Heavy does NOT equal Heavy Duty

Crane Terminology is Critical

Sometimes feel like I’m channeling Miss Sanders, my 80 year old, grade school grammarian Commandant, because all too frequently, I come back to writing about words and their usage. Unfortunately, words are all we have and how we use them is critical, especially in engineering and business contracts.

My "Word Rant of the Day" involves “Heavy” and “Heavy Duty.” These words are all too often used interchangeably and that lays the foundation for confusion.

Heavy Crane

Heavy is a relative term. I’ve had customers call and talk for 20 minutes about their need for a “heavy” crane, only to find out we're talking about a half ton, hand push crane with a chain fall. Whereas my steel mill clients referred to their 20 ton cranes as "the little cranes.”

Heavy Duty Crane

Heavy Duty in not a term of weight or size, but rather a term of usage. Heavy Duty is a commentary on the number of picks per hour, the average “on-time” minutes of the motors and the percentage capacity of the loads. It’s the amount of work being performed by the crane. This is better described as Duty Cycle. 

A more accurate indication of Duty Cycle is the CMAA use of Class A, B, C, D, E and F or the HMI hoist classifications of H1, H2, H3, H4 and H5.

The Right Words at the Right Time

There’s nothing wrong with using either “Heavy” or “Heavy Duty,” but just make sure to use “Heavy” in relation to weight and “Heavy Duty” in relation to Duty Cycle.

(For some reason, I get the feeling that Miss Sanders is looking over my shoulder and snickering?!?)