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In the spirit of specialization, this review is limited to cable-style roll-off hoists. Hook-lift systems will be addressed in the future.
The world of solid waste handling is full of specialization. Haulers can choose specialized tools for duties ranging anywhere from scheduling runs to keeping things clean and tidy. But when it comes to the heavy lifting, perhaps no piece of specialized equipment works harder than the roll-off cable hoist.
Roll-off hoists are specialized trailers that raise and lower roll-off containers from the ground to the trailer rails - usually for transport to and from MSW processing facilities. Since full containers of waste can weigh as much as 75,000 lbs., roll-off cable hoists pack a lot of pulling power.
To pull the container up onto the trailer, hydraulic cylinders raise the tilt-frame to an inclined position, and a cable is attached to the container.
Steve Doughty, sales manager for BenLee, Inc. of Romulus, Michigan, makers of a full line of roll-off hoists and related waste handling equipment said, “The hoist works by taking up cable, pulling the container up onto the rails of the trailer. It’s an arrangement configured much like a reverse block and tackle, with a stationary pulley – or ‘sheeve’ as they are known - near the head of the trailer frame and a traveling sheeve attached to a slide plate. Hydraulic cylinders push the slide plate toward the rear of the trailer, taking up slack in the cable. That pulls the container up into place on the rails of the tilt frame,” he said.
The cable may travel as much as three or four times the length of the trailer frame. “A three-part line runs the length of the frame three times,” continued Mr. Doughty. “A four-part line is sometimes needed for long pulls where the container may be placed a ways back behind the trailer,” he added. However, with every change in direction of the cable, the hoist will lose a portion of its pulling capacity.
a roll-off cable hoist
There are a number of questions to ask before choosing a roll-off cable hoist. Questions such as what will you be hauling? What type of container(s) is on the route? Are you moving long distances or dealing with a greater number of short hauls? All of these issues will determine what size hoist is needed and what features or capabilities are essential.
Perhaps the most important issue is weight. How much weight is involved – in conjunction with state and local regulations – will impact trailer design and construction.
“More axles enable the trailer to haul more weight. Haulers must understand load limits on roads in the area they service, along with bridge laws to choose the best roll-off hoist for their needs,” said Steve Doughty. “There is a lot of variation from state to state, so staying informed is critical for making good decisions.”
Safety and training
Gary McLeskey, president of Cascon Transportation Company in Ridgefield, Washington said, “Each unit we deliver comes with a full compliment of owner and operator training manuals, and our salespeople spend time reviewing safety features with customers at the time of delivery. We’ll even have people ride with customers, reviewing proper operating procedures under actual working conditions. This helps drivers to understand how systems work firsthand. It’s safety through training,” he added.
Once on board, containers must be secured to the trailer/hoist before the driver moves on. The pull-on connection is one point of contact with the container. Ratchet straps or cam-style binders are common types of safety tie-downs to be sure the container stays put. Gary McLeskey points out, “One of our systems uses an endless chain design in place of a cable, but otherwise operates the same. The chain system is a power on/power off approach that affords some additional flexibility. And because it is driven by a hydraulic, planetary gear system, the container stays locked in position unless pilot pressure is applied through the operating controls.” Mr. McLeskey said additional tie-downs are used to further secure the container.
Maintaining your roll-off cable hoist
Brian Harper, of Galbreath, Inc., Winamac, Indiana said, “The real driver behind maintenance is the number of cycles per day. On average, most roll-off cable hoist systems cycle about 10 times per day. At that rate, we recommend rollers and cables be inspected and lubricated every week. Hydraulic hoses should be inspected weekly as well, replacing worn items as needed,” he said. Galbreath offers a broad line of roll-off hoists and related waste handling equipment.
In spite of regular attention to some components, others may be overlooked. Brian Harper continues, “The truck chassis manufacturers have done a good job educating owners on basic engine maintenance such as oil and filter changes. But it can be difficult getting owners to maintain the hydraulic systems. We recommend that hydraulic filters be changed every six months and that fluids be changed a minimum of once per year,” he said.
The DOT requires drivers to perform a visual inspection,
or “walkaround” before starting out each day. The walkaround
is a quick check of the condition of key system components – a direct
reflection of maintenance.