Lifting beams and spreader bars are similar, but both have their own applications for lifting objects and are useful for different things. Both lifting beams and spreader bars are used to spread the load of an object that needs to be lifted to make sure that the lift is done successfully, without damaging the goods being lifted.
They both make it possible to lift a load from multiple points, rather than just one point that’s possible with a crane as standard. While the concept of the two tools is the same, the applications are different depending on the load you’re trying to move.
Spreader bars are a relatively simple tool which can be attached to cranes to allow you to lift something from multiple places. The bar attaches to the crane at one point, with two cables that attach to the spreader bar at either side. There are then two additional lugs at the bottom of the spreader bar which are used to attach the bar to whatever needs to be lifted. They are generally made out of a solid piece of material, making them easy to attach to the crane and simple to use. They can become cumbersome, though, when many different sizes are needed for various tasks or if very large beams are needed for the task at hand. If you’re interested in finding out more about spreader bars and lifting beams, or would like to find one to hire, check out T Way Lifting as it’s a great resource.
Lifting beams, on the other hand, are a similar long beam with multiple lugs at each end to attach the load to, but there’s only one attachment at the top of the bar in the middle to attach the beam to the crane. This means the load is spread across the bar from the center in a bending movement, rather than through the whole beam like on a spreader bar. Because of the design, lifting beams are generally used for loads that don’t allow for much headroom and a smaller bar is needed.
A key difference between the two types of lifting beams comes down to the ability to change them on the go. The nature of the design of a spreader bar means you can create bars that can be extended if needed. Some spreader bars can be extended up to 3x their standard size, making them much better for jobs where there are lots of different loads to be lifted.
This is quite difficult to do for a lifting beam as their design means that the load is going through the center of the beam, rather than through the two sides.
The main way to choose between the two is to ask yourself – what are you planning to lift, and how do you intend to do it? Depending on how big the object is and how far you have to move, it will make one or the other option the best one. If in doubt, contact a supplier and let them know what equipment you have and what the job is, and they will be able to tell you the best tool for the job.