Finding the Right Crane for Your Project: Low Loader Hire and More
Updated: Nov 22
Cranes, suitable for projects both big and small, are an essential component of the construction process. With a vast selection of cranes available to hire and use, selecting the right one may seem like a daunting task. Macsalvors Plant Hire Ltd have put together this extensive guide so you can find the ideal crane for you. Read on to explore the world of construction cranes and discover the right choice for your project.
When might I need to hire a crane?
When it comes to the construction industry, cranes have limitless uses. Here’s a few ways in which they are most frequently used:
● Moving materials - cranes are often used to move heavy materials such as steel beams, concrete blocks and lumber from one location to another. They are particularly beneficial in high-rise settings, where materials will often need to be lifted to higher levels.
● Setting up structures - cranes are also used to lift and position large prefabricated sections of buildings, such as walls, roofs and floors, into place. This can save a significant amount of time and effort in comparison to more traditional building methods.
● Demolition - cranes are frequently used in the demolition of buildings and structures. They can lift and remove large sections of the structure, making the demolition process more efficient.
● Maintenance - it’s common for cranes to be used for maintenance work on buildings and structures, such as cleaning windows or repairing roofs. They can provide access to unreachable areas, as well as lifting equipment and workers to required heights.
What types of crane are available?
Before selecting a type of construction crane for your next project, you will need to learn more about the different types of cranes on offer and their individual properties. These are some of the most common types of crane you are likely to come across:
The tower crane is a form of balance crane which is commonly used on urban construction sites. This machine is anchored to the ground and provides an optimum blend of height and lifting capability which is often deployed to erect multi-storey city buildings. Two horizontal arms come from a central tower, with one used to suspend the heavy loads to be lifted, and the other fitted with heavy concrete blocks as a counter-weight. A tower crane is controlled by a driver who either sits high above in a small cabin located at the top of the tower, or else uses a remote control system to operate his machine from the ground.
Mobile cranes are typically found on vehicles, but cranes used for construction work are adapted to move on the tractor, and several cranes may be attached to barges when used for construction work on waterway bridges. They are primarily designed to easily transport to a site for use with different types of load and cargo with little or no setup or assembly, and are among the most common types of construction crane.
Hammerhead cranes are commonly used in construction projects. This crane has a horizontal, swivelling lever resting on a fixed tower. The trolley is held at the forward part of the arm and can be counterbalanced with the part of the arm, which extends backwards. Hammerhead cranes also offer a feature called racking, which allows the trolley to move forward and back horizontally along the crane arm. These cranes can be extremely heavy and are assembled on the job site.
Spider or mini cranes are clever machines designed to access restricted or limited working spaces. They feature similar elements as traditional cranes, with the exception that they are compact, and they can be used in challenging surfaces and spaces. They possess a useful ability to perform in some of the roughest terrains, including uneven surfaces and slopes. A mini spider can also perform in confined spaces and compact areas, which traditional cranes cannot achieve. This is because of their compact design, and it is one of the main reasons why these products are so popular in the construction market.
Rough terrain cranes are designed for rugged ground - they have fewer tires and high ground clearance that allow them to move on difficult surfaces without specialised equipment. You’ll also find a wider wheelbase and tires for added stability and have integrated power steering - they’re definitely not suited for regular road use.
All terrain cranes
Working on construction sites often presents challenges. From bad weather conditions to rough terrain, it’s always beneficial to be using flexible machinery that can adapt to these recurrent issues. All terrain cranes are built specifically to tackle all types of terrain - making them a great fit for locations with uneven ground and ever-changing weather. These impressive machines combine the strength of the traditional, trustworthy hydraulic truck crane with the superior mobility of the rough terrain crane, resulting in faster work.
Lorry loader cranes
A lorry loader crane is a crane mounted on a vehicle for the purpose of loading and unloading that vehicle. For example, freight may need to be placed in a location which is elevated, for example, lifting roofing tiles up to the roof. Lorry loader cranes are often fitted with grab attachments, crane hooks and lifting accessories. They’re particularly advantageous in areas with rough terrain, in which forklifts may not be able to gain access.
Key considerations when selecting a construction crane
When it comes to selecting a crane for your construction project, there are several key considerations that you will need to keep in mind:
Check the load weight to be lifted
Before choosing a construction crane for a particular project, you will need to consider the weight of the load to be lifted or moved using the crane. It’s important to remember that if you use a high-capacity crane for a small load, you will most likely end up wasting time, labour, and money. On the other hand, a low-capacity crane can lead to fatal accidents and cause damage to the load.
Be aware of the lift height
The height of the lifting load is another important factor you will need to consider. The length of the crane’s boom will depend on how high the loading material needs to go. If the construction is vertical, you will need a lift with a longer boom length. Remember that the higher the lift height, the more likely that wind will sway the load, which could lead to potential accidents. You also will need to adjust the amount of counterweight according to the lift height. A tower crane is typically the most likely option for higher lift height requirements.
Consider the on-site terrain
Cranes typically require a firm support system to hold them to the ground, in order to stabilise both the crane and the load. Therefore, you will need to choose a crane that matches the condition of the terrain. For uneven and rugged terrains, rough-terrain cranes are your best bet. For flat and firm terrains, using truck-mounted cranes is the best way to ensure mobility as well as stability. Don’t forget to check weather conditions, as rain and mud can affect how efficient your crane will be.
Evaluate access to the project site
You will need to consider whether the project site is easily accessible for the crane. If this access is challenging or restricted, you will need to get creative when selecting an appropriate crane. For example, you can use a boom truck or a crane suited for rough terrain for hard-to-reach project sites. Mini spider cranes are also effective at getting to restricted or limited working spaces.
Identify any potential safety issues
You should inspect not only the crane but also its proposed surroundings for any potential safety hazards. Take any obstacles into account, such as overhead power cables, streetlight poles, overhead catwalks and scaffolds, buildings, and tall trees, among others. These hazards can cause accidents and damage the load.
Mini spider cranes, low loader hire and more from Macsalvors (Plant Hire) Ltd
Find flexible, trustworthy, and reliable plant hire solutions for your next project in Cornwall or Devon. Whether you’re looking to hire a crane for an off-road site or searching for a lorry loader, Macsalvors Plant Hire Ltd offers a wide range of crane hire services to meet your various requirements. We have a broad array of crane models and lifting equipment available to hire, where we’ve got the solutions you need to facilitate your next project. To find out more about our services, please get in touch with us today.