THE OVERHEAD CRANE BUYER’S GUIDE: WHAT TO LOOK FOR BEFORE YOU MAKE YOUR PURCHASE
Overhead cranes are industrial workhorses. So, it’s important to find the right one for the tasks at hand. Today, we’re helping you identify the best overhead crane for your unique needs. Industrial cranes are a significant investment, that’s why it’s important to do your research to find the right equipment for your business and your employees.
1. Identify Your Application
Before you get started researching or shopping for your new crane, you need to identify how you will be using it and what weight capacity is required. The application has the potential to change many of the deciding factors for what crane you’ll need. In addition to identifying the application for yourself, any reputable manufacturer will need to verify your application before recommending any type of crane for your work floor.
So, start by identifying what you’re picking up (including the weight of what you’re lifting) and where the crane will be used. If your work floor has added environmental factors like extreme temperatures, dust, harmful chemicals, etc., you’ll need to disclose these to any potential crane manufacturer. Elements that might affect your crane’s specifications include:
- Humidity below 90 percent
- Altitude below 3,280 feet
- Exposure to corrosive or explosive chemicals and/or fumes
- A temperature range between 32℉ and 104℉
- A need for regular outdoor use
Protective features might be necessary if there is a high amount of dust or other floating particles in your space. Extreme temperatures can alter lubricants and damage electrical or plastic components, as well as the motor. If the temperature fluctuates, condensation could form, possibly leading to corrosion and dangerous electrical shorts. This is why these types of things should always be disclosed to your crane manufacturer.
2. Understand The Different Types Of Cranes
Having an understanding of how each type of overhead crane works, how they’re used and their various advantages will give you a better idea of what kind of crane or cranes you’ll need on your floor.
The following are some of the most popular crane options on the market today:
A bridge crane is made up of parallel runways and one or two traveling bridges spanning the entire gap. The lifting component, or hoist, then moves along the bridge(s). Unlike mobile or construction cranes, an overhead bridge crane is used in workplaces where efficiency is critical.
Both single and double girder bridge cranes offer the same strength and durability. The core differences are outlined below:
- Single Girder. This type of crane features an underhung trolley and hoist, meaning they run on the bottom flange of the bridge. A single girder bridge crane is often the less expensive option due to the single girder, reduced freight expense, quicker installation and overall simpler design. This option is typically ideal for lifting anything under 15 tons and 65 feet.
- Double Girder. The trolley and hoist of a double girder bridge crane run on a rail on top of the bridge girders. This allows for an increased lifting height. This type of bridge crane is recommended for heavier-duty applications with lift loads of more than 15 tons and that span more than 65 feet. A double girder is ideal when customization or specialized equipment are needed.
Gantry cranes are quite similar to bridge cranes. The difference lies in how the bridge, trolley and hoist are moved. Instead of moving along suspended runways, they are supported by legs which travel on rails that are embedded either in or on top of the floor or ground structure. A gantry crane is both light and extremely portable—making it an ideal solution when you have a project that requires a quick and lightweight knockdown crane.
These cranes are traditionally used below an existing bridge, or in outdoor applications where full beams and columns can’t be installed. You’ll typically see gantry cranes in steel mills, railyards, shipyards and on special construction sites. Gantry cranes are a popular choice because of their quick and easy assembly and teardown, with no permanent installation required.
There are three core types of gantry cranes available:
- Track-Mounted Gantry. This option is ideal for lifting and moving heavy loads along a fixed route.
- Adjustable Gantry. This type of crane is perfect when you need to move materials through tight spaces like doorways or aisles, and for when you need to move around, over or under obstacles.
- Portable Gantry. This last option is typically used for maintenance applications when equipment or machinery needs to be replaced or relocated.
Jib cranes do not utilize a runway or track system but instead offer a standalone or column/wall-mounted design, providing a wide variety of options for maneuvering items.
This economical, space-saving crane is perfect for moving items within a smaller radius and can typically offer 180-360° of rotation, depending on installation. Wall-mounted jib cranes usually provide about 200° of rotation, but if wall-mounted jib cranes are mounted to a column, 360° rotation can be achieved.
3. Research Manufacturers
So, you’ve landed on which type of overhead crane you’d like to purchase for your facility. The next step is deciding on a manufacturer. First, you’ll want to bring in a few overhead crane builders and have them bid on your project. This is easy to set up as you most likely have already filled out a contact form on each of their websites. A salesperson from each company should be in contact via email or phone to set something up.
During this phone call, a few things should be accomplished. You should have a firm understanding of the manufacturer and their abilities. And whether the manufacturer brings them up, or you offer the information voluntarily, the manufacturer should know the following about your company after the initial call:
- Who your company is and what you do as a business
- The different types of industries you serve
- What your current material handling capabilities are
- Current lifting or handling limitations
If the manufacturer has this information they’ll be better equipped to solve your lifting issues.
Shop Handling Concepts For Your Material Handling Solutions
At Handling Concepts, we have a wide variety of cranes for sale to fit your unique work environment. We work hard to offer only the best and highest quality material handling equipment on the market. Interested in adding an industrial crane to your facility? Contact us at [email protected] or call (800) 575-4835 for a quote. And if you have a question or simply need more information, feel free to reach out. We’re happy to help!