When taking on a construction project or having to do something like container lifting , it is important to have the right equipment in place to do the job safely and effectively. Here we take a look at the differences between spreader beams and lifting beams, what they are, what they do and how they work for various lifting applications.

Spreader Beams

A spreader beam is a long bar that holds two slings apart and is designed to convert the lifting load into compressive forces, distributing the weight of the load evenly over two or more attachment points. They have lugs at either end which attach to the cranes sling and a further two lugs on the underside which attach to the load. The way these lugs are placed means that they can carry a great deal of weight despite their small size.

Advantages of Spreader Beams

  • Because of the way that spreader beams convert lifting loads into tensile forces in the sling and compressive forces in the bar, they are highly efficient in their use of materials as they are typically lighter, smaller and cheaper to manufacture.
  • Because there are two lifting points on the bean instead of a singular point, they distribute the weight of the load evenly, preventing the stress from all being on one lifting point.
  • They are ideal for very wide or heavy-duty loads.
  • They help to better control the load.
  • They reduce the chances of the load tipping, bending, sliding or becoming crushed or damaged.

Disadvantages of Spreader Beams

  • They require more headroom than a lifting beam.
  • They may require a tagline if the load is uneven or the beam is long to keep it under control and prevent it from spinning.
  • They are less effective for loads that require support all the way through its length.

Lifting Beams

These are slightly different to spreader beams because they have a single central attachment point on the topside. This can be attached to a crane or other lifting apparatus with adjustable points or several load attachments points across the base. These are much more suited to lifting big, unstable objects because they are suitable for use in areas with low headroom.

Advantages of Lifting Beams

  • Ideal for lighter loads and shorter span lifts.
  • Don’t require a lot of headroom.
  • Have multiple lifting points which can be adjusted and makes it suitable for different types of applications and load types.
  • The design of the beam works to control inwards crushing forces, handle out of balance loads and utilise load securement attachments.
  • Ideal for loads that are too flexible or weak to be lifted without support.

Disadvantages of Lifting Beams

  • They are more rigid, heavier and use more material than spreader beams which means they tend to be more expensive.
  • Even a relatively light load can require a significant, rigid lifting beam so can work out less cost efficient than a spreader.
  • Tag lines may be required to keep loads from tipping or spinning.

If you have a job that needs doing which involves moving or lifting heavy loads or fragile objects then a lifting or spreading beam could be the ideal solution for a wide range of operational challenges. When considering what type of beam would be best to use for a specific project, there are some key things that you will need to consider.

  • What does the load consist of?
  • How is the load going to be lifted?
  • What is the weight and size of the load?
  • Where is it going to be lifted?

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