Everything works great at 72 degrees but much of the country doesn’t have that luxury. Making sure your crane and lifting equipment can operate properly at less than perfect conditions not only protects the assets but insures the safety of the operating crew.  Using lift equipment can be hazardous on a good day, but when freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall are introduced, operator safety becomes even more important. Furthermore, there may be ways to “weatherize” your crane and other heavy lift equipment for some of your cold-weather applications.

Extremely cold weather conditions can have an impact on crane and lifting operations. Cold weather influences the use of cranes, hoists, and rigging devices at 32 degrees—freezing. For NSES’s crane services when the temperature drops below minus 20 degrees, appropriate consideration is given to crane operations, including the derating of the cranes lifting capacity.

Reading applicable safety standards and consulting with a qualified mechanical engineer, reputable dealer, or crane manufacturer, can help you to take all the right steps to weatherize you system. Providing crane services, crane rentals and crane operator support in Alaska for over 65 years NSES knows what it takes for safe and reliable operations. However, in the meantime, we can provide you with some advice that is easy to incorporate and will protect your crane—and its operators—from cold weather degradation.

The Impact of Cold on Steel

It’s no surprise that temperature can negatively affect the safe working capacity of cranes. Cold temperatures can adversely affect the tensile toughness of many commonly used materials. Many materials experience a shift from ductile to brittle if the temperature drops below a certain point. The temperature at which this shift occurs is commonly known as the “ductile-to-brittle-transition” temperature (DBTT). Any brittle failure will be unpredictable and catastrophic. It can occur from a random impact, dynamic loading, or even because of stressors like cracks or nicks.

Cold weather preparation

NSES’s experience in the arctic climates is exceptional. Our heavy lift cranes are all equipped with arctic preparations including insulated covers, tank heaters, auxiliary power units and arctic grade fluids. When it is cold in Alaska it is usually dark too. Auxiliary lighting is available on all of our heavy lift cranes, pile driving and mobile crane equipment. Another example of the investment NSES makes in being “Hooked on Safety”.