How to Tell When It’s Time for New Rigging Gear

Whether you’re inspecting wire rope, chain slings, synthetic web slings, round slings, or any type of rigging hardware, here are the warning signs of potential rigging equipment failure.

rigging gear inspection checklist

Stay safe and compliant with these rigging gear inspection tips.

The best way to tell if it’s time to upgrade your rigging and lifting gear starts with regular inspections, ideally before and after each use. When you’re trying to get a job done, it’s easy to fall out of the habit of inspecting your gear. But, compared to the alternatives options of either failing an official inspection or having your gear fail while in use, regular rigging gear inspection is well worth it.

So, whether you’re using wire rope, chain slings, synthetic web slings, round slings, or any type of rigging hardware, here are the warning signs to look for when inspecting your rigging gear.

Wire Rope Inspection

inspection checklist for wire rope

Wire rope is often combined with wire rope clips and thimbles and also used in wire rope slings that are great for a variety of lifts. It’s also commonly used on specialty vehicles, like tow trucks, as a winch line. Between load stress, environmental conditions, and abrasion, there are many factors that can shorten the life of wire rope.

Regularly inspect your wire rope and discard it if any of the following is evident:

  • Excessive broken wire
  • Distortion or kinking
  • Severe corrosion
  • Shiny worn spots on the outside of the rope
  • A one-third reduction in the outer wire diameter
  • Damaged or displaced hooks, link, rings, or other end fittings

Chain Sling Inspection

inspection checklist for chain slings

Yes, even the strongest chain slings, like a mighty grade 120 chain sling, can become overly stressed and eventually unsafe to continue using. Heat, chemicals, and heavy loads all take a toll on a chain slings longevity.

If you notice any of the following on your chain slings, cut them up into 3′ to 4′ lengths (to prevent salvaging) and then recycle them:

  • Stretched or overly-elongated links
  • Kinks or binding
  • Nicks or gouges in links

Synthetic Web Sling Inspection

inspection checklist for synthetic web slings

The softness and flexibility of polyester and nylon lifting slings make them great for lifting fragile or expensive cargo. But just because they’re lifting delicately, doesn’t mean that can’t become worn out and dangerous to use.

Discontinue use and cut the sling into 3′ to 4′ lengths (and cut the eye) if you notice any of the following:

  • Snags, tears, or cuts
  • Melting or charring of any surface area
  • Acid or caustic burns
  • Broken or worn stitching
  • Elongation that exceeds manufacturer’s recommendation
  • Distortion of any fittings

Polyester Round Sling Inspection

inspection checklist for polyester round slings

Round slings are a versatile, strong, and cost-efficient tool for lifting a variety of cargo types. Polyester round slings contain a continuous loop of polyester yarn inside and a durable polyester fabric on the outside that is usually color-coded by lifting capacity.

While round slings are able to handle large loads, even the smallest rip, cut, or tear is enough to make it unsafe for use. If you notice these issues during inspection, cut the sling in half to retire it from service:

  • Exposure of the yarn core or broken or damaged yarn
  • Heat damage
  • Discolored, brittle, or stiff areas
  • Acid or caustic burns

Rigging Hardware Inspection

inspection checklist for rigging hardware

Common pieces of rigging hardware used for lifts include: shackles, turnbuckles, hooks, links and swivels, rings, wire rope clips, and thimbles. The integrity of these smaller items is vital to rigging safety.

Prior to using rigging hardware, visually inspect each piece and discontinue use if you notice the following:

  • Excessive nicks, gouges, or corrosion
  • Bent, twisted, elongated, or cracked load-bearing components
  • Reduction in original dimension by 10% or more
  • Indication of heat damage
  • Missing or illegible load rating information

Purchase Smart, Use With Confidence

If any of the above signs are evident during your routine inspection, it’s likely time to replace your rigging gear. Similar to knowing your rigging inspection checklist, it’s helpful to learn what to look for when buying rigging and lifting gear so you can always ensure that you’re using the best equipment for the job, and enjoy years of safe use.

For official rigging equipment inspection requirements see OSHA section 1926.251.

Polyester Slings vs Nylon Slings: Which Web Sling Type is Better?

Are polyester lifting slings better than nylon lifting slings? This is a question our lifting and rigging product experts commonly get and the answer, as it often is with rigging gear, is that it depends on the job at hand.

Before we dive into the key differences between nylon slings and polyester slings, there are many similar advantages to these two types of synthetic slings that are important to know.

