Types of Cranes Used in Construction


11 July, 2018

Types of Cranes used in Construction

There are various types of cranes used for different purposes. Cranes can be used in construction or rescue processes to lift or lower objects and move them horizontally. They are equipped with pulleys and cables that are useful when it comes to moving objects around. Cranes have many uses but are most common in the construction industry as well as in the manufacturing industry where there is heavy equipment. The types of cranes used in construction are usually temporary structures which are either mounted on a custom-built vehicle or fixed to the ground. Once put in place, the cranes can be controlled through radio controls or controlled by a professional operator in the cab that moves along with the crane. Just like with all the items in construction, the operator of the crane has the responsibility to ensure the safety of the construction site, the working crane and the rigging crew.

Popular Types of Cranes used in Construction

Cranes come with varying capabilities and features which determine their use. The features include the lifting capacity, lifting range, lift angle, the working radius, mobility, weight & dimensions, setup time and night working capabilities. All these features will determine the type of crane that will be needed for the construction industry and also determine if the crane needs to be hired or purchased. With these features in mind, you can easily determine the type of crane needed for a specified construction work.

Here are some of the most popular types of lifting cranes used in construction today.

Mobile Cranes

Mobile Cranes are the most standard and versatile type of crane used in construction today. This is the most basic type of crane and consists of a steel truss or telescopic boom mounted on a mobile platform, which could be a rail, wheeled, or even on a cat truck. The boom is hinged at the bottom and can be either raised or lowered by cables or hydraulic cylinders. There are plenty of lifting operations where the use of a tower crane would not be practical. Operations like indoor lifts or statue lifting cannot be engineered using static tower cranes. The best solution is, therefore, to use the mobile crane. These cranes are faster to set up and are also flexible and able to access areas where the static crane can’t reach. These cranes also do not need a lot of space and are also cost-efficient since they are cheaper than the other major types of cranes.

Types of mobile cranes:

  • Vehicle Mounted Cranes
  • These types of cranes usually have one engine which is used for both the crane and undercarriage. These cranes are mounted on rubber tires trucks which offer great mobility. There are outriggers which are used in stabilizing the truck by expanding it either vertically or horizontally and level the crane when it is hoisting a load of materials. The capacity of these cranes rarely exceed 50 ton capacity. The main advantage of the vehicle-mounted cranes is that they can travel on the highways without the help of a special vehicle, making them easy to use and less expensive. These cranes also have the capability to be rotated 180 degrees, though some can rotate to 360 degrees. The ones that rotate 360 degrees are obviously more expensive.

  • Rough Terrain Cranes
  • A rough terrain crane is a crane that is mounted on an undercarriage with four rubber tires, designed for off-road operations where a normal vehicle mounted crane is not suitable. The outriggers extend vertically and horizontally to level and stabilize the crane when hoisting. These types of cranes are single engine machines where the same engine is used for powering the undercarriage as it is for powering the crane. These cranes are ideal for constructions sites that have uneven, dirt and rocky terrain. The mobility and ability of the crane to travel around the site make it an effect support crane for lighter hoists on highway, construction and infrastructure projects.

  • All Terrain Cranes
  • It is also a mobile which can move at the same peed on paved roads as well as in rough terrains, therefore can be used in of both applications. It has more number of wheels than a normal vehicle and they balance the vehicle without overturning in rough terrains.

  • Crawler Cranes
  • Crawler cranes have the crane mounted on a caterpillar track. This gives the crane supreme mobility and stability. Crawler cranes are capable of handling very heavy loads, they are mobile, and also require little setup because they are solid and do not need outriggers. A crawler track also makes work on unprepared job sites easy. In places where the ground is soft, the wide base of a crawler crane helps to distribute weight through a wider area, hence preventing the crawler crane from sinking amidst a lift. The major drawback of this machine is that it is expensive and difficult to move from one site to another. However, this type of crane can still be moved with the help of trucks therefore reducing the cost of transportation.

  • Railroad Cranes
  • Railroad cranes are used for construction of railway lines and repairing and maintenance of railroad. These have flanged wheels at its bottom which can be moved in rail track only.

  • Aerial Cranes
  • These are also called sky cranes. They look like a helicopter and are used when the target is difficult to reach by land or to lift loads to high rise buildings. Cables are used to lift and carry large loads.

    Tower Cranes

    A tower crane is a modern make of the balance crane most commonly used on urban construction sites. When this crane is fixed to the ground during the construction period, it offers the best combination of lifting capacity and height. These cranes are fixed using strong concrete base and anchored by large bolts which can be removed easily after construction. They are used mostly in the construction of tall, multi-story buildings. It is important to note that when the tower crane constructs past a certain height, it would be important to have it connected to the building being constructed. This helps prevent the crane from swaying or tipping.

    The best thing about tower cranes is that they surpass the lifting and loading capacity of all other kinds of cranes. Their height capacity too cannot be matched the other cranes. Tower cranes are incredibly stable and are able to endure tough tasks. The downside is that they are very expensive and need a lot of effort and time to be moved from one point to another. The maintenance costs for repairs and depreciation are also high. Despite being costly, industrial constructors can still achieve their goals with these machines by hiring to avoid the high expenses.

    TC - Types of Cranes Used in Construction

    Telescopic Crane

    These types of cranes comprise large booms which are fitted with tubes from the inside. A telescopic crane increases its height using the tubes by a hydraulic mechanism. This crane is majorly used in transporting goods from one point to another. However, the telescopic crane is best at transferring objects to higher points. This is because the crane has the ability to adjust its height. These cranes can also be used in rescue operations.

    Overhead Crane

    An overhead crane is also referred to as a suspended crane.They are commonly used in factories, with some being able to lift extremely heavy loads. Bigger overhead cranes are also called goliath cranes and can be used in shipyards and in large outdoor manufacturing plants. This type of crane has its hoist set on a trolley that moves in one direction along a beam or two. The beams move at angles to the direction of the trolley along raised or ground level tracks which are often mounted along the sides of an assembly area.

    Loader Crane

    Also know as a folding boom crane, a loader crane is a hydraulically powered articulated arm fitted to a trailer, used to load equipment onto a trailer. The numerous sections can be folded into a small space when the crane isn’t in use. The crane can be easily transported because of its capabilities to be folded. The capacity of these cranes have increased dramatically over the years. Presently there are 200 ton capacity loader folding boom cranes on the market today.

    Floating Crane

    Floating cranes are also called crane ship, crane vessel or floating crane and are required for bridge construction or port construction. They are also used to load and unload ships and have a lifting capacity of up to 9000 tons.