What is a Chain Hoist Used For? Various Applications For Chain Hoists


A chain hoist is a versatile lifting device you can use to raise or lower heavy loads efficiently. With a better understanding of its mechanics and types, you can select the right hoist for your application.

What is a Chain Hoist Used For? Various Applications For Chain Hoists

The Components of a Chain Hoist

The following are the basic components, which are not only included in chain hoists but also are the basic components of other types of hoists.

Hand chain: This is the chain that the operator pulls to operate the hoist. It is looped over a small gear inside the hoist housing.
Load chain: This chain has a hook on the end and is used to lift the load. It is looped over a larger gear inside the hoist.

Upper hook: Attaches the hoist to its support structure like a beam or trolley.

Lower hook: Attaches to the load being lifted.

Hook Latch: a safety mechanism that secures the upper hook when the hoist is not in use. It prevents the load chain from accidentally slipping off the hook.

Hoist Frame:  the main body or housing that contains the internal lifting mechanism and components. It provides structural support and protection for the hoist.
Gears: There are two gears inside the hoist housing – a smaller one connected to the hand chain and a larger one connected to the load chain. These gears are attached, so when one moves, the other moves as well. 
Brake: Most chain hoists have a built-in brake mechanism to hold the load and prevent the load from slipping or falling when the operator stops pulling the hand chain.

How Does a Chain Hoist Work?

The chain hoist is mainly composed of two links: the lifting chain and the hand chain. The lifting chain is attached to a hook, which is attached to the load. These mechanisms are simple and strong, allowing the chain hoist to perform a variety of lifting tasks reliably. In a manual chain hoist, operators pull on the bracelet, and the force you add to the bracelet causes the load to rise or fall. This allows the operator to pull heavy loads with minimal effort, whereas, in an electric or pneumatic chain hoist, this action is performed by an electric motor or compressed air.

Types of Chain Hoists

The three main types of chain hoists are manual chain hoists, electric chain hoists, and pneumatic chain hoists.

Manual Chain Hoists

Manual chain hoists, also known as hand chain hoists or manual chain blocks, are operated by hand and do not require external power sources. They consist of a hand chain, a lifting chain, and a hoist body with gears and a braking mechanism.

Advantages of manual chain hoists:

  • Portable, lightweight, and easy to transport
  • Simple operation: straightforward design and easy to operate with minimal training
  • Cost-effective: generally more affordable than electric or pneumatic chain hoists

Disadvantages of manual chain hoists:

  • Limited lifting capacity compared to electric or pneumatic hoists
  • Requires physical effort to manually pull the hand chain, which can be demanding for heavy loads or extended use

Electric Chain Hoists

Electric chain hoists are powered by electricity and equipped with an electric motor that drives the lifting mechanism. They consist of a chain, a motorized hoist body, controls, and safety features.

Advantages of electric chain hoists:

  • Increased lifting capacity compared to manual chain hoists
  • Ease of operation: precise control and smoother lifting and lowering
  • Time-saving: can lift loads faster, improving productivity

Disadvantages of electric chain hoists:

  • Dependence on electricity, may not be suitable where power is limited or unavailable
  • Higher cost than manual chain hoists due to motorized components

Pneumatic Chain Hoists

Pneumatic chain hoists, also known as air chain hoists, are powered by compressed air. They use a pneumatic motor to drive the lifting mechanism, consisting of a chain and a hoist body.

Advantages of pneumatic chain hoists:

  • Suitable for hazardous environments: designed to operate safely in potentially explosive or flammable atmospheres
  • Robust and durable: rugged construction to withstand harsh conditions
  • Variable lifting speeds: adjustable speeds allow for precise control based on the application
  • Extremely long lifting heights and faster speeds compared to electric or manual hoists

Disadvantages of pneumatic chain hoists:

  • Dependence on a reliable source of compressed air, which may limit use in some locations
  • Higher cost than manual chain hoists due to specialized design and requirements

 Applications for Chain Hoists 

When you use the different types of chain hoists (manual, electric, and pneumatic), you’ll find that they have unique applications in various industries. They are essential for lifting and handling heavy materials accurately and safely.

 Applications for Chain Hoists 

Construction Project

In construction projects, manual chain hoists are valued for their portability and ease of installation. They are usually used to lift construction materials and tools to higher heights. Since they do not require power support, they are often used in some remote factories or where it is not possible to A place where strong power support is guaranteed. Since this type of hoist relies on manpower to carry goods, its lifting capacity is relatively limited and is often used for some small lifting tasks.

Production Facilities

Your manufacturing facility may rely on electric chain hoists to streamline production lines, especially when handling heavy-duty components. These cranes can be integrated into jib cranes or overhead cranes, ensuring smooth and safe material transfer during assembly.

Warehousing and Material Handling

Warehousing operations often use electric and manual chain hoists to perform material handling tasks. Electric hoists can move inventory quickly, while manual hoists can be used for precise placement of goods in tight spaces or where less frequent lifting is required.

Automotive and Aerospace

In the automotive and aerospace sectors, precision is critical. Electric chain hoists facilitate vehicle and aircraft assembly by moving heavy parts safely into place. Pneumatic chain hoists may find their role in spark-sensitive environments or where clean operation is required due to a lack of electrical components.

Oil, Gas and Mining

Harsh environments such as the oil, gas, and mining industries require rugged and reliable equipment. Electric and pneumatic chain hoists are your workhorses, capable of operating in challenging conditions and lifting heavy loads, including drilling equipment and raw materials.

Routine Maintenance and Inspection

  • Daily Inspection:
    • Inspect for visible damage or wear.
    • Test the brake function before each use.
  • Periodic Maintenance:
    • Clean and Lubricate: Regular cleaning and lubrication keep the chain free from debris and rust, ensuring smooth operation.
    • Bearing Points: require oiling and may need disassembly for proper maintenance, typically once a year or more depending on usage.
  • Professional Inspection:
    • Schedule professional inspections as recommended by safety standards like ASME B30.21, which applies to various types of lever hoists including chain hoists.