Whenever you need to relocate or reposition heavy machinery or large equipment, you should use a machine moving skate. Also known as loading skates, these tools are designed to make moving heavy and bulky items as easy and safe as possible – reducing the likelihood of manual handling injuries and damage to expensive equipment and flooring.
Here is our guide to machine moving skates, and what to look out for when you are purchasing them.
What is a machine moving skate?
Essentially, a machine moving skate is an extremely heavy-duty skateboard. A flat panel is mounted on to roller wheels or castors and, when placed under your equipment, it allows the item to be moved easily over smooth surfaces.
How do they work?
You need to use machine skates alongside a hydraulic jack. Use the jack to lift the machinery; if it is particularly large or heavy you’ll need to use more than one jack and co-ordinate lifting efforts to ensure the equipment can’t topple over and is lifted safely. Once you have jacked the load up, position your skates beneath it – ideally at each corner, with the weight distributed evenly. If your skates have fixed direction wheels rather than castors, make sure they are all in line with each other. At this point, you can remove the jack(s) and then reposition your machinery as required.
Where are they used?
Machine skates are a must-have for many repair and maintenance tasks, where it may be necessary to get access to difficult to reach areas around heavy equipment, as well as for production sites where the layout of equipment is being reorganised. Lastly, if your business is involved with extremely heavy or unwieldy loads (shipping containers, plant, factory equipment, etc.) then you can use skates to move and load these goods for distribution.
What should you look out for?
The most important factor to look out for when you are reviewing or purchasing machine moving skates is the load capacity. You can easily find skates that can carry between one and 20+ tonnes, so make sure you get the skate that suits your requirements. Remember that you’ll probably be using multiple skates, and that you will also need hydraulic jacks capable of lifting the load.
The second consideration is the wheel type. If you simply need to rotate your equipment out of position to conduct repair or maintenance, you will need steerable skates or those with swivel castors. If you need to move items laterally, with no rotation, you can use fixed wheel skates that only move forward and backwards.
Skates can usually be found individually – as a flat panel on (usually) four wheels. You can use as many of these units in conjunction with each other as you need to get your equipment moving safely. Other options include in-line connected pairs, which are two skate panels connected with bars. This makes it easier to keep your skates aligned with each other, and they can often be adjusted to adapt the difference between the panels as required.
Using skates means that the task of moving extreme weights can be smooth, controlled and safe. Employers have a responsibility under health and safety regulations to ensure that employees and other people on site are kept as safe as possible, with specific rules regarding lifting – machine moving skates can help you to meet these obligations. Lastly, uncontrolled movement of equipment can cause damage to the floor of your business, to the equipment being moved, or to adjacent goods and machinery.
Author Bio: First Mats started life as safety matting specialist, but have since expanded to become a complete industrial and commercial supplies company. The focus of First Mats is to provide safety-focused products that improve the wellbeing of staff through quality approved products, backed up by extensive knowledge. www.firstmats.co.uk