Most organisations will have heard of the standard beam clamps and plate clamps, but there are also a range of other speciality lifting clamps and lifting grabs. This article and infographic focuses on the wide variety of clamps and accessories available in the industry.

The infographic

[caption id="attachment_1675" align="alignnone" width="1201"]Industrial Lifting Clamps - Types and Applications Infographic Industrial Lifting Clamps - Types and Applications Infographic from Lifting Gear Direct[/caption]

Click here to view the range available directly from Lifting Gear Direct. Brands referred to throughout this article are those stocked on our site, and we have detailed the various brands that we supply under the section ‘Manufacturers of Industrial Lifting Clamps.’

What are lifting clamps?

Before looking at the specific types of product that we stock, it’s important to explain exactly what lifting clamps are. As the name may suggest, these items are clamps, and given the fact that they often work in industrial settings, they are heavy duty items.

[caption id="attachment_1681" align="alignnone" width="500"]Lifting clamp An example of a lifting clamp that we stock here at Lifting Gear Direct[/caption]

They can be clamped onto a range of different beams, girders or plates, depending on the product that you choose, allowing for a high level of safety and support when it comes to the lifting or suspending of heavy items. There are even clamps that can be used when working with awkward loads, which we have covered in the ‘Lifting Grabs, Hooks and Lugs’ section below.

Beam Clamps

  • As the name suggests beam clamps are often used for the lifting and suspending of heavy items such as steel beams, etc.
  • They are most often seen in industrial settings (such as factories and garages, etc.)
  • Beam clamps offer very high strength levels and can attach to a wide variety of beams and similar objects.
  • They are useful in any environment which requires the safe lifting of heavy beam-type objects
[caption id="attachment_1680" align="alignnone" width="500"]Clamps in industrial settings These items find heavy usage in industrial settings[/caption]

Girder Clamps

  • Girder clamps like beam clamps attach to steel girders and beams.
  • Girder clamps are only used for vertical lifting and not horizontal type side-loading.
  • As with beam clamps, they are typically used in heavy-duty industrial settings, to clamp onto the girder (and similar items).
  • Most models are fully adjustable so they can attach to various sized girders.
  • Girder clamps are very easy to fit, don’t need any specialist tools and also require minimal maintenance.

Plate Lifting Clamps

  • Plate lifting clamps are available for both vertical and horizontal lifting
  • They are ideal for lifting, moving and transferring metal plates and sheets, etc.
  • They clamp the plate by gripping metal plates through a biting motion, in most cases they are used in pairs to securely grip the load
  • Most typically these clamps are used in heavy industry, especially in manufacturing
  • Many models are non-marking, these grip very well but leave no trace marks
  • These clamps can clamp a variety of materials such as especially hard or very thin materials
[caption id="attachment_1679" align="alignnone" width="500"]Plate lifting clamp This equipment can be used to lift plates of various shapes and sizes[/caption]

Lifting Grabs, Hooks and Lugs

Some lifting tasks can be a challenge due to aspects such as shape, size and the type of structure being lifted, for these tasks the following accessories will be useful:

  • Lifting grabs – specialist grabs are available for unusual/awkward tasks, e.g. block grabs, coil grabs, stock grabs and also grabs specifically to use for lighter loads
  •  Lifting hooks – turning and “C hooks” (available in single arm and twin arm models) have a variety of uses including lifting of awkward items such as coils, pipes and rolls in particular
  • Lifting lugs – these are useful for lifting heavy-duty items such as shipping containers, specialist lugs are available for specialist tasks

These accessories enable the smooth movement of awkward materials; these could include blocks, coils, containers, drums, pipes, tubes, etc.

Other Types of Specialist Lifting Clamps

The above clamps are the mainstay of the lifting industry; there are other types of clamps, which have been especially created for very specific purposes. We have listed many below, there will be others too, but these are some of the most popular!:

  • Board clamps – this type of clamp is popular on building sites for gripping and lifting items such as MDF, plasterboard, plastics, stone and wood – typically non-metal items which are board shaped
  • Drum lifting clamps – drum tongs and lifters are typically used in the lifting of drums (e.g. oil drums, chemical drums or maybe beer barrels, etc.)
  • Kerbstone clamps – these clamps are specifically designed to enable 1 or 2 people to safely move kerbstones
  • Manhole ring lifters – these are specific lifters (clamps) which are designed to lift manhole covers
  • Pile pitching clamps - these clamps which are typically supplied with shackles and rope are designed to safely remove steel piling from within the ground
  • Pipe lifting clamps and hooks – these clamps typically lift, manoeuvre and lower pipes of various materials (e.g. concrete) into position
  • Pulling clamps – these are clamps which are used to pull loads (rather than lift), these can be used to position materials prior to an industrial application, e.g. welding
  • Rail handling lifting clamps – these are a specialist type of clamp used in the rail industry, the rail industry, they lift and move individual pieces of rail track into position
  • Round bar clamps – these clamps are specifically shaped to aid in the lifting of heavy round bars and other round objects
[caption id="attachment_1678" align="alignnone" width="500"]Clamps for beer barrels Plate lifting clamp
Clamps can help move objects such as beer barrels[/caption]

Manufacturers of Industrial Lifting Clamps

There are many manufacturers of industrial lifting clamps. Manufacturers stocked by Lifting Gear Direct are Camlok, Crosby, George Taylor (GT), Gunnebo, Raptor, Riley, Topal and Tractel.

Things to consider before purchasing your product

As you can see, there are clearly a huge range of types of clamp on offer. How do you decide which may be the right one for you? It’s important that you carefully consider your business reasons for needing a clamp. Follow these simple steps below:

  • What types of loads will you be lifting? Are there any awkward or unusual shapes?
  • How heavy are the loads that you’ll be working with?
  • What size beams, plates or girders do you have?
  • How often will your product be in operation?
  • Could your item be subject to adverse weather conditions or harmful chemicals?
  • These are just some of the questions that you’ll need to ask yourself before beginning to decide which is the right item for you.

We would also recommend that you familiarise yourself with all of the relevant rules and guidelines that apply to the lifting gear industry. The most common of these is the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER), and contains everything that you’ll need to know about the planning and conducting of an operation.

It’s also important that you familiarise yourself with the difference between a safe working load (SWL) and the maximum breaking limit (MBL). The SWL of a product is the limit that you’ll need to be sticking to at all times, so it’s crucial that you weigh your loads and choose your product with this figure in mind.

Speak to Lifting Gear Direct about Lifting Clamps Products

Choosing the right piece of equipment for your business can at first seem like a daunting process, especially when there is so much choice available. However, by following guides such as those above, and speaking to the experts to discuss your needs, you will quickly be left with the perfect match for your operation.

It’s crucial that you do take the time to do your research and to shop around, as not only is it a matter of business efficiency, but of worker safety too. Using the wrong clamp for the wrong operation can have potentially life-threatening consequences.

We have spent many years in the lifting industry, and know all there is to know about lifting clamps! If you are looking to buy one of our specialist lifting clamps or grabs, why not contact our experts to discuss your requirements on 01384 76961 or email us via our contact form.

Image credit: Benita5, Pexels and cunninghamhill