Different Types of Rigging Equipment

Choosing the right rigging equipment is imperative when moving heavy objects and machinery. Using the wrong tools for the job means you run the very real risk of damaging whatever you’re moving. Even more critical is knowing exactly how to use rigging equipment correctly. 

If you’ve ever wondered, What are the three types of rigging?” or “What are the two types of rigging?” you might be surprised to learn just how many different types of rigging equipment exist. Read on to learn more about the different types of rigging equipment that allow for the safe movement of heavy equipment and machinery. 

What is Rigging Equipment? 

The term “rigging equipment” is often utilized as a catchall phrase to describe the various tools used to push, pull, lift, and hoist heavy machinery and equipment. This is why many companies and organizations turn to professional riggers with the experience and know-how to correctly and safely get the job done.  

A “rigger” is a highly trained professional who knows how to safely use rigging equipment to move heavy equipment or machinery. In fact, OSHA requires qualified riggers to be present before objects are hoisted in the air.  

Rigging Equipment Types 

When moving heavy machinery, you must first consider what rigging equipment to use. Not only will riggers need to select the right equipment for the job, but they will also need to know how to use it expertly. The following are different types of rigging equipment you might encounter on a moving job: 

Air Bag System 

Also referred to as “skates,” a rigging airbag system is an ideal choice for moving vibration-sensitive equipment, such as injection mold machines, fragile medical equipment, and stamping presses, to name just a few. Airbag systems have a low frictional force of 1-2 lbs of pushing force per 1,000 lbs of load. 


Riggers sometimes use a gantry to lower and lift equipment or machinery into a pit. In certain situations, you can place a gantry on a set of rails to move a load down a track.  

Side Slides 

The power industry frequently uses side slides to move generators, turbines, and other heavy equipment. The system comprises hydraulic push/pull cylinders that move skid shoes along a high-strength track. 

Blocks and Pulleys 

Pulleys and blocks allow for the moving and lifting of heavy equipment.  

Pulleys come in a wide range of sizes and types, such as rope, frame, and sheave size. Riggers may utilize a synthetic rope with pulleys and wire rope with lifting blocks—as lifting blocks can move much heavier loads than pulleys. 

Lifting Sling 

Lifting slings will often use synthetic material slings in conjunction with wire ropes to move heavy machinery.  

The two types of slings are eye-and-eye and endless. The eye-and-eye slings have twisted, flat, or triangular ends constructed out of synthetic material or metal, and endless slings consist of a simple looped synthetic material. Slings add additional strength and allow riggers to balance the equipment that they’re moving. 

Eye Bolts 

Some rigging configurations require eye bolts to act as anchor points. There are many different types and sizes of eye bolts for varying sizes and types of loads.  

The two most common types are shoulder eye bolts and straight eye bolts. The former is ideal for angular connections, while the latter is best for straight-line applications. 


A shackle allows riggers to quickly disconnect or connect varying types of rigging equipment together. They are suitable for loads that weigh between 6,000 and 11,000 lbs and range in size from 3/16” to 2-½”. Anchor and chain are the two main shackle categories, and each can include round pin, safety, and screw pin types.  

Rigging Hooks 

Riggers will often use rigging hooks to assist in moving heavy equipment. Constructed from steel, rigging hooks help eliminate slippage risks. Rigging hooks are categorized by the hook opening size, ranging from ⅝” to 1-17/32”. Different types of rigging hooks include choker, eye, sorting, and clevis grab. 

When to Call a Professional Rigging Company 

Hiring a professional rigging company allows your business or organization to ensure the job gets done safely. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing that you comply with OSHA regulations. There are several situations where riggers offer an advantage: 

  • Moving extremely heavy objects 
  • When your in-house maintenance crew doesn’t have the right tools or experience 
  • Moving sensitive medical or scientific equipment 
  • Moving odd-sized or large objects 
  • Moving an entire manufacturing plant  

At IRH, we specialize in undertaking projects that may initially seem too big, complicated, or logistically challenging. Our highly experienced engineers, riggers, and project managers have allowed us to become one of the most trusted names in the industry. Contact us below to learn more.  



Our goal at IRH is to use our expertise to handle the jobs that are too challenging and too big for others to accomplish.

Whether your project is big, really big, or you just need the best in the business, IRH is ready to help.

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