What comes to mind when we mention machine skates? If you’re thinking Hillman Rollers (also known as tanks or elephant feet), you’re not alone. These traditional machine skates remain a staple in certain industries where heavy loads simply need to be moved from point A to point B. For straight runs, they are the quickest and most portable option. However, they may become problematic when a load needs to make a sharp turn or rotate in tight quarters.
Enter rotating machine skates – aka crazy skates – manufactured by TechimpexUSA.
These skates are available in 4 and 10-Ton capacities and are capable of easy 360-degree rotation without the use of additional equipment, all while maintaining the portability of their smaller, straight-line counterparts.
Here are six things you should consider before deciding to use crazy skates on your next project:
1. Crew Experience
One question you need to ask before renting machine skates of any type is, is someone on your crew trained in proper rigging techniques while using skates? Have they had previous experience working with rotating machine skates specifically? This person should understand the proper use of holdback/tieback practices to ensure a safe move. It’s strongly recommended they be trained on recommendations from the use and care manuals as well.
2. Floor Surface
It’s important to consider your floor surface before renting machine skates. Is your floor surface remotely questionable? Are there any imperfections that may cause concern or impede the ability of the rollers to run smoothly? Any pits, uneven surfaces, cracks, excessive expansion joints, or loose debris? Are ground bearing pressures unknown to the integrity of the floor? If the answer to any of these is yes, you may want to look at other options or invest some time in prepping the floor for the move. The fewer bumps or joints, the easier your move will be.
3. Is the load’s Center of Gravity (CG) known?
This is paramount. Ideally, every lift or move should be started with a thorough understanding of the location of the load’s center of gravity. Take note that skates of any variety can easily handle loads with low CG. However, loads with a high CG require extra planning to make a move safe.
4. Path of Travel
Does your move require rotation of the load? Are there any turns along the path of travel? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then crazy skates will probably be your best bet. With the ability to rotate 360 degrees, crazy skates are well-suited for projects needing steerability or for moves requiring load rotation in tight spaces. If the answer is no to both of these questions, you may have alternative equipment options.
5. How many crazy skates will you need?
The most common configurations we’ve seen to date are on either 3 or 4-skate sets. There are a few things to consider when making the decision on the best setup for your project:
- First, consider the total weight of the load. Make sure your choice accounts for any possibility of the CG shifting toward one side or the other.
- Also, ensure the skate you choose can safely and efficiently handle more than its share of the calculated load. Depending on the weight distribution required, this can steer you toward 3 skates or 4.
- Bear in mind the most stable configuration in both low and high CG scenarios is the 3-skate setup. With the 3-skate system, the CG is captured better than in a 4-skate system and is less likely to go off-balance during the move.
6. Do you have the proper holdbacks or tiebacks?
Last but not least, it’s important to acknowledge that any load on wheels will attempt to follow the path of least resistance. Knowing that, any decline or grade on the surface needs to be accounted for, and tiebacks need to be planned accordingly.
Note: We’ve seen some of our customers use a pair of Griphoists, set up in a crisscross configuration, at both the front and back of the load to give complete control over the load, effectively preventing unwanted rotation or movement.
To see an example of rotating machine skates (aka crazy skates) in use, check out our case study, Emergency Hiperbaric Chamber Installation Within 1 Millimeter of Accuracy on the XYZ Plane.
At LGH, we’re always happy to help you plan your next big project, with experts available to visit your site in most areas. For assistance with equipment planning or questions on this topic, please click to chat with a live rental support specialist or call 800-878-7305 today.