Schwing Factory Boom Inspections

In response to increasing customer demand, Schwing America has added another boom inspector to the staff. Chuck Witte, longtime certified boom inspector and former Schwing employee is back on the job. Witte has performed hundreds of boom inspections throughout his career. “We are grateful to have Chuck back at Schwing because experience is a great asset in boom inspections and Chuck probably has more than anyone in the business,” according to Glen Grabowski, Schwing support manager. The growth in boom inspections is the result of more machines back in service and the growing awareness of boom safety.

According to the Concrete Pump Manufacturers Association (CPMA) Safety Standards Section 27-2.1 a boom inspection falls under the “frequent inspections” category. This denotes that a qualified person conduct a boom inspection every few months, depending on the age of the boom: pumps from one to five years old should be inspected at least once a year; pumps five to ten years old should be inspected once every six months, and pumps above ten years old should be inspected every 500 operating hours.

The process consists of both visual and hands-on inspection. “We’re concerned with every structural component on the pump, from the outriggers to the boom tower to the boom itself,” according to Witte. Hours of operation and actual age of the boom are two factors Witte considers when evaluating boom health. Examinations are performed according to the Schwing standardized boom inspection checklist. Every item on the 100-point checklist is assessed during the four- to six-hour process.

The checklist begins with an exam of structural parts of the concrete pump. General items on the checklist include handrails, remote box function and the hopper grate. Witte also assesses front and rear outrigger tubes, pads, locks, pins and safety devices. The tower’s upper and lower bearings are then measured for deflection and wear by placing the boom in a vertical configuration. Witte also recommends replacing tie-down bolts every three years.

When faced with an area on the pump that cannot be evaluated with a visual inspection, Witte utilizes a mag particle process. The detection process involves the use of a colored iron powder, which is applied to the suspicious area. A high-powered magnet applied from the opposite side is used to attract the powder. Indication of a crack or other structural damage is apparent when the powder is attracted to the crack. For tighter areas where the magnet cannot be applied, inspectors utilize a dye penetrate to indicate structural deficiencies.

When the checklist is completed and trouble spots documented, Schwing certified welders and mechanics provide estimates for the repair of the defects. Digital photos of each defect communicate what requires maintenance or replacement. For more information or to schedule a boom inspection, call 1-888-SCHWING or email