Advantages of Synthetic Webbing

1. Ideal for delicate loads

One of the most common reasons for a rigger to use synthetic slings instead of wire rope slings or chain slings is th fact that they won’t scratch or crush your load. That’s why synthetic slings are extremely popular in the construction industry and with ship haulers.

2. Cost-efficient

Synthetic slings are also an attractive choice due to their lower cost. If you’re wondering whether nylon slings are cheaper than polyester slings, don’t. The prices are more or less the same, and your focus should be on choosing the right sling for the job.

3. Lightweight

Compared to wire rope and chain, synthetic slings are much lighter, making them easier to transport and handle. Again, nylon is typically a little heavier than polyester, but it’s not much of a difference when you consider the weight of chain and wire rope.

4. Strong

It’s true that nylon is stronger on an individual fiber level, but a polyester sling can be made just as strong as a nylon one by adding more threading. And both types can easily lift several thousand pounds. So while it’s important to use a lifting sling that’s rated for the load your lifting, this won’t affect your choice between nylon and polyester.

Physical Differences

Now that you know how they’re similar, let’s look at the differences between the physical characteristics of nylon and polyester to determine which material type is best for your job.

Nylon has more stretch

This is one the most important differences between nylon slings and polyester slings. While nylon slings have more give to them (about 7 to 10 percent stretch when at WLL) that does not mean they are weaker than polyester (typically 2 to 3 percent stretch at WLL). The main reasons you would want more or less stretch when lifting a load include overheight lifting room and the potential for “snapback”.

If you have height limitations, polyester is probably the better choice. If your load could bounce around a lot, the extra stretch of nylon will reduce the danger of the strap snapping back at you or others. This difference in the stretch is why you typically see recovery straps made of nylon and tow straps made of polyester.

Polyester is softer and more flexible

Both nylon and polyester slings are good for delicate loads, but if you’re wondering which one is best for the most delicate loads, it’s polyester. The chemical coating on nylon webbing gives it a slightly more coarse texture.

Polyester is also a bit more flexible than nylon. By flexible, I’m not talking about stretch but rather the ability to wrap tightly around a load and grip the most surface area.

This is an important difference, especially when choosing between nylon endless slings and polyester endless slings.

nylon round endless lifting sling
Nylon Endless Sling
polyester round endless sling
Polyester Endless Sling

Environmental Differences

Another key question to ask when choosing between nylon slings and polyester slings is, what are the environmental conditions? There’s a reason why ship haulers and those in marine environments prefer polyester slings, they absorb less water and are just a bit more resistant to UV rays. But, you also need to consider the differences when it comes to chemical resistance.

Nylon slings can’t resist acids or bleaches

Avoid using nylon slings if you’re operating anywhere near sulfuric, nitric, hydrochloric, or phosphoric acids. Nylon is also unresistant to oxidizing bleach agents such as sodium hypochlorite, hydrogen peroxide, sodium percarbonate, and calcium hypochlorite.

Polyester slings can’t resist ethers or alkalis

On the other hand, polyesters Achilles heel is ethers and alkalis. Among other chemicals, this includes diethyl ether, dimethyl ether, sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide, calcium carbonate, and magnesium hydroxide.

Polyester Slings

best eye to eye lifting sling

browse all polyester sling

Conclusion

In short, synthetic lifting slings are a great choice due to their ability to handle delicate loads, lower cost, lightness, and impressive strength. In the polyester sling vs nylon sling matchup, the winner is whichever one meets the demands of your specific job best.

Nylon slings have more stretch but can’t be used near acids or bleaches. Polyester slings are softer and hug to load surfaces better but can’t be used near ethers or alkalis.

If you have any additional questions about nylon slings or polyester slings, give our rigging product experts a call at 800-404-7068.

New Product Alert: Grade 100 Chain Slings

US Cargo Control has launched a new manufacturing capability with the introduction of KWB Grade 100 signal violet chain slings to their product line. KWB, a Pewag company, is known for their high-quality chain and fittings, while Pewag is a leader in the chain manufacturing industry, known for their innovation and high-quality products.

Chain slings are a powerful tool in heavy-duty overhead lifting applications. They also perform well in situations where excessive heat is an issue, or environmental issues (like chemicals) may be present.

