Different Types of Crane Used in Construction
A construction site is incomplete without a crane. With the requirement for highrise buildings and complex structures on the rise, it’s now common to see a variety of types of cranes on construction sites, serving a variety of purposes. This article will take a brief tour of construction cranes.
Cranes make the construction process much simpler, more economical, and less accident-prone, by reducing the use of labor to manually carry large and heavy objects to heights or between places. Modern-day construction projects deploy different types of cranes to raise or lower big objects or shift them from one location to another for different terrain conditions. But whatever may be their types and use, all cranes come with pulleys and cables that come in handy for transporting objects.
Cranes are often assembled on site, either erected on the ground or fitted on a specially designed vehicle. They may be managed remotely or by a trained crane operator cum driver of the vehicle, who drives the vehicle to the location, positions it properly, operate the crane, taking all safety precautions to avert accidents.
Different types of cranes used in construction
While the type, features, and capacity of a crane depend solely on its application, the factors that influence the design of a crane include mobility, weight & dimensions, setup time, lifting capacity, lifting range, lifting angle, operating radius, and night working capabilities.
There are two most basic categories of cranes used in construction as well as in other industries. They are:
- Mobile cranes
- Fixed cranes
Each category has many different types of cranes, suitable for different types of applications.
What exactly are mobile cranes?
Mobile cranes are cranes that may be transported by crawlers or wheels. Some mobile cranes are so small and light that they may be driven on highways. Because of their versatility and ability to travel freely around building sites while carrying a substantial amount of weight, mobile cranes are an exceptionally popular piece of equipment to have on hand for a wide range of tasks.
Mobile crane types
There are various types of mobile cranes, each of which is optimized for a specific type of job. The following types of mobile cranes are generally used in construction sites:
The crawler crane is mounted atop a huge heavy vehicle with treads similar to those used by tanks. These treads allow them to move through the soft, rocky, or swampy ground, which heavier trucks with wheels would likely become stuck in. They are typically employed at the start of building projects when the earth is freshly torn up. Because of their great size, they have a robust hydraulic system and a massive lifting arm. They can lift the biggest loads of any mobile construction crane.
Rough Terrain Crane
Rough terrain cranes, often known as “RT” cranes, are a type of mobile crane that is specifically intended for “off-roading” in difficult settings such as mud, snow, and so on.
Rough terrain cranes have four tires and a telescoping boom for pick and carry activities weighing up to 165 tonnes. They are ideal for maneuvering and lifting in limited spaces because of their tiny design. RT cranes are frequently used in situations where a crawler crane may be used but a lower load capacity or navigation through limited locations is required.
RT cranes are readily set up and carried from site to site because they are mounted on an undercarriage with tires, but they are not road legal. These cranes are controlled by a cab that swivels over the undercarriage in parallel with the movement of the boom. Their on-site assembly needs include using outriggers to stabilise the crane for hoisting.
All Terrain Cranes
An all-terrain crane is a type of mobile truck crane that can move on both the road (at highway speeds) and most off-road surfaces. These cranes, like large trucks, have anywhere from 4 to 18 tires, depending on the size of the crane.
To lift and transfer cargo, a telescopic boom installed on the truck bed is employed. With a capacity of up to 1200 tonnes, all-terrain cranes can lift far more than rough terrain cranes but are less adept at traversing in severe situations or restricted spaces.
All-terrain cranes are controlled by a cab that swivels over the truck bed in unison with the boom’s movement. The crane requires some on-site installation because it is stabilised by outriggers and balanced by counterweights.
Vehicle mounted crane
Vehicle-mounted cranes are also called Truck cranes, Boom trucks, or Truck mounted cranes. These cranes provide a high level of versatility at a reasonable cost. These vehicles do not require hauling to and from job sites and are safe to drive on public roads. This makes them excellent for construction organizations with various projects that do not require heavy lifting.
As long as the ground is not freshly dug or swampy, it can also be utilised to effortlessly transfer objects from one location to another on the construction site. When the outriggers are deployed correctly, they can lift up to 110 tonnes.
Carry Deck Crane
These are the smallest types of construction cranes. They’re designed simply, with a crane installed on a four-wheel deck.
Carry deck cranes are typically used to carry objects from one section of a construction site to another. They can only manage up to 25 tonnes of weight, which they put onto their deck and transport away.
What are fixed cranes?
Fixed cranes, as the name implies, are anchored to the ground and provide the optimum combination of lifting and height capability. Fixed cranes, although, do not offer the advantage of mobility like mobile cranes, but provide the ability to lift higher loads and reach greater heights due to their superior stability.
Types of fixed cranes
There are many types of fixed cranes used in construction sites. The commonly found fixed-type cranes are:
- Tower cranes
- Bulk Handling cranes
- Luffing Jib cranes
- Self Erecting cranes
- Level luffing cranes
Tower cranes are composed of the tower, or mast, and the jib, which is an arm that extends from the mast. The jib can rotate 360° around the mast, thanks to a trolley that runs up and down the length of the jib, allowing the block hook to be lowered to the proper spot.
Tower cranes are the most commonly used type of crane for building huge structures over time. They’re frequently seen in cities where space is scarce and the public is never far away. Their solidity adds an added degree of security for people working at the site as well as those outside the barrier.
Tower cranes typically work at heights ranging from 230 to 265 feet, with larger tower cranes capable of lifting up to 20 tonnes. These massive cranes are anchored onto concrete foundations designed specifically for the purpose.
They are strong and can carry heavy weights quite high if necessary, however, they are restricted to a single location. While they can extend and rotate, their range of motion is limited.
What are the different types of Tower cranes?
There are three primary types of tower cranes, including:
- Hammerhead cranes
- Luffing tower cranes
- Self-erecting tower cranes
Hammerhead cranes are shaped like an inverted L, with the jib remaining stationary. Typically, the jib can revolve but not be raised or lowered. This kind is commonly found on loading docks where multiple cranes may be working at different levels at the same time. They are also employed where space is limited, for as inside a structure or on very tight construction sites.
Luffing Jib cranes
The luffing jib tower crane is structurally identical to the hammerhead, but there is one important difference. On luffing jib construction cranes, the jib can be raised and lowered. This design provides them with greater flexibility while also allowing them to lift higher weights.
The luffing crane is more expensive than the hammerhead crane, but it is more efficient due to its narrower rotation radius, allowing it to be employed in more constrained building sites. It can also be employed in situations where numerous cranes are in use at the same time.
Self-erecting cranes are the lightest members of the fixed crane family. They are made to be simply assembled and disassembled.
Self-erecting cranes are perfect for working in cramped quarters or on short-term building projects. Their main disadvantage is that they cannot raise as much weight as other types of tower cranes.
Bulk Handling Cranes
Bulk-handling cranes are similar to standard cranes in that they use a two-piece hinged bucket, known as a clamshell grab or clamshell bucket, to lift bulk cargoes such as coal or mineral ore instead of a standard hook.
Stacker cranes are used for automated storage and retrieval, as the name implies. They conduct three movements: lengthy travel, lifting, and packing. A stacker crane is made up of a lifting device, an elevator, and a handling device with an “electromechanical system.” Stacker cranes travel along aisles that are outfitted with guide rails, electrical power, data transmission, and control systems.
Final words: Points to consider for having the appropriate crane
Before choosing a crane, consider the topography of the project site, the size of the project area, the climate, and the volume of materials. You should also evaluate how long the project will last, as some cranes, such as the crawler crane, are more suited to projects that will last for a longer time compared to other types of mobile cranes. When you have all of the project parameters, you will be able to identify the type of crane that will be needed to complete a successful construction project.