Lift planning and rigging software has been available commercially to customers since 1995. Some of the available packages provide crane planning but not rigging planning, or planning for rigging only. Some software is offered as modules that do not permit sharing of work from one module to another. Some of the packages emphasize ease of use and the ability to put the package to use immediately without training or little effort toward software mastery. Most of the packages for rigging or crane planning have websites that show samples of their diagrams. Make sure that the output diagrams are consistent with your company level of professionalism. Try to evaluate if the software allows customization - entry of a spreader bar is one example.
Some software packages allow the user to import a vendor diagram of a payload to be lifted. Likewise, a client could offer a plot plan of the industrial lift site for your use. Many plot plans have been verified for accuracy and will save hours of site measurements that will need to be conducted otherwise. The candidate crane may be "inserted" directly into these plot plans and configured within minutes. Laydown studies for boom assembly, maneuvering of platform trailers with vessels, setup of multiple crane lifts, etc. might all be conducted efficiently.
When the lifts become a little more complex, users can consider a "slideshow" style of presentation where images of key steps in the lift are shown in sequence. When you want to "pull out all the stops," the ultimate presentation tool is a lift movie that shows an animation of a lift. (See video) This tool is indispensible for critical lifts as it communicates visually what a thick pile of drawings might be unable to do. When a lift team is shown a movie before conducting a lift there will not be any head scratching or befuddled looks by the crew as to what comes next - crews have said it was "like we were doing the lift for the second time."
For more on lift planning videos, visit www.liftplanner.net