How To Choose The Right Crane For Your Application

Choosing the right crane for a particular job can be confusing. To start, ask yourself the six questions below. Then select from the options on the rest of the page to determine what crane types might work best for your application.

6 Things To Ask When Deciding On A Crane Type

1. What problem does this crane need to solve?

This is the first and most important question to ask when deciding on the type of crane you need. As the old saying goes, "if you've only got a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."

2. What are you lifting?

There are different types of cranes for different types of loads. Answering this question can help narrow down the options to find the best crane for the job.

3. Where do you have to move it?

Up and down? Across a factory floor? Inside to outside? You'll need to know where your crane needs to go before you can begin to answer what crane you need. 

4. How high do you have to lift it?

One of the easiest ways to narrow down your choices for crane applications. 

5. How often are the lifts performed?

This can help determine the technical specifications, as well as potential maintenance and upkeep programs, depending on usage and wear & tear a crane may undergo.

6. What is the work environment like?

There's no use selecting a crane that just doesn't fit in your work environment. Understanding the limitations of your application can help define the type of crane needed.

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Some common use cases and the crane types that best suit them.

I need to maximize usable height with limited headroom.

Under running cranes are good in these situations, as long as you can use the building structure to secure the crane. They are usually found in lighter duty applications. Add a second girder to increase lift and span.

I need to minimize cost for a general purpose application.

For standard spans and runways and lifts of 10 tonnes or less, a pre-engineered modular crane, assembled from off-the-shelf parts, is the most economical option. 

I need to maximize safety and reliability for a critical task.

If you need a crane to perform a demanding task and you can't afford to have it fail, you probably need a custom-engineered process crane. These cranes are higher in capacity, duty cycle, speed and precision.

I need a crane that can withstand a harsh working environment.

This is another application where you'll need a process crane. Cranes that must withstand chemically active, high humidity environments and extreme temperatures will most likely need to be custom engineered. 

I need to in semi-circular or circular area.

This is a great application for a jib crane, which is attached to a mast that is mounted to a wall, column or the floor and can rotate 180° to 360°. They're simple and compact in design, but can lift up to 15 tonnes in some applications.

I need a crane that fits in a small work cell.

Say hello to the jib crane, a simple and compact crane that is perfect for tight spots but can lift up to 15 tonnes in some applications. A workstation crane is another option. It's designed to move or lift loads ergonomically in a smaller, rectangular work area.

I need a crane that offers manueverability and precision.

An articulating jib crane has two arms that both rotate, so it can reach around corners and into and under machinery and containers. An adjustable gantry crane can move material through aisles, doorways and where there are obstacles.

I need to maximize hook height.

A top running crane, which is the most common overhead crane, maximizes lift height. These cranes are built into the building's structure. A double girder design can lift up to 400 tonnes and span more than 65 ft.

I need to maximize capabilities and cost.

You can add custom engineering and upgrade parts on an economical modular crane to minimize maintenance and wear and increase value over time. Custom engineering allows the purchase to remain cost effective while meeting some special requirements.

I need to perform constant, high capacity lifts.

A process crane is a heavy duty special application overhead crane designed for the most demanding industrial environments. You'll find them in steel mills, smelters, nuclear facilities, pulp and paper mills, cement manufacturers, aerospace and more.

I need to increase worker productivity.

A jib crane is an effective way to maximize efficiency and productivity in performing repetitive or unique lifting tasks. They're compact, can move in a circular or semi-circular manner and, for all their compact size, are little powerhouses. Workstation cranes are another cost-effective pre-engineered crane solution designed to assist workers to ergonomically move or lift loads in a rectangular work area.

I need something for an outdoor application.

For outdoor applications that require portability or heavy-duty lifting, a full gantry crane may be your best bet. You can also use a freestanding jib crane outdoors. These compact, permanent cranes offer up to 360° rotation and can lift up to 15 tonnes.

I need to install a crane under an existing one.

A semi-gantry crane, with a lift capacity of up to 20 tonnes, can be installed below an existing bridge crane. Another option is a compact freestanding jib crane (up to 15 tonnes) or wall-mounted jib (up to 5 tonnes).

I need to move materials over a long distance.

If you need to repetitively move materials from point A to point B over long distances, a monorail crane may be best. It uses a trolley to carry the hoist along a single, stationary beam that can be curved, branched and change elevation.

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