Nowhere is the technical and operational specialisation of construction machinery as focused as it is in the crane and lifting industry. Capacity, outreach, access, ground bearing and job duration all have an impact on the type of crane need on each site.Read More
Nowhere is the technical and operational specialisation of construction machinery as focused as it is in the crane and lifting industry. Capacity, outreach, access, ground bearing and job duration all have an impact on the type of crane need on each site.
Many jobs are short duration and so the mobile crane is usually the most suitable and cost-effective option provided the load is manageable (say 500 tonnes or below). When the loads get really big and the timescale stretches to months, as it does in civil engineering jobs, then crawler cranes which can have lifting capacities running to 3,000 tonnes, come into their own.
In between the two comes the tower crane which is ideally suited to lifting relatively light loads (up to about 30 tonnes) on long duration jobs. Tower cranes are used on many construction jobs from railway station refurbishment to building blocks of flats and skyscrapers. The key ingredient of a tower is its outreach which can run to more than 80 metres and as the tower can be secured to the building itself, there is no real limit on how high a tower crane can go.Overview
Self erecting tower cranes, which are usually operated by remote control from ground level, have started to make their mark at the small end of the market. As they are often based on a semi-trailer chassis and therefore can be moved relatively easily around a site, self erectors are becoming popular with housebuilders.
Names in the crane market include: Terex, Link-Belt, Grove, Tadano, Comedil, Liebherr, Manitowoc, Potain, Grove, Comansa, Sany, Demag, American, Kobelco, Spierings, Valla, Sennebogen and IHI.
When choosing a crane, it is important to consider not only the various technical capacities that it offers, including things such as maximum load limits and outreach, but also the mobility of the unit in question. Different tasks and time-scales for deployment will impact your choice just as much as the specifications of an individual crane. And so it is important to understand what type of options are open to you in this marketplace, as well as how and where a crane will be required in your operations, before you make your decision.
Mobile cranes which are mounted on wheels are available to accommodate a range of requirements, lifting loads from as little as 10 tonnes. And as befits a vehicle that will need to cope with conditions that are common across construction sites, most will be capable all-terrain performers in spite of not featuring tracks. This means 4x4 or even 6x6 power to ensure excellent traction even on slippery inclines.
Crawler cranes are less mobile than other models but offer a lot in the way of capacity improvements, outreach and all-terrain abilities. Shouldering loads ranging from 40 tonnes to over 3000, these models require minimal set-up and can move around a site with relative ease. Stability is another innate benefit of crawler cranes because their large footprint and robust stance make them easy to deploy without requiring outriggers or other separate stabilisers. But for long-distance transport they will be a less appealing prospect because of the cost and time involved in achieving this. Of course, for longer-term jobs this will not be as problematic and thus make crawler cranes a suitable investment, as long as any used models which are in the running have been given a thorough assessment to ensure they are in a saleable condition.
A range of additional considerations should guide your choice of crane, including the speed at which it can operate. Quicker duty cycles mean loads can be lifted and moved in less time, but for greater accuracy you may need a slower and more precise piece of machinery; it is really down to the individual to determine which will best fit their requirements. The same applies to the structure of the crane and the integrity of the materials in use, since industry regulations will dictate the regularity of mandated inspections, and any obvious issues will need to be dealt with if the crane is to pass muster.