4-leg grade 100 chain sling by KWB, a Pewag company
4-Leg Grade 100 chain sling

US Cargo Control offers chain slings that are custom-made on-site with Grade 100 alloy chain and fittings. Our Grade 100 chain and fittings are manufactured by KWB, a Pewag company, in a high-visibility signal violet color that is easily identifiable in the field. High-quality and European-made, all KWB products exceed U.S. standards of NACM, ASTM and OSHA. Every link of chain is proof load tested to 2.5 times the WLL.

Grade 100 offers a 25% higher load capacity than G80, with smaller chain dimensions, considerable weight reduction and easier handling.

Types of Chain Slings

Chain slings come in single leg, 2-leg, 3-leg and 4-leg configurations. Each assembly can be tailored by number of legs, chain dimension, type of hook, and chain length. Assemblies are made in the USA with direct oversight provided. Every component offers traceability with appropriate markings.

Adjustable chain slings are also available. These slings are manufactured with shortening hooks on the master link that allow the legs to be shortened without a reduction in load capacity (WLL) due to 4-fold safety.

The signal violet color slightly varies between the chain and the fittings due to the thick powder coating the components have, versus the spray painted coating of the chain.

Eric Japenga

When choosing a sling for your application, US Cargo Control Sales Specialist Eric Japenga suggests starting with determining the amount of weight your lift will cover. After you know your load’s weight you can identify how many legs you’ll need, then the diameter of the chain.

Japenga says with lower-weight lifts that do not require much stability, a one-legged sling should do the job. Add another leg to handle more weight. For the heaviest lifts, a three-legged sling offers the highest working load limit (WLL). You can add a 4th leg that will add stability, although it will not increase the WLL above the 3-legged sling.

Adding Fittings to Your Chain Sling

When it comes to choosing the type of hook for your sling, Pewag offers the following guidelines:

KWB Grade 100 Clevis Sling Hook
KWB Clevis Sling Hook

  • Grab hooks are typically used in choke applications
  • Clevis hooks do not require a connector hook, and are their most popular style
  • Sling hook with latches offer an added safety feature and are OSHA compliant
  • Eye hooks need a connecting link and can also be used with wire or synthetic rope
  • Self-locking hooks offer greater safety than latch hooks because these latches must be released manually
  • Swivel hooks are versatile and do not swivel under load
  • Foundry hooks are used when you need a larger mouth opening, however it should be noted that before using this type of hook, check whether hooks without safety latches are allowed for your application

When ordering your chain sling, if you require a proof testing certificate, you must request one at the time of order, and a nominal fee will be charged.

US Cargo Control is the exclusive carrier in the continental United States for KWB signal violet chain in the 9/32” to ½” sizes, making this not only a quality product, but a unique one as well. In addition to our exclusive KWB chain sizes, we also offer Grade 100 signal violet chain in 3/4” and 5/8” sizes.

Give us a call with any questions or to place an order, 800-660-3585.

New Products: Nylon Bridle Slings

bridle-sling-300x162-redOur nylon lifting slings category continues to expand with the most recent addition of 600+ new Nylon Bridle Slings.

A nylon bridle sling offer s both incredible strength and ease of use due to its light weight and ability to collapse for easy storage.

Other benefits include:

  • Four configurations available (single leg, double leg, triple leg, or quad leg) to meet a variety of applications.
  • The synthetic nylon is more flexible than chain or wire rope.
  • Quality hardware from Pewag ensures quality. Oblong links are manufactured in Grade 100 alloy steel; hooks are all in a Grade 80 alloy steel.
  • Each bridle sling leg stretches approximately 3% at rated capacity, helping to absorb shock during a lift.
  • Nylon fabric will not conduct electricity like a chain sling or wire rope sling.
  • Multiple leg design in the 2-, 3-, and 4-leg styles allow the bearing points to be rotated, which extends the sling’s working life.
  • Available in two different ply thickness.
  • The 2-, 3-, and 4-leg styles can be used in different hitches, offering excellent versatility.

We offer three end fittings online- oblong, hook, and sewn eye. Each sling also has a master oblong link. Two widths (1″ and 2″) and two ply options (1-ply and 2-ply) are also available for order online.

Other recent additions to the nylon sling category include Drum Slings and Drum Lifters, as well as a request quote form for Custom Boat Slings.

Like all of our nylon slings, our nylon web bridle slings are made in the USA.

If you don’t see the sling you need, give us a call. We’re always happy to customize a bridle web sling assembly to your specs. You can reach our lifting slings product team at 800-660-3585.

