Our modern world is filled with large, heavy, powerful machines. We use them for recreation, construction, and demolition. While our large automobiles and cranes may seem nearly indestructible, they are still fragile and dangerous to the humans who operate them if not maintained properly. Gravity is the culprit here. The sheer weight of some of our vehicles and machines can be detrimental to their longevity and to the environment around them. But there are ways to allay these heavy concerns.
What are Jack Pads?
Jack pads go by several names: leveler blocks, stabilizing pads, and stacker blocks. These alternate names hint at their function. Jack pads are primarily used to stabilize large vehicles or rigs, such as Recreation Vehicles (RVs), motorhomes, and cranes, preventing these heavy objects from sinking into the ground or damaging whatever surface is below. These pads can be made of various materials, such as wood, plastic, and steel, but they all serve the same purpose.
Camper Jack Pads
Hitting the open road and camping with friends and family is a popular American pastime for middle class families. According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, nearly 9 million households own an RV. Any responsible RV owner has quality jack pads for his or her camper readily available. Why? Because camping terrain is categorically uneven, and often damp or brittle. Parking a heavy vehicle such as an RV without jack pads will likely do damage to the vehicle due to uneven weight distribution and sinking.
If something like an RV relies on jack pads to keep it level, then it makes sense that something even larger like a crane would benefit from something similar. Crane mats serve the same purpose as jack pads, except they are larger and almost always made of wood. Why are these mats important? Cranes are incredibly tall and heavy machines. Variables such as wind and earth tremors can result in fatal consequences. In fact, between 1997 ad 2006 there were an average of 82 crane-related fatalities annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Mobile cranes especially benefit from crane mats, since the very movement of the machine can result in tipping. Crane mats, like jack pads for campers and other large vehicles, keep the ground beneath the crane stable so that the crane remains firm and steady.
Sometimes it seems that gravity is our enemy. Indeed, when it comes to the maintenance of our vehicles and the safety of our fellow workers, weight can become a big problem. But with the proper equipment, these problems don’t have to weigh on our minds.