for specialist tools.
Now you’ve learnt all about the different types of chain components, there’s only one thing left for you to do: put it all together.
If you have any further questions regarding chains, links, or hooks, simply get in touch with our team of experts who can point you in the right direction.