Cranes Explained – What Do You Require?

For someone with little knowledge about cranes, the prospect of having to choose one from a large number of models, sizes, and shapes may be daunting. If you are looking to buy or hire cranes, this guide will best inform the next step of your operation. 

Below are pictures and descriptions of common cranes and their applications. Before looking to get a crane, be sure to understand exactly what it will be used for and that your workforce is trained to use the equipment of choice. Knowledge of the 5 main types of cranes will provide a sound basis needed to make a superior choice that is best for yourself and your company. 

Crane 1: Rough Terrain Crane

Pictured: Grove Rough Terrain Crane

Rough terrain cranes are specifically designed to do just what the name states. Engineered on a stable base, the applications of this crane are far-reaching. Set on four rugged tires, they are perfect for use on unimproved sites and confined working spaces. 

It is important to note the difference between rough terrain and all-terrain cranes, as all terrains can travel on and off-road whereas rough terrain can only be used for off-road applications. Cranes like the one pictured above are fantastic for areas with limited traction that require a stable base and an extensive reach. 

Primary Applications:

  • Roading and Civil Engineering projects
  • Construction 
  • Any rough terrain jobs that require heavy lifts

Crane 2: Loader Cranes

Pictured: HIAB X-Hipro Loader Crane

Generally mounted on trucks, loader cranes remove the need for tedious loading and unloading of equipment using other equipment. This is especially useful in remote locations that demand a piece of equipment that can do it all. The strength of a loader crane comes in its all-in-one design enabling a multitude of tasks to be completed from one operating area. 

Equipment can be attached to expand the loader cranes field of application (i.e. Rotator, Winch, Crane Fork). Most loader cranes are user friendly, enabling anyone with the correct licence to use the truck and the crane mechanism with it. 

Primary Applications:

  • Businesses that are frequently unloading goods that would normally require a forklift
  • Any job that has a use for both a crane and a truck
  • Small working areas under smaller budgets

Crane 3: Crawler Cranes

Pictured: Manitowoc Grove Hydraulic Crawler Crane

If stability and mobility is your priority for lifting larger loads then a crawler crane may be exactly what you need. Apart from the extreme loads that these can lift, the primary advantage of using a crawler crane lies in its ability to function from an extremely stable base. Mounted on tracks with 360 degrees of usability, crawler cranes are useful for applications that demand heavy loads to be moved on uneven ground. However, large machinery comes at a cost.

If purchasing one of these is out of your reach you may want to consider hiring for a month which will cost around 15,000-20,000 USD. The last but arguably most important part to consider is the transportation required to move crawler cranes. Most have to be moved in four different parts which you may want to investigate further if you have a constrained construction area. 

Primary Applications:

  • Oil and drilling sites
  • Moving any heavy building materials on construction sites
  • Heavy-duty foundation laying 

Crane 4: Telescopic Truck Mounted Cranes 

Pictured: Grove Telescopic Crane

Much like the Grove rough terrain crane, telescopic truck-mounted cranes are currently in great demand as workspaces get smaller and deadlines get tighter. The telescopic boom pictured above is what makes these cranes so transportable. Built on a standard truck, this crane can be moved over long distances with ease, making job to job trips a simple task. The hydraulic boom makes for excellent maneuverability and a quick set up. If you are looking to buy a truck-mounted crane Grove are a proven and trusted manufacturer across Australia. 

Primary Applications:

  • Smaller construction sites lifting lighter materials
  • Frequent movers, if you need to move swiftly from job to job
  • Applications with varying heights. 

Crane 5: Tower Crane

Pictured: Manitowoc MCT 85 Tower Crane

Tower cranes are one of the most well known and well-used types of crane. With a very specific use, these cranes take time to assemble. The cranes are built with three main parts: a base, mast, and slewing unit. Tower cranes are used by construction teams to lift heavy equipment high into the air that cannot be reached by other conventional cranes. 

Most types reach up to 265 ft in the air and can lift around 20 tonnes. For moving equipment to well-elevated surfaces tower cranes are the perfect solution for reducing costs and eliminating the need for manpower. 

Primary Applications

  • General high rise construction 

Crane 6: Pick and Carry

Pictured: TIDD PC28

Articulating pick and carry cranes allow for a hands-on operator approach to small to medium size lifts in confined spaces. The primary advantage for these types of cranes is the ability to load or unload materials with much less vertical clearance than a traditional straight boomed crane. Operation is simple: rotate, extend, and raise and lower as necessary. With a 2.3t lift capacity, you want to be assured that there is going to be zero chance of a rollover which could be potentially devastating for either yourself or your team. With the Slew Safe system, the operator is notified with audible alarm warnings and limited to 15% power steering when the situation gets dangerous with their positioning and load weight.

Primary Applications:

  • Civil Engineering Projects
  • General Construction
  • Mining
  • Infrastructure
  • Indoor use
  • Assembling and disassembling other large machinery (i.e. Crawler Cranes, Excavators)

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