Safety Brake Fixes Faulty Winch System

After years of repairing the hoisting brake system of Galion/Dresser hydraulic cranes, career mechanic Reynold LeBlanc, RJ Enterprise LLC, Denham Springs, La., made a commitment to find a better solution than the complicated and expensive temporary fixes suggested by the factory. The result is a permanent fix in the Wrap Band Safety Brake.

There were a little more than 12,000 Galion/Dresser cranes made with this winch system from 1967 to 2004, according to LeBlanc. Though the cranes are no longer being manufactured, he estimates that probably at least 6,000 remain in use, as they continue to be popular machines.

Galion/Dresser hoist brakes do not hold 110 percent of the rated load capacity as required by OSHA and ANSI, according to LeBlanc, and in his experience, they never have—even when the machines tested had less than 500 hours logged and were considered relatively new.

To compensate for the inadequacy of the Galion hoist brake, the factory instructed mechanics to change brake shoes, brake drum, backing plate, lever, and springs, and/or burnish the brakes, LeBlanc said. “Either solution offers a temporary fix, if any fix at all,” he said. “And, even after making the required parts replacements, customers are still experiencing load slippage, without constant attention from the crane operators.”

The Wrap Band Safety Brake is installed over the existing brake drum, and the actuator link is attached to the Galion brake lever by drilling a 5/16-inch hole in the lever. Once in place, the safety brake acts as an auxiliary system to assist the Galion/Dresser winch brake to hold the load. It takes about 45 minutes to install, and any crane mechanic can perform the installation by following the simple step-by-step installation manual. No removal or disassembly of the factory brake is necessary.

For more information on the Wrap Band Safety Brake, watch for the May issue of Crane Hot Line or go to