FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
BIGFOOT OUTRIGGER PADS
ABOUT OUTRIGGER PADS
Outrigger pads are to be used with the outrigger system or down jack on your equipment. There are a few different systems of equipment for the outriggers or down jacks:
Out & down outrigger system: This is vertical pressure from the equipment & has a rubber up method. This system is designed to widen the footprint of the equipment, getting the rubber or tires up to make sure the PSI is not addressed through the suspension of the equipment, but through the outrigger system.
The A-frame or 45-degree outrigger system: Smaller cranes or boom trucks have this style, as well as quarter mount equipment with a kicker leg being the 45-degree outrigger.
Combo of out & down with 45-degree outrigger systems on 1 unit.
Down Jacks: This system is common for the trucking & RV industry with lowering gear for the down jacks to drop a trailer or set up level.
*Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations of the equipment you are using or operating for set up.
OUTRIGGER PADS ARE A TOOL OF SAFETY
50% of crane failure includes collapse from improper use of outriggers. The outrigger pad is used to displace the point of contact pressure PSI/ PSF that the ground sees. The outrigger pad expands & displaces the point of contact from the equipment’s outrigger/ pontoon/ shoe/ float. This will decrease the PSI or PSF for the GBC (ground-bearing capacity). The GBC is the maximum PSI or PSF the ground can hold before it displaces. The point of contact on the equipment is small with exceptionally high PSI using outrigger pads to hold up & displace the PSI by expanding the point of contact to the ground.
Stability is dependent on the equipment’s footprint and center of mass. The footprint is the total area enclosed by the support structures of the equipment. The center of mass is the point at which the equipment would balance if it were set on top of a single point of support. If the center of mass is off the edge or outside the footprint, the equipment will topple.
There are two ways to provide extra stability:
- Use a counterweight to help shift the center of mass back over the footprint.
- Make the footprint bigger.
All cranes have counterweights, but there is a limit to how heavy they can get for transportation & setup. The ground can only carry a certain PSI/ PSF before it will displace or collapse. Using retractable outriggers to extend the footprint is essential for the crane’s stability. After deploying the equipment’s outrigger system, using Bigfoot outrigger pads to expand the point of contact will displace the PSI/ PSF for the GBC.
Bigfoot Construction Equipment manufacture outrigger pads for the safety of the hard working personnel around the world. Building standard/ custom/ premium outrigger pads to maximize STRENGTH/ STABILITY/ SAFETY is our business.
Bigfoot’s Custom Composite blend was formulated by Bigfoot Bill for maximum compressive load ratings. This American material has been OEM tested and approved since 1995 with zero returns. In fact, we believe so strongly in our Custom Composite that we guarantee it for life.
We put a lot of research and hard work into creating solutions that maximize the stability of your job. It’s why we created our own custom blend of lifetime guaranteed composite and use premium Baltic Birch for our wood pads.
50% of crane failures—including collapses—are caused by improper outrigger setup. Our outrigger pads have been crafted to provide a safe job site by providing the reliable stability you need.
The Bigfoot outrigger pad difference:
- Only Manufacturer of both wood & composite
- Composite in ½” increments to make the customer the best fit & size. This reduces in weight & cost for our valued customer.
- Customer service with understanding of real field experience to make sure your set up is
the right & safest for you & your team.
- Standard/ custom/ premium outrigger pads. Inventory control is part of our business, working safe with the right tool for the job is how we help you & your team work safe.
- Composite outrigger pads are guaranteed for life. Bigfoot has never had a outrigger pad returned to date, but remember: A guarantee is only as good as the person that puts their name on it. The Veterans @ Bigfoot will always stand behind our products.
The materials Bigfoot uses are the highest quality with our American custom composite or Premium Birch.
The Custom Composite is 1/7th the weight of steel with comparable PSI values to high-grade American steel. This material is exceptionally resistant to water/ electricity/ corrosion and guaranteed for life.
The Premium Birch has been used in the field for decades in the harshest conditions with exceptional results. This has a typical life span of 10 years with normal conditions & setup.
Six Points for Proper Use
1. The setup & leveling is critical on any setup or with any style of outrigger system on the equipment. As with any safety tools, outriggers and outrigger pads must be used according to their manufacturer’s instructions. About 50% of all crane lifting accidents are caused by improper use of outriggers.
2. Always follow the manufacturer’s chart on level & grade % allowable for equipment to be set up.
3. Get recent soil conditions. Getting a known ground bearing capacity (GBC) will help determine what type and size of outrigger pad will work best. In general, the softer the ground, the larger and thicker the pad that is needed.
4. Check for and know where utilities are overhead and underground. Maintain proper clearances from overhead power lines. Find out the voltage of the overhead power lines and determine the minimum approach distance for qualified and unqualified personnel.
5. Equally important is Knowing the locations of underground electrical lines, pipelines, vaults, and other voids. The force of an outrigger can damage them and may even punch into a void and cause the crane to tip.
6. Outrigger pads must not be used to bridge any gaps or span over voids. They are designed and manufactured for the purpose of distributing loadings, not to support the full force of an outrigger without having ground beneath them.
A Good Rule of Thumb – Ground-bearing capacity may not be available for every job site. In those cases, I suggest following a rule I learned from my father and have used for more than 20 years in the field. If you are working on Grade A soil, (the most solid classification), an outrigger pad should be at least three times the square surface area of the outrigger’s shoe or float. If soil conditions are less than Grade A, create a bigger footprint using outrigger pads and cribbing.
After the equipment is set up and leveled per its manufacturer’s specifications, make a dry run with just the boom. Have a spotter check that the outrigger pads aren’t shifting, sliding, or sinking into the ground. Then check to see that the equipment is still level. If there is any issue, stop, stow the boom, and add cribbing, blocking, or more outrigger pads. The support must distribute the maximum load generated on each outrigger by the pick or lift and keep the equipment level.