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Cranes

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Cranes Overview

Cranes come in an enormous variety of sizes and forms, each one designed for a specific lifting task.

A mobile crane is designed to easily transport to a work site with little or no setup required. They are mounted on a rubber tired carrier or tracks. Whereas other types of cranes maybe assembled on the job or in the work space. A basic type of mobile crane consists of a telescopic boom mounted on a mobile platform. Also, the mobile platform maybe designed for road, rail, or water use. Whatever the platform used, the working part or crane is usually mounted on a turntable allowing swing from side to side.

Cranes operate with a cable control or hydraulic system with a telescopic boom allowing the boom to easily expand or contract to the desired distance out. Also a  crane is generally equipped with a hoist rope, chains or wire ropes, and sheaves, suspended from a boom that is used both to lift and lower materials vertically and horizontally.

The first hydraulic crane

In 1947, Hiab (a Swedish company) invented the world's first truck mounted hydraulic crane. Hiab found a way to utilize the truck's engine to power loader cranes, using hydraulics.

Size

Cranes come in a variety of sizes, from a small jib crane (used in workshops), to a massive tower crane for the construction of tall buildings. Smaller or mid-sized cranes are also used in construction to operate in smaller or tighter areas.

Then there are the floating cranes used in salvage at sea or for aiding in the building of oil rigs.

Uses

A crane is mainly used for lifting heavy things and moving or carrying them to other places. With the use of leverage and pulleys a crane can move loads far beyond the normal capability of a human. Cranes are commonly used for unloading and loading freight. Also for the placement or assembly of heavy equipment in the construction trade.    

In addition, cranes can be converted by adding a demolition ball for all types of demolition or adding a clamshell to move material. Also, a dragline and scoop can be fitted to the hoist rope to make it a very versatile earthmoving machine.

Types Of Cranes

Types:

  • Tower crane; a tower crane is fixed to a concrete slab or attached to the side of a structure for stability. These cranes are ideally suited in the construction of tall buildings as they give the best combination of lifting and height capacity over other types of cranes.
  • Tower Cranes-Self-Erecting; sometimes called jack-up, kangaroo, or self-assembly cranes. With the aid of jacks, these cranes can lift themselves up and insert the next telescoping section of the crane into place without outside help. Because of this feature they can grow with the building at it progresses upwards.
  • All terrain crane; this is a mobile crane that carries all the necessary equipment to travel at a fast clip on roads, and over rogh terrain. The all-wheel and crab steering makes this crane the choice for moving to different job sites
  • Truck Cranes; Truck cranes range in lifting capacity from about 14 tonnes to about 1,300 tonnes. Most of these cranes can rotate up to 180 degrees, although the more expensive models have the capacity to turn a full 360 degrees.
  • Telescopic handler crane; these cranes are equipped with a telescoping boom that is extendable just like a crane and are much like the forklift trucks.
  • Aerial crane; an aerial crane is sometimes referred to as a sky crane and these are usually helicopters which have been designed to lift large or heavy loads.
  • Rail crane; a rail crane is mounted on a railroad flatcar. The flatcar is equipped with flanged wheels allowing it to run on the railroad tracks.
  • Floating crane; a floating crane is designed to float on water as the name may suggest as is very useful in bridge building. These cranes are very handy in port construction and in the loading and offloading of ships in special situations
  • Rough terrain cranes; these cranes are fitted with rubber tires designed for rough terrain or off road work. The crane is mounted on the undercarriage and is also equipped with outriggers which stabilize the machine when working under load. The outriggers are used to level the machine for safer operations
  • Harbour crane; a harbour crane as the name suggests is used around harbours or waterways. They are used to load and unload freight such as containers from ships and the harbour storage area.  
  • Pick and carry crane; a pick and carry crane is designed to travel on roads just like the mobile crane. Because it has no outriggers or legs to stabilise it, is limited to a small radius when in use. The advantage with this model is that it can drive between jobs.
  • Crawler crane; a crawler crane is fixed to an undercarriage which has a set of tracks. These tracks or crawlers provide both mobility and stability.
  • Side lifter crane; these cranes are fitted to a semi-trailer or truck and are designed to lift and carry containers. The crane has parallel lifts to easily lift and place the container onto a platform or the ground
  • Carry deck crane; a carry deck crane is a small four wheeled crane with the boom placed in the centre of the machine and the cab located down one end. Furthermore, the boom is capable of a 360-degree turn
  • Crawler crane; a crawler crane is fixed to an undercarriage which has a set of tracks. These tracks or crawlers provide both mobility and stability.
  • Floating crane; a floating crane is designed to float on water as the name may suggest as is very useful in bridge building. These cranes are very handy in port construction and in the loading and offloading of ships in special situations

 

Pricing

It is beyond the scope of this article to pinpoint accurate prices for Cranes as they vary in size and age considerably, but the following are some broad examples of what you can expect to pay in Australia for the later models:

From a large Terex;

  • 2014 Terex Demag AC250, with a capacity of up to 250 tonnes at $2,000,000

Or mid-range models;

  • 2016 Stonestar 30 tonnes which is a brand new rough terrain at $299,500
  • 2016 Zoomlion, this is a brand-new truck crane with a 25tonne capacity at $205,000
  • To an afordable small Atlas Crane like Hiab priced at $3,800

*Good used cranes can be had at a discount.

In conclusion

Cranes have come a long way since the ancient Greeks invented them. In fact, these were made of wood and were the first known cranes. Furthermore, donkeys, horses, or men powered the ancient crane.

As with any type of machinery, using the right type of crane to suit the job, combined with an experienced operator is the secret to a successful conclusion.