There are dozens of different types of cranes available on the market, with everything from small and portable floor cranes to large, more industrial sized overhead cranes. Each crane, as you’d expect, comes with an array of features and advantages.
It may seem a little daunting at first trying to decide between the various cranes and what might be right for your own operation. Therefore, in the following infographic and buyers guide, we have laid out exactly what factors you must consider when buying a crane.
The importance of cranes
We see so many cranes around now that they have become something of a norm, and it’s easy to forget just how important they are to us in the modern world. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the earliest use of some form of crane dates back to Ancient Greece, around the 6th Century BC.
Cranes have, of course, developed a great deal since Ancient Greek times, and an age of innovation has led to cranes that are capable of all sorts of functions. We’re all used to seeing large tower cranes being used for construction purposes, but cranes are also used in manufacturing processes, for transportation, and in warehouses. The cranes industry is currently valued at almost $30 billion, and this figure is expected to rise to about $38 billion by 2020. So, are you looking to get yourself involved in the crane industry with your very own piece of lifting power?
Cranes have helped to build many of the structures that we see today
Factors to consider before buying a crane
Before you even start looking at the various cranes available on the market, there are a number of factors you must consider. UK based supplier Cranes Direct have created a detailed infographic guide which we have explored below.
Infographic from Cranes Direct illustrates factors to consider when buying a crane
What weights will your crane be lifting?
Firstly, what kind of lifting tasks are you going to be completing with your crane? All cranes have what is called a safe working load (SWL) and a working load limit (WLL). The WLL is the absolute maximum load that a crane can handle, and this limit should never be exceeded. The SWL, on the other hand, is the recommended limit that the crane should lift, and will be less than the WLL.
What tasks will your crane be completing?
Will your crane simply be lifting and lowering small items around a workshop? This is where floor cranes, also called workshop cranes, find a great use. However, they are limited to a lifting capacity of around 2000Kg, so perhaps you are looking for something that can lift slightly heavier loads? Lifting gantries can lift and lower up to 5000Kg of weight, while mobile lifting gantries can be moved around with handy wheels attached at the bottom.
Factors to consider while shopping for your crane
Once you have carefully considered the above factors, you can begin to shop for your crane armed with more knowledge and expertise!
Accessories for your new crane
Cranes simply provide the framework for the lifting task, and are compatible with a number of pieces of lifting equipment and accessories, and this includes things such as air hoists, electric chain hoists, and lever hoists. As with the different types of cranes, each of the