NSW-based lifting and rigging equipment supplier Ranger wants to revolutionise road plate lifting with a welded attachment that will eliminate the need for crowbars.
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The road plate system consists of a receiver plate and a lifting tool.

The attachment can be welded onto the centre of the road plate, meaning operators no longer need to employ dangerous manual handling techniques to lift heavy plates.

"I have worked with industry professionals who have broken, even lost, fingers by getting their hands trapped beneath heavy plates. The traditional method of using crowbars to lift an edge of the plate on either side to insert clamps and then apply rigging equipment is unsafe, awkward, and extremely slow," Ranger general manager Ashley Thacker said.

Ranger's road plate system comprises a receiver plate and lifting tool. The receiver is flush welded onto the centre of each steel trench plate, eliminating any potential trip hazards and allowing plates to be stacked on top of each other for storage. The lifting tool is inserted into the receiver plate and locked into place, while a hook is attached directly through the elongated hole of the lifter. Road plate lifters are designed to be lifted straight up and down in a vertical line.

Road plates range in shape and size but are commonly 28mm to 40mm thick. Thacker explained that when using longer plates, it is recommended that two tools be used with a spreader bar for stability and to minimise stress caused by bending of the plate.

"The plate should be measured in thirds along its longest part and a weld-in plate placed on each third division. In some instances, for stiffer road plates, two plates have been installed next to each other. We can consult on such matters on a case-by-case basis," Thacker said.

"No added shackle is required to attach to it, allowing for easy, quick and, most importantly, safe application. As the advantages of the system become apparent to more and more influencers and buying decision makers, we are seeing increasing demand for the solution. Many contractors will now only employ road plates fitted with the tooling."

Growing popularity of the system has also led to Ranger consulting with end users and steel merchants to get the system installed upon manufacture of the plates. This adds further efficiency to applications, given Ranger's technical team currently visits sites to proof load each plate once the tooling has been welded into place.

Any vehicle-mounted or other crane that has an appropriately rated capacity based on the size and weight of the steel plate can lift road plates. Ranger commonly supplies 10mm or 13mm chain slings and spreader systems when there is a requirement.