Friday, August 10, 2018

Adjusting Spring Tension on a Hatch

Performing maintenance on a hatch with a spring-assist hinge can feel like playing with a loaded gun.  The spring that helps you lift the cover when you're underneath it and trying to shove it open stores plenty of energy that needs to be handled carefully when it comes time for maintenance or repair.  Cen-Tex hatches use stainless steel springs to provide the maximum service life possible, however, the springs do wear out over time and need to be replaced.

Since tensioning a spring can lead to injuries if not done correctly, we have created a video to show the proper procedure.  A spring-assist hinge can be installed on steel hatches as large as a 48" x 48" clear opening, and on aluminum hatches as large as a 60" x 60" clear opening.  The hatch cover can weigh up to several hundred pounds.  As a result, the following safety precautions should be followed:

  • Spring tensioning should always be performed by two people.
  • EXTREME DANGER WARNING - Failure to hold hatch cover open securely prior to adjusting spring tension may result in severe bodily injury, loss of limbs, or death. Always be sure that hands, feet, and toes are clear of closing hatch covers.
  • The hatch cover must be opened and held open to approximately 90 degrees in the open position before attempting to apply tension to the spring.
  • NEVER position yourself or others so that you cannot get completely out of the way of a falling hatch cover if required to do so quickly.
  • NEVER try to catch or stop the hatch cover from closing by placing fingers on the edge of the hatch cover. Always use lift handles on hatch. (You might be strong, but you will not catch and stop--plus or minus--200 pounds accelerated by gravity with your fingertips. It will win, and take your fingertips with it.)
  • USE CAUTION around open holes and hatches. Properly restrain hatches if required.

Spring-assist hinge hatches play a vital part in the every-day operation of a vessel. For example, putting a spring-assist hinge on an escape hatch located at the top of a ladder in a crew berthing area could make THE difference for the survival of the crew by making it easier to open the hatch when seconds count. Also, a spring-assist hatch can significantly increase the ease of access to a space, especially for a hatch that is used frequently, saving time and increasing productivity.

So, with these instructions in mind, we want you to stay safe while maintaining your hatches, so they will be ready for use when you need them.

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