How Do You Move Heavy Industrial Equipment?

Life would be much easier if you could simply back up a U-Haul truck and roll your heavy industrial equipment onto it. The fact of the matter is that most machinery and equipment weren’t originally designed with ease of moving in mind.

Adding to the challenge is that many of these machines are highly calibrated and very sensitive to vibrations and other disturbances. One small bump on the road to the end destination could cause it to require expensive and time-consuming recalibration.

The following guide will give you a good idea of how to plan and successfully move heavy industrial equipment.

Plan the Move

Make sure to plan your move as early as possible. While time constraints from upper management are typical, many businesses often underestimate how long it will take—especially if they’re handling the move internally.

To avoid potential bottlenecks, pay close attention to the following:

Schedule for sunny days—While it may seem obvious, scheduling your move during good weather can prevent costly delays and accidents.

Pick your team—Now is the time to delegate tasks, choose your team, and consider what move aspects you plan on outsourcing to a heavy industrial machinery moving company. It also pays to consider the labor force—will you need to hire and train new workers immediately, or can you cross-train existing ones?

Check layout drawings of the destination—Locate the blueprints and verify them by walking the floor and taking careful measurements to ensure their accuracy. The blueprints will be essential for safely getting the heavy machinery in or out of the building.

Create a contingency plan—No matter how unlikely the scenario, it pays to create a comprehensive contingency plan. Better safe than sorry.

Prepare layout drawings—Layout drawings of where to install the machinery in the new factory are critical. Now is the time to review the blueprints to determine the most efficient location for each machine.

Permitting—Ensure you’ve secured the necessary permits and notified the proper authorities so that transportation goes smoothly.

Determine Your Capabilities

What aspects of the move can your internal team confidently handle, and which will be better served if you outsource?

It’s best to err on the side of caution when it comes to identifying your internal capabilities accurately—it could tack on extra time if you suddenly realize you need outside help midway through the move.

Vehicle Inspection

Thoroughly inspect the vehicles and equipment you plan to use for the move. Areas to pay close attention to include:

  • Brakes
  • Lights
  • Condition of chains and ropes
  • Maintenance
  • Flags
  • Permits
  • Tires
  • Batteries
  • Tie-down points
  • Weight (of vehicle and machinery)

Preparing the Equipment

Locate the machinery manuals and contact the manufacturer. They could help you move the equipment to a new location. Secure fragile parts and communicate to your moving team about potential issues, such as minimizing vibrations. Perform an audit, document all machinery, and ensure that everything you’re moving has a dedicated location on the floor.

Loading the Equipment

Make sure the path from the machine to the transport truck is clear of debris. The machine’s center of gravity will most likely shift when loading it. Slow and steady can prevent the unthinkable from happening.

Once the machine is securely on the back of the truck, start tying it down with heavy chains. Use designated tie-down points and avoid twists or bends in the chain. Use at least four chains and ensure they’re pulled tight with no slack. Finally, make sure that the chain and hook sizes are properly matched.


Properly map out the route and have all permits and documentation handy. Try to avoid as many bridges, turns, starts, and stops as possible to ensure the best chances of a smooth move.

Manually inspect the integrity of the load after the first 50 miles and again after every 150 miles or three hours—whichever comes first. Inspect the cargo at each stop if the trip requires multiple driver changes.

Unloading the Equipment

Once the machinery has arrived at the new location, it’s time to level the unloading site and clear it of any debris or obstacles. Perform a walkthrough, review the plan, and then untie the equipment from the truck. Slowly back it down the ramp and into its final resting place.

Heavy Industrial Equipment Moving Specialists

Safely and efficiently moving heavy industrial equipment requires planning, patience, and the right tools for the job. Accidents and delays often occur when companies underestimate their ability to handle the move internally.

This is why many businesses turn to IRH for help moving oversized or overweight machinery. Our expert riggers and engineers have decades of experience transporting the seemingly impossible. We reduce the hard work and risk so your internal team can focus on other things.

Learn more about IRH Machinery Moving Services



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.

    Our site uses cookies to enhance your browsing experience. By continuing to use our site, you are agreeing to our Cookie Policy.