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How Does a Chain Block Work?

22 February, 2021

Manual chain blocks and hoists are a versatile lifting solution that are suitable for a variety of work settings and conditions. There are two types of chain hoists, which include a manual chain hoist and electric chain hoist. 


As you may expect, manual chain hoists require a pulling action to lift objects, whereas electric chain hoists cut out most of the hard work and operate by themselves - using internal motors to pull the chain and lift heavy loads.


Looking to find out more information about how chain blocks work? Here is your ultimate guide, including their uses, how they work and how to choose the right chain block for you.

What Is a Chain Block?

A manual chain block (also known as a chain hoist) is a mechanism that is used to lift objects and heavy loads up to 5000 KG and are commonly used with lifting slings to balance loads. 


There are two main types of chain hoist that are commonly used - the electric chain hoist and the manual chain hoist. An electric chain hoist is a machine that can be fitted with a chain and a hook which can be used to lift heavy objects - this is a powered machine that does all of the hard work for you. The machine operates the chain through its cogs to lower or lift an object - these are extremely useful for heavier objects. Electric chain blocks can lift up to 20 tonnes, proving extremely useful in heavy-duty scenarios.


The manual chain hoist behaves very similarly to the electric, however, the hint is in the name as it requires no power to operate the manual hoist - this is all done by hand by manually pulling on the chain.


How Does a Chain Block Work?

The chain block contains two wheels or cogs in which the chain is wrapped around. Both electric chain blocks and manual chain blocks have the same fundamental functions - when the chain is pulled, it wraps around the wheels which adds torque to the lifting mechanism, pulling the item that is on the other end of the chain (usually with a strong hook) and lifting it off the ground - the wheels inside the block are how they are able to lift heavy loads - even when operated manually. 


A chain block has a strong chain for lifting objects and attaching hooks to, manual lifting blocks have a hand chain which can be used for pulling by hand to bring the load up (these are powered by motors in electric chain blocks), they also have a grabbing hook for applying the lifting load. Electric chain blocks are the most common method, however, manual chain blocks are commonly used to lift lighter loads as they aren’t as expensive and are easier to move.

What Are Chain Blocks Used For?

Manual chain blocks are used in many different industries as their efficiency allows a job to be completed by one person rather than a job that would usually take two or more due to the heavy load needing to be moved. Chain blocks are most commonly found in garages by mechanics - this is because the chain block can be used to hoist heavy components, such as the engine, without much hassle. 


Common applications are also in building sites when lifting heavy rubble or steel beams - lifting slings or reinforced chain bags can be used to lift the object more evenly as all of the weight will be on the handle or hook. Electric chain blocks may be used in these examples as it could be used multiple times per day to lift extremely heavy loads (up to five tonnes or more depending on the type used).


You may also find use in a chain block in road recovery services as some recovery vehicles will use a chain block to either hoist a damaged vehicle onto its truck bed. This can be useful when the car cannot be driven due to substantial damage.

Chain Blocks at Lifting Gear Direct

At Lifting Gear Direct, we have many chain blocks to choose from depending on your budget and use. 


We offer a truly bespoke service, giving you complete control over your order and ensuring you get the equipment you really need. Choose from electric hoists, air hoists, lever hoists, chain blocks and scaffold hoists, wire rope hoists, block & tackle, builders hoists, pull winches and minifor hoists.


Our experts can talk you through the range, explain particular products and also give you a quote to make things simple. Email us or call us on 01384 76961 to get the ball rolling.