Cranes are some of the most extraordinary and impressive devices ever to be invented by man, and their usage dates all the way back to the days of the Ancient Greeks; in 515 BC, Greeks were said to have used rudimentary cranes to lift heavy items while constructing temples and structures.
In the centuries that have followed, cranes have evolved in some serious ways, transforming from the relatively simple, donkey-powered, wood-made devices of those early years to towering, colossal, solid steel structures capable of reaching incredible heights.
In the modern era, construction specialists, civil engineers, and even disaster recovery professionals can call on the services of many different types of cranes to accomplish a wide variety of tasks, typically involving moving heavy items around from place to place.
Since there are so many different varieties of crane, telling them apart and knowing what each one is used for can be a challenge. Below, you’ll find brief descriptions of some of the most commonly-used cranes.
Also sometimes referred to as an overhead crane, a bridge crane is a fixed crane, often used in industrial settings, famed for its efficiency, strength, and stability. The name of the bridge crane comes from the fact that it looks a lot like a bridge, with powerful hoists running from one side to the other.
Also known as a truck-mounted crane, this type of crane looks a lot like a regular truck on the outside and functions a lot like one too, allowing it to drive right on the highway and get around from site to site with speed, ease, and convenience. They’re one of the most mobile types of crane you can find.
Carry Deck Crane
Used for loading and moving materials around workplaces, carry deck cranes are renowned for their versatility and maneuverability. They were developed in the 1980s and are a relatively small kind of crane, able to rotate fully 360 degrees, giving them more movement options than many other crane types.
Bulk Handling Crane
The bulk handling crane is known for its ability to transport huge and heavy items or materials in vast quantities. They feature specialized hooks with grabbers and buckets for collecting things like coal or scrap metal and lifting them around.
As the name implies, the floating crane is able to float on water. This gives it a huge advantage for use on water-based projects and worksites, like at ports or out on oil rigs. They’re also referred to as crane ships and are some of the most historic cranes of all, being used as far back as the Middle Ages.
Crawler cranes have tracks, rather than wheels, which makes them well suited to rugged patches of terrain and worksites that involve muddy or uneven ground. They’re less maneuverable than other crane types, but more durable once in place, and they’re often used on long-term projects as they can require a lot of time and effort to set up.
Rough Terrain Crane
As the name suggests, a rough terrain crane is designed with tricky ground conditions in mind, ready to roll through mud and navigate uneven surfaces with ease, thanks to its 4-wheel drive and massive, rubber tires. These types of cranes are usually fitted with outriggers to enhance their mobility and stability even further, giving them a lot of advantages in common construction conditions.
One of the most commonly used types of crane for construction work, the hammerhead crane is so-called due to its hammer-like shape. This type of crane is renowned for its racking potential, being able to move its trolley back and forth along the arm of the crane, which is suspended atop a fixed tower.
Stacker cranes are usually spotted in warehouse environments and work in a similar way to forklifts, being able to move cargo and items around from section to section in a warehouse. They’re often utilized in places with quite extreme conditions, like very low temperatures that would be hazardous to human health.
One of the most visually impressive cranes of all and one of the most commonly-spotted cranes in cities and around new housing developments and construction projects, these huge machines stand at incredible heights, able to lift heavy items far into the air.
As you can see, cranes can be classified into a range of different types, and each one has its uses, benefits, and features. Knowing more about the varieties of the crane can help you select the right device for every project.