Click over to our website to see all of our Lifting Slings & Rigging Slings, or click the buttons below to go directly to each category of nylon bridle slings.

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New Products: Drum Handling Equipment

We’ve recently added a new category of drum handling equipment  to our expanding line of lifting slings.

A drum sling is an easy and efficient way to move a 55 gallon drum. Constructed of nylon webbing (either 1″ or 2″ wide), it can have either a harness design or hooks to hold the drum, while the top sling portion easily attaches to a forklift, crane, etc.

 

Vertical Drum Sling w/Harness

image of drum handling equipment from US Cargo Control

Vertical Drum Sling w/Barrel Hooks

image of drum handling equipment from US Cargo Control

Drum handler or drum lifters are additional terms used for this type of equipment, but those are generally manufactured in chain or metal. The benefit of nylon webbing over traditional 55 gallon drum handling equipment is its lightweight design makes it easy to use and easy to store when not in use. Nylon also offers subtle stretch to conform to the load and added maneuverability.

Web slings can also be extremely versatile, as the drum lifts with barrel hooks can be made with longer-length webbing and used in a horizontal configuration as well. The design of the harness sling allows the operator to pour contents from a ribbed barrel.

While drum slings and harnesses are most commonly found in manufacturing settings, these benefits also make nylon drum handling slings extremely useful on the farm, at the dock, warehouse, etc. And because they’re custom-made to your specifications, we can create the best sling for your application. Each drum lifter sling is manufactured with an ID tag showing rated capacities to make it easy to follow safe lifting guidelines.

Not sure what size or style would work best? Give our sales team a call at 800-660-3585.  they’ll be happy to help.

To see our entire line of lifting slings, click over to our Lifting Slings & Rigging Slings page.

How to Choose a Lifting Sling

Choosing the right sling for lighting can be confusing, but it’s important to take the environment and conditions where the lifting sling will be used into consideration.

Nylon lifting sling

image of nylon lifting sling from US Cargo Control

Nylon lifting slings are a popular choice because of their multi-purpose uses. A nylon web sling is unaffected by petroleum products like grease and oil. Nylon slings are also resilient to specific chemicals including ethers, strong alkalies and aldehydes. Nylon webbing is not a good choice for uses involving bleaching agents or acids, or for use in temperatures over 194 degrees Fahrenheit (90 degrees Celsius). Nylon also stretches at approximately 8-10%, so it should not be used when elongation is not intended.

 

Polyester lifting sling

Polyester Round Eye & Eye Lifting Sling

Like a nylon lifting straps, polyester round slings also have temperature guidelines, and are not advised for use in temperatures over 194 degrees Fahrenheit (90 degrees Celsius). Unlike nylon, they will stretch only approximately 3% of its rated capacity. A polyester round sling can handle acidic environments because the fabric is not affected by bleaching agents or common acids. Polyester webbing, however, should not be used if it will come in contact with sulfuric acids or alkaline.

 

Chain lifting sling

Image of Double Leg Chain Sling from US Cargo Control

Chain lifting slings are ideal for rugged environments and jobs. They resist abrasions, cutting and can maintain their strength and integrity even in extremely high temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degree Celsius). Chain slings are generally constructed in Grade 80 steel, but a Grade 100 chain is usually available on request. Grade 100 chain offers more strength (about 25% more) for lifting chains, yet weighs less than traditional Grade 80 lift chains. Another benefit of a chain sling is its ability to be customized for almost any type of lift. However, a chain hoist can be expensive and the prices can vary due to the market fluctuations.

 

Wire rope lifting sling

image of Wire Rope Lifting Sling from US Cargo Control

Wire rope slings are similar to a chain sling in that it offers excellent durability, strength and resistance to high temperatures. Wire rope, however, is more cost-efficient than chain so it’s a great choice is price is a concern. Because abrasion-resistance and flexibility of the wire rope can change depending on its configuration, a chain sling can be manufactured using a specific type of wire rope. Typically, wire rope is made from either 6×19 or 6×37 classes of rope. A 6×19 is the most widely used because of its ideal combination of flexibility and abrasion resistance. A 6×37 class rope is more flexible, but offers less resistance to abrasion.

 

Other factors will go into determining which lifting sling type is best for your specific job, such as the item(s) being lifted, capacities needed, etc. For help choosing a lift sling, call our product specialists at 800-660-3585. They’ll be happy to any answer questions you may have.