Tools You May Not Know We Rent: Electric Power Bar

Continuing with tools you may not know we rent, the electric power bar provides an easy method of pushing a load. Typically paired with low profile dolly systems, tank rollers or air skates, an electric power barpower bars eliminate the need for additional equipment. Below, we’ll cover some of the most common uses, proper use as well as how to avoid damaging the unit.

Common Uses – When Should I Use an Electric Power Bar?

For heavy loads that need to be moved from one point to another with limited headroom, machine skates are the go-to. Which type of skate depends on several factors – floor surface, available manpower, additional equipment – and may necessitate a power bar.

Floor Surface
  • Use of an electric power bar can depend on the floor surface the load is moving along. If the floor surface is unsuitable for one type of skate, the force required to move the load varies drastically. That can mean the difference between being able to handle the load with a few people or needing additional equipment.
  • On hard, smooth surfaces, any of the three options can be used. Air skates require the most floor prep – as well as the smoothest surface – but also the least force to move the load. Heavy loads on air skates require significantly less force than that same load on wheels – five times, to be exact. A power bar can be used with any capacity but makes the most sense on high-weight air skate moves.
  • On porous or blemished surfaces, air skates are ineffective, and dollies or tank rollers become your best options. This is when it becomes far more common to see a power bar incorporated into the lift plan.
Available Manpower
  • On most moves, air skates can be handled by hand with one to two people, however, higher capacities require help. With a coefficient of friction less than 1%, high-capacity skate systems, require in excess of 1,000 pounds of force. This is where an electric power bar would make moving the load simple.
  • Traditional tank rollers and low-profile dollies both provide a 5% coefficient of friction. That means any load over 16,000 pounds would require 800-pounds of force to move the load. Once again, in those situations, rather than seek out winches, tiebacks or other equipment, consider renting an electric power bar.
  • In short, using a power bar in conjunction with any of these skate systems would require only two people. With one person to steer and one to operate the power bar, limited manpower is no longer an issue.
Additional Equipment
  • Rather than delve into any additional equipment needed for each skate, the simple matter is whether the space exists. If the job site is tight, working with as simple a setup as possible makes the most sense. Low-profile dollies and tank rollers paired with a power bar are as simple as it gets. Utilizing the power bar alleviates the need for tiebacks, winches, griphoists or lever hoists, but also simplifies the entire process.
  • As stated previously, a load can be moved with as few as two people when using the above setup. In addition to cutting out unnecessary equipment and saving space, fewer bodies mean fewer obstacles within the path.
Important Tips for Proper Use
  • Prior to using an electric power bar, ensure the floor surface is clean, level and free of imperfections – as much as possible.
  • Adjust the height of the bar to create the best leverage you can under the load.
    • Pushing down on the handle to produce enough bite on the load’s contact point avoids causing damage to either.
  • As always, familiarize yourself with the manufacturers use and care manual before any operations begin.
  • Power bars are for pushing a load and should never be used to pull the load.
  • The two tongues should only be used for loading purposes.
How Can You Avoid Damage to the Power Bar?
  • The power bar should never be pulled or be used in reverse while the tongue is under a load. Doing so not only risks damaging or breaking the tongues but will also cause severe damage to the load.
  • You should never set a load on top of the body.
    • While an embossed warning exists on the body itself, this is one of the most common causes of damage. Any load should rest squarely atop the two tongues of the unit.
  • ALWAYS ensure the unit comes to a complete stop prior to shifting into reverse.
    • Failure to do so will cause the spur gear or electric motor cluster to shear or become damaged. Should this occur, the motor in the unit will continue running but the wheels will not turn.
  • Along with the previous bullet point, it is also important to avoid abrupt starts and stops during use. Similar results to premature shifting and using the unit to pull will occur. Abrupt stops may cause the unit to slip off the tongues and damage them as well as the load.
  • Again, since it cannot be stated enough, familiarize yourself with the use and care manual to avoid unintentionally causing damage.

In addition to the electric power bar above, LGH also has manual johnson bars in our fleet. The 3,500-pound capacity, forged steel johnson bars are on wheels and perform the same function as their electric counterparts.

For further troubleshooting information, check out our post Get to Know the Electric Power Bar.

If you have additional questions or need high-quality, inspected, tested, and certified lifting equipment rentals, LGH has you covered. Click to chat with a live rental support specialist or call 800-878-7305 now.

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