What is a hoist and how is it used?

November 2, 2021

If you want to know what a hoist is and how to use it, you have come to the right place. The hoist is a pulley mechanism that facilitates the lifting, handling and transfer of a load from one point to another. Despite being a traditional tool in workshops and warehouses, few know how it works. That is why we have decided to talk about them.

What is a hoist?

Let’s start from the simplest to move up to the specific in order to understand the information without the need to go to the technicality. In simple words, a hoist is a mechanism designed for vertical work that has one or more pulleys on which a chain is dragged.

A hoist is often installed where pulley lifting is needed to load or lift a heavy load , such as cargo warehouses, airports, industrial companies, workshops, seaports, and even buying a hoist for a laboratory . The force to be applied is calculated using the mechanical advantage or gain, which is the ratio between the resisting force and the force applied to displace an object.

How does a hoist work?

Okay, having understood what it is, let’s now focus on how it works. To do this, you have to know what its parts are:

  • Original pulley . Also known as a fixed pulley, it is the pulley that hangs from a fixed point. It is the object through which the rope passes and the one in charge of modifying the direction of the force. It also does the job of lightening the load by lifting and reducing the weight of the material. A mechanical advantage does not always occur.
  • Mobile pulley . Unlike the previously mentioned pulley, this is connected to the chain and has the function of supporting the fixed one to facilitate movement. There can be several movable pulleys in the same mechanism.
  • Chain . The chain, although it can also be a resistant cable or cable, fulfills the function of transmitting the force. It is essential for the movement of the load and goes through the pulley system until it reaches its goal. They must be resistant to prevent shedding.

Well, with the parts defined, now we can explain how a hoist works. At first we have to install the mobile pulley to a surface so that it regulates the movement, the elevation and the load. Since chain or rope traction is usually not effective. The chain is then attached through the movable pulleys and hooked onto the load.

Subsequently, the person in charge of handling the hoist operates the lifting mechanism, which can be done manually by pulling the chain (lightening the weight thanks to the pulleys) or with an electrical panel that performs mechanical movements to pull the chains (ideal for very heavy loads).

Types of hoists

As you may have imagined from the previous section, there is not just one type of hoist , but several depending on the nature and operation. The best known are the following:

According to the number of pulleys

In this line we have a division of the hoists according to the operation of the pulleys. We have mobile hoists , which are the traditional ones, and it has a system of several pulleys through which the chains are dragged upwards at the same time. They are also known as simple.

On the other hand we have compound hoists , which is a lifting mechanism to move and transfer loads that has two simple pulleys that act on each other and expand the load capacity. However, although they all move in the same direction, not necessarily at the same speed.

According to your operator

This hoist rating depends on who operates the chains. Under this premise, we have the manual hoists , which have light chains, easy to hold and that require human intervention to cause the lift through the pushing force.

While on the other hand we have electric hoists, who have improved traction in recent years and therefore the use of pulleys to facilitate movement. Whose premise follows the same as the previous one, but the traction of the chains is caused by an electrical panel.

How is the hoist used?

The hoist can be used in a variety of ways, but is typically attached to a swivel arm attached to the ceiling of a surface and operated by a deck. Said board allows orders such as: the degree of elevation of the instrument, its on and off.

Faced with this scenario, to use a Hoist the first thing you need to know is the function of each button on the panel. Green is usually on, which allows a lever to move the rotating arm on the ceiling until it is located in the center.

The second button has the objective of stopping the hoist so that people can hook the chains to heavy materials and finally the button that has the objective of dragging the chains through the pulley to induce the lifting of the objects. It is worth mentioning that, although it is not found in all, it usually has a button that releases the load in an emergency.

What is the hoist used for?

The hoist, by nature, is essential to move a load with a heavy mass , unthinkable for human strength, in order to move it from one point to another. Also known as vertical or height work, which is work with ropes, cables and chains to suspend a person or object. Traditional situation of workshops, airports, ships, trucks and seaports. Here the traditional uses.

Hoist Advantages

As an auxiliary instrument to facilitate the transfer of heavy elements, it has great advantages both in operation and in operation. Let’s see the most interesting ones.

Simple to use

You don’t have to be a professional to use a hoist, just learn the function of each button and understand the mechanics behind the pulley tool.

Easy to install

The hoist can also be integrated into any location with a ceiling or surface that makes it easy to install the fixed pulley . As we mentioned earlier, a swivel arm is usually the best option.


Both the pulley and the chains are usually made of resistant materials due to the stress to which they are exposed. The chain can vary by rope or cable, depending on where it is to be used.

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

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