Moving Heavy Machinery and Other Bulky Items Safely

Photo via Wikimedia Commons and in the public domain
Photo via Wikimedia Commons and in the public domain

If you are building, renovating, or reconfiguring your manufacturing facility, shop, or warehouse, one of the most important things to consider is how you are going to move the heaviest objects.

Things like machinery, equipment, bulk supplies, and other items can weigh hundreds of tons. So changing their location isn’t always as simple as it seems.

Fortunately, there are several safe, effective, and efficient ways to move heavy items without damaging floors, putting workers at risk, or increasing the chances of ruining the items being moved.

Cranes and Other Machinery

You may already have the heavy equipment on hand that you need to move your heaviest loads during construction or rebuilds.

Check to see the weight rating of your forklift, power jack, or other powered materials handling equipment. If it is above the weight of the items to be moved, you may be in luck.

If not, you might need to rent special equipment, such as a crane or heavier duty lift trucks. Keep in mind that if you plan to use a crane or other large capacity equipment to move loads located inside your facility, they will either need to be able to fit through your doors or you may need to gain access through roofing panels.

Machine Rollers

For pieces that are too big to move with your forklift or jack but not big enough to require a crane or bigger front end loader, you might consider using machine rollers.

These devices are similar to dollies, except they have a stronger, reinforced base as well as multiple wheels on both sides of the frame so that the weight of the load is more evenly distributed. This both keeps the load more balanced as well as distributing its weight over a larger area, reducing the risk of damage to floors.

Disassembling the Items

In some cases, a big job can be made easier by breaking it into smaller pieces. In this case, literally.

If the machinery or another object you need to move can be disassembled into smaller parts, you may be able to use your existing equipment to move these individual parts and then reassemble the item at its new location.

If it’s the first time you are taking something apart, it’s a good idea to have somebody on hand who is trained in how to do it. This could require a call to the original manufacturer.

Or you might consider making a video while you take the machinery apart. You can return to view the video if you need to when putting it back together.