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Keys to Machinery Moving

According to Merriam-Webster, the first known use of rigging started around in 1594 and was utilized in the maritime industry in the development of ship sails.  The practice of using ropes, jacks and cranes in collaboration with physics and geography led to modern day industrial rigging of multi-ton presses, injection molds, stamping machines and production lines.  Although modernization has changed the look and feel of some of the equipment we use, the basic principles of moving machinery have not.  Machinery movers must have exceptional preparation and planning skills along with the right equipment to provide a seamless service.  And, if you can find a rigger with transportation experience, you can get a full turnkey service.  


When nearly half of all injuries occur during loading and unloading heavy equipment, safety measures need to be taken from the beginning and that means lots of preparation is critical to planning the job. To move industrial machinery, a team of riggers will design and create a plan.  In the last few years, our team has utilized the digital capabilities of photography and videography to create quotes, plans and evaluations.   Creating the plan begins with gathering the specifications of the job.  Many of our projects come with engineering blueprints, but even for smaller jobs, we go through the same process.  Every detail of the move is outlined in a job report.  For larger moves or equipment installs, we provide a daily lift report.  These reports outline what equipment will be used for the project, team members, safety requirements and any additional information critical for the job.  


Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers is important, but mandating that employees use the PPE and appropriate equipment is what makes the difference between a company that can do the job, and the one that you want to do the job.  We cannot say it enough — safety is the backbone of our industry.  We are serious when it comes to PPE and following industry safety guidelines whether it’s the required vest, boots or googles, every employee is held to high standards and expectations regarding safety PPE and procedures.    

Next, selecting the right piece of equipment for the move is critical.  When lifting a piece of heavy industrial machinery, the smallest clearance possible is obviously preferable. Moving industrial machinery involves many different types of machines. From traditional ropes, jacks and cranes to more modern hydraulic forklifts with booms.  When looking to move heavy equipment or machinery, you can use a wide range of tools. We most often use Versa-lifts, Cranes and Trakporters. 

Versa-Lift: “The Versa-Lift is a unique forklift in which the frame extends in order to achieve greater capacities and is equipped with a removable hydraulic boom. The Versa-Lift was designed specifically for moving heavy machinery smoothly and safely on solid surfaces for riggers.” http://www.versa-lift.com/

As the name implies, one of the Versa-Lift’s most important attribute is the versatility of the equipment.  These machines can navigate small spaces with very heavy equipment.  In the traditional world of moving big machines, riggers used to setup gantries. Setting up gantries is still a good solution for some jobs, but it is very time consuming.  Using a Versa-Lift can save time on the move, thus reducing loss of production time for our customers.    

Cranes: Lifting and rigging are most used with portable or mobile cranes. These can be all-in-one cranes, where the crane is housed on the back of a large truck-like vehicle or is its own portable vehicle. Some models are also semi-permanent installations, where the crane is transported to the job site, and then set up in a location where it will provide the most benefit. We own several portable cranes that we use on a weekly basis.  

Traksporters: The Traksporter is most described as an industrial dolly with a remote control.  The carriage can be controlled and monitored by a single operator. This machine is great for small, tight and confined areas.  It can precisely position a heavy load.   It is a great tool to use when you do not want to interrupt production.  It does not take up that much space, but it is a powerful tool well suited for heavy machines moves.  


Many times, when we are called to move machinery, it also means transporting to or from the site.  There is a lot more to think about than just moving the equipment. Many states require special transportation permits for oversized or heavy loads.  Each state has different laws on heavy equipment, so it is important to have an experienced rigging team who has worked in various states.  

In addition to knowing about the transportation regulations, transporting large and heavy machines takes a professional. From loading to the tie down, an experienced mover will make sure there is no wiggle room or movement.  Equipment cannot shift or bounce while being transported. Tying down heavy equipment at appropriate points prevents equipment damage.  It’s important to know that most manufacturer’s label the appropriate tie-down points on the machines.  Extra care and experience are a plus when those point of contacts land near a machine’s cylinders, hydraulic hoses or other sensitive components. You do not want a metal chain unexpectedly snapping up because joints and tension were not adequately reduced with the ratchet boomer.  Lastly, experienced drivers are critical to the transportation process.  The team should always have a transport plan of routes, back up options and if the load is high or outside of normal road allowances, a driver will need to ride the route prior to the move to make sure clearances and any unforeseen challenges are identified before the move is started. 

There are many variations for moving industrial machinery. To make the best decision, you should get in touch with a qualified professional with experience moving similar machinery. Associated Industrial Riggers has been moving machinery for almost 30 years.  We are the premier machinery movers in the US and have worked with almost every kind and size of equipment made.  We look forward to putting our experience and expertise to work for you.