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Why Use Overhead Crane Bumpers?

Calvin LeClair
New Business Development

OSHA overhead and gantry crane standards require the use of overhead crane bumpers, including bridge bumpers [1910.179(e)(2)] and trolley bumpers [1910.179(e)(3)]. That’s the short, simple answer to why you should use overhead crane bumpers.

But there’s much more to say about the benefits of using overhead crane bumpers. I have seen many examples of the damage that can be done in the absence of crane bumpers. And, I’ve seen many examples of how they prevent or minimize damage. 

Overhead crane bumpers absorb the shock of impact in the normal course of operation and act as an emergency backup in instances when an operator’s attention lapses. When a crane without a bumper runs into an end stop, there’s nothing to absorb the impact of the collision. And if multiple cranes on a runway collide, end truck to end truck, they can do tremendous damage if they lack bumpers.

While not required by OSHA, slow down or stop limits are devices that improve crane safety by reducing or preventing the impact overhead crane bumpers sustain. These electrical components, which are activated by a sensor,  stop or slow down a crane, preventing the bumpers from coming into contact with the end stops – or at least slowing the crane enough to limit the impact that the bumpers must sustain. Stop limits come standard on Konecranes bridge cranes.

Bumpers typically are made of rubber, but for larger cranes – 50-ton capacity and up – I recommend hydraulic overhead crane bumpers. They absorb more shock than rubber crane bumpers.

Polyurethane bumpers are a relatively new alternative to rubber crane bumpers. They are more durable and longer lasting than rubber bumpers, which tend to dry out and crack over time.

And, without quarterly or annual crane inspections, rubber overhead crane bumpers may fall off unnoticed, until a collision occurs. Missing crane bumpers can lead to derailments.

A crane can derail or get jammed in the rails when one side of the crane is without a bumper. This happens because the side that still has a bumper makes contact before the other side, forcing the crane out of alignment between the rails. Forced askew like this, the wheels sustain cracked flanges, which can lead to a derailment if not repaired.

Overhead crane bumpers for bridges and trolleys are essential components for crane safety because they reduce the risk of damage, derailment, and wear and tear on cranes.

For more information on the best type of overhead crane bumpers for your overhead cranes, contact a Konecranes sales representative in your area.