High quality chain hoists face the same challenge in South Africa as other reputable equipment brought into this country – a competitive price bettered by even cheaper imports from China.
Despite their generally lower quality, the very low price of these Chinese imports makes for an attractive purchase. When they break down, they are simply discarded and replaced.
Notwithstanding this challenge, Hitachi, reports steady local sales, the result of good service back-up and established distribution channels.
Since Condra secured the Hitachi agency exclusively in 2009, sales outlets supported by well equipped agents have been set up in Durban, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Mbombela, Polokwane, Rustenburg and the Sishen iron ore mine in Northern Cape.
Condra notes that repairs of high quality chain hoists are usually cost effective, with the discard-and-replace philosophy proving more expensive over the medium term than investing in better quality equipment and repairing it when required.
The company believes that Hitachi chain-hoists are well known for careful design and an ability to perform well and reliably for many years under robust conditions.
The hoists feature helical gearing for quiet operation, electro-magnetic disc brakes for long life, and plug-in cables to reduce maintenance and installation time.They are also rich in safety features, which include:
- A 24-volt impact protected and rain-proofed control pendant with wire rope moulded into the cable for strain relief;
- an electro-magnetic contactor with mechanical interlock to protect against shorting due to shock;
- optional emergency stop buttons and overload protection;
- chain containers fitted as standard;
- upper and lower limit switches to prevent hook over-travel; and
- a reverse-phase relay on most models to facilitate inspection.
Among the more ordinary features in the range are chains with hardened surfaces for optimum strength and wear resistance, and hooks that are heat-treated and fitted with a safety latch and 360-degree swivelling.
Condra Cranes, which manufactures overhead cranes in the two-ton to 500-ton range, uses the Hitachi range to extend its lift offering all the way down to 250 kg.