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From Hiab Cranes to Spider Cranes: An A-Z of Key Cranes

Cranes are an integral feature of most construction sites, and they come in many different shapes and sizes. From the mini spider crane to the lorry loader crane, no two cranes are the same, and each and every one is fit for a unique purpose. Read on to explore the wonderful world of cranes …

What is a crane?

The crane has been a part of the construction industry since its invention in ancient Greece and is still considered an essential piece of equipment for heavy construction work and lifting tasks of all kinds. A crane can lift and lower loads well beyond the capabilities of human construction workers, and therefore can simplify tasks and make sites much safer for employees.

Various mobile cranes

An A-Z of Essential Cranes

Aerial Crane

These types of cranes look like helicopters and used to carry large loads. They’re used in instances where reaching land is difficult, often lifting loads to high rise buildings. Aerial cranes are attached to a helicopter with the lifting mechanism commonly used for lifting containers, temporary and prefabricated buildings, and timber (in the logging industry). They can lift anything in their capacity from boats and cars to pre-made swimming pools. Additionally, they may also be used for rescue purposes in a disaster.

All Terrain Crane

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.

Crawler Crane

The crawler crane, a special type of mobile crane fitted with caterpillar tracks, can be used on soft and boggy ground where wheeled vehicles would be unable to operate. This crane is generally very stable because its broad base and tracking spreads the weight over a wide area. These sturdy machines are particularly useful on construction sites during the initial phase of building projects where their ability to move heavy loads over areas of soft soil is a particular advantage.

Floating Crane

Floating cranes are used for projects in the sea, like ports or oil rigs. These cranes have an extensive history; they've been used since the Middle Ages and their advancement has only developed over time. As of today, there are several types of floating cranes as well, like the sheerleg and semi-submersible.

Hammerhead 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.

Hiab Crane

A HIAB truck or crane is a type of loader crane - it allows you to load and unload heavy objects without needing too much equipment, saving you time and money. The HIAB truck is made up of a crane mounted on a modified truck chassis, forming a vehicle that self-loads and unloads. HIAB trucks are commonly used in the construction industry to move materials - they usually don’t require special road closures when loading or delivering, making them a popular choice.

Hydraulic Crane

Hydraulic cranes are ideal for construction or transportation projects, as their versatility allows them to serve any number of lifting or transport needs. Hydraulic systems allow cranes to be lightweight and easy to operate. The constant pressure enables hydraulic cranes to lift and move a considerable amount of weight - their incrediblep power actually enables them to operate more nimbly than conventional cranes.

Mobile Crane

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 - they’re among the most common types of construction crane.

Overhead Crane

These types of cranes can also be known as suspended cranes. They are usually used at a factory, and some are able to lift very heavy loads. The hoist of the crane is set onto a trolley that can move in one direction along a beam, sometimes both beams.They move at angles to the direction across the ground or elevated level tracks. The tracks are usually mounted across the side of an assembly area.

Rough Terrain Crane

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.

Spider Crane and Mini Spider Crane

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.

Static Crane

“Static” refers to the requirement that the crane is installed in a certain place, rather than transported in by itself. This is the key difference between static cranes and mobile cranes.The term “static cranes” typically encompasses different types of crane including tower cranes that are used to construct tall buildings, self-erecting cranes which have a small footprint and are perfect for projects in the city, and telescopic cranes that are compact and frequently employed for short-term construction jobs.

Telescopic Crane

Driven by a hydraulic mechanism, a telescopic crane features a set of concentric tubular steel booms which can be easily extended and retracted to alter the operational height of the crane. When it comes to transferring the object into a high place, telescopic cranes are a great fit. Telescopic cranes are widely used by rescue services, and are able to perform tasks such as launching and retrieving boats at the waterside.

Tower Crane

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.

Lorry loader cranes and more at Macsalvors Plant Hire Ltd

If you’re looking for Plymouth crane hire, we’re here for you - 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. Contact us today to find out what we can do for you.

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