What Are the Different Types of Construction Cranes Used Today?

September 14, 2021

Did you know that the construction industry netted a revenue of $2 trillion in 2019?

Needless to say, with the expansion of the industry itself, there have been different types of cranes hitting the market. Nowadays, construction cranes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and functionalities.

But not all cranes are created equal. Some models are less durable and dependable than others. Construction managers can always hire hydraulic cylinder repair and similar equipment maintenance services. However, it’s advisable to invest in excellent quality cranes for construction purposes. But what type of crane is right for you?

It can be quite overwhelming to understand the distinction between one crane type and another if you're new to the industry. But, no worries. You've come to the right place.

Keep on reading for our full breakdown of the different kinds of construction cranes.

Construction Cranes 101: The Best Mobile Cranes

Let's start with the basics. There are two main types of cranes. Those are mobile and fixed cranes.

Mobile cranes are more mobile than conventional cranes since you placed them on crawlers or tires. Some mobile cranes are even capable of traveling on highways.

Mobile cranes are a desirable addition to many projects because of their capacity to move about worksites and lift huge amounts of weight. There are many kinds of mobile tower cranes, including the ones listed below.

Carry Deck Crane

Carry deck cranes are a newer kind of crane that developed from the pick and carry variant launched in the 1980s. They're compact, four-wheeled, and rotate 360 degrees. This makes them more portable than conventional cranes.

Carry deck cranes are easy to put up and maneuver around restricted and wide areas, making them a popular choice on many construction projects.

Crawler Crane

Crawlers, unlike wheeled carry deck cranes, are track vehicles. Engineers construct crawlers on an undercarriage with a pair of rubber tracks instead of wheels. The crawler has a limited turning ability. But, the tracks allow its use on soft ground and locations with limited improvement without sinking.

Some crawler cranes have a telescoping arm connected to them that enables them to alter their size. This makes them extremely adaptable to various terrains. Crawlers, unlike carrying decks, are best utilized for long-term projects. Due to their bulkiness, specific setup, and the need for movement from one location to another. Moreover, you can visit this page to find detailed guide on City Crane.

Floating Crane

These floating cranes, also known as crane vessels or crane ships. Most project managers will use them for sea constructions, such as ports or oil rigs. These cranes have a long history, having been utilized since the Middle Ages and assisting many generations of people thanks to technical advances.

There are many kinds of floating cranes available today, including sheerleg and semi-submersible cranes. The main distinction between floating cranes and other popular kinds is that they get utilized in the water.

Rough Terrain Crane

These cranes are for pick-and-carry operations off-road and in difficult terrains, as the name suggests. A rough terrain crane is similar to a crawler crane, except instead of tracks, the undercarriage has four big rubber tires with four-wheel drive.

Rugged terrain cranes are also equipped with telescoping booms and outriggers, enhancing stability and making movement much easier to handle in confined and rough locations.

Truck-mounted Crane

The carrier (truck) and the boom are truck-mounted cranes (arm) components. They can move effortlessly on the road because of their distinctive design. They do not need any special set up or transportation equipment.

Counterweights and outriggers get used to stabilizing truck-mounted cranes, enabling them to move slowly while carrying a high load. There are many different types of truck-mounted cranes; for example, specific truck-mounted cranes are used for bridge inspection, repair, and construction.

Traditional Equipment: Fixed Cranes

Fixed cranes are usually fixed in one place or spot, and the majority of them must be hauled in and erected on site.

Fixed cranes make up for their lack of mobility by lifting larger loads and reaching even higher heights. These cranes are typically installed for the length of a project.

The Bridge/Overhead Crane

Bridge cranes, also known as overhead cranes, are often used in industrial settings.

It gets its name because it looks like a bridge, with two steel beams spanning the burden and the hoist (raising mechanism) moving along the bridge portion of the crane.

Hammerhead Crane

The most frequent cranes used in building projects are hammerhead cranes. A horizontal, swiveling lever rests on a stationary tower in this crane. The trolley is held in the front portion of the arm, which is counterbalanced by the backward part of the arm.

A function known as racking is available on hammerhead cranes, which enables the trolley to move forward and back horizontally along the crane arm. These cranes are built on the worksite and may be very hefty.

Telescopic Crane

Telescopic cranes have a boom (arm) with a hydraulic cylinder that enables the crane to change length, similar to a telescope. Many telescopic cranes are placed on trucks to and from various work locations, despite being considered permanent cranes.

Telescopic cranes are extremely flexible for several circumstances, such as short-term building projects and certain rescue missions during natural disasters or other crises, due to the unique nature of its boom's ability to collapse and compact itself.

You'll want to check out getting a boom crane here if you're in the market for a good one.

Tower Crane

Tower cranes are magnificent devices with incredible lifting capabilities often employed in the construction of large structures. Tower cranes have an operational cab that controls the whole crane due to its size.

The jib of a tower crane extends horizontally from the mast (tower portion), which a concrete foundation supports.

The fixed jib has an operational dolly that transports materials horizontally, while the luffing jib may move up and down. The motor that controls the crane's rotation (a slewing unit) is at the top of the mast.

Tower cranes are constructed alongside the structure, expanding due to their size; the process gets reversed after the building is finished. Tower cranes are an important tool for constructing a large structure because of their height, capacity to carry big materials, and other characteristics.

Tips On Choosing A Crane For Your Construction Project 

When investing in a crane for your construction business, it’s important to consider the weight of the load and the lift height. The length of the lifting crane’s boom highly depends on how high the material needs to go.  

For vertical construction loading, you’ll need a crane with a longer boom. Sometimes you need to make some counterweight adjustments depending on the lift height. A tower crane is suitable for construction projects with higher lift height requirements.  

Aside from vertical loading, considering the moving distance is also crucial. The crane needs to travel a horizontal distance to pick up and lift the material to load. If you need a lift to transport the materials or equipment from one area to another, you’ll need to use a mobile crane with wheels. Using a crane with rails is highly recommended for lifting objects with a fixed movement direction.  

Ready to Pick the Right Crane for the Job?

In the midst of a project, you might be dealing with too much stress to give sufficient attention to picking the right equipment for the job.

Hopefully, our guide has shed some light on the different types of construction cranes available to you and helped you identify which one would be perfect for your needs.

If you liked our article, make sure to check out our additional tips and tricks. All of those will be available in the construction and business section.


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