What is a Rigger?

What is a Rigger?

I’m asked often “what exactly is a rigger, and what do they do?”,

The short answer I usually give is a machinery mover. However I suppose it would depend on whom you asked the question. In my personal experience a rigger is just what i said. A machinery mover. A person who typically goes to and industrial setting to install, remove, and/or dismantle all different types of machinery. As far as what they do, that will cover a lot of job disciplines. Machinery movers have to be proficient in many skills.

  • heavy equipment operator
  • light electrical
  • plumbing
  • mechanical assembly and dismantling
  • able to read and understand mechanical drawings
  • and truck driving to name a few.

They need to know how to operate heavy equipment such as…..

  • forklifts
  • tractor trailers
  • gantries
  • cranes

The forklift is a primary tool in the riggers cache. They will use the forklift to pull and push the machinery into a position. Where the machine may be picked up safely and more often than not loaded onto a waiting truck. The forklift is also used to pick the machine up allowing the rigger to place machinery dollies underneath the machine so they may be able to roll the machine out of a tight area. It would be rare to be on a job site with a rigging crew and not see one of these workhorses present.

The tractor trailer is another must have for a rigger. It is an essential for them to get all of their tools and equipment to the job site. It is also used to transport the machines that they are tasked to relocate. Additionally the rigging companies utilize this equipment to earn additional revenue by hauling other freight and backhauls. If there isn’t any available rigging jobs the trucks can still bring in the money.

Gantry systems and cranes both serve a similar task. Usually just in different environments. They both are used to vertically lift and move heavy objects. In this case heavy machines and machine parts. The gantry is primarily used in an indoor setting. This would be an area a crane would typically not have access to. Such as the interior of a building, or somewhere with over head obstructions. Gantries would be hooked up to the machine and lifted vertically and moved in a horizontal direction to a new location. They may or may not use a track/rail type of system to roll horizontally. The tracks will keep the gantry legs parallel while in motion.

The cranes that riggers deploy have many different configurations.

  • hydraulic
  • mechanical
  • electric overhead

The Rigger uses a crane for extremely heavy and awkward loads. The loads are lifted vertically and the swung in a sweeping 360 degree radius. The rigger may want to simply lift something of the ground and onto a truck, or lift something up and into place at higher elevation. Either way the crane is a very effective tool when used in conjunction with a skilled operator.

To sum this up. A rigger is a person who is a “jack of all trades” that may use a variety of tools to move industrial equipment.