Different Types of Cranes

by newportcomputers on May 5, 2013

Cranes are machines that use levers and/or pulleys to lift significant weights. A crane one
passes on the road may look like a fairly modern invention, but these machines have actually
been used for at least the past 2000 years, if not longer. The Romans used cranes to build huge
monuments. Medieval churches were constructed with them. Also, the Egyptians may have used them
to create pyramids. The modern version can be either simple or complex, and cranes vary based on
their application.
A relatively simple crane is the mobile crane. A telescopic boom (arm) or steel truss mounts its
movable platform. Either pulleys or levers raise the boom. Generally a hook suspends from the
The platform of a mobile crane can either have traditional wheels, wheels designed for railroad
tracks, or a caterpillar track, which is useful for navigating unpaved and uneven surfaces.
Mobiles can be used for demolition or earthmoving by replacing the hook with an appropriate
tool, such as a wrecking ball or bucket. Telescopic cranes, with a series of hydraulic tubes fit
together to form the boom, can also be mobile.
Truck mounted and rough terrain cranes are both essentially mobile as well. The truck-mounted
crane generally has outriggers to increase its stability. Rough terrain cranes tend to have a
base that resembles the bottom of a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Outriggers also stabilize these
cranes. They tend to be used in rough terrain, as the name suggests, and are frequently used to
pick up and transport materials.
Loader cranes have hydraulic powered booms fitted onto trailers.
They load goods onto the trailer and the jointed sections of the boom are folded down when not
in use. The loader may also be considered telescopic, as one section of the boom, in some
designs, may telescope for ease of use.
Stacker cranes are most frequently seen in automated warehouses where they tend to follow an
automatic retrieval system. For example, in huge automated freezers, these cranes, equipped with
forklift apparatus, can work by remote, stacking or obtaining foods as needed. This retrieval
system makes it possible to keep workers out of the cold.
Gantry cranes are most often found in ports and railroads, where they unload and move huge
containers off of ships and trains. The bases are huge crossbeams which run on rails, so lifted
containers can be moved from one location to another. The portainer is a special type of gantry
that lifts materials on and off ships.
Floating cranes mounted on barges or pontoons are also essential to the shipping industry.
Situated in water, they are used to construct ports, salvage ships or build bridges. Like
portainers, floating cranes also can unload ships. They are able to handle very heavy loads and
awkwardly shaped containers.
Tower cranes, conversely, do not generally have a moveable base. These are often the tallest
cranes, and have to be assembled piece by piece. The base looks like a long ladder, and the boom
is perpendicular to the base. Tower cranes are used to construct tall buildings, and in the case
of skyscrapers, the tower crane is often assembled and affixed inside the building itself during
All cranes represent a meeting of simple machines, used for the purpose of reducing workload.
However simple they may seem, they are instrumental in many aspects of industry. They can dig,
move, create, or destroy, depending on their type. Cranes exemplify that sometimes the oldest
ideas are the best ones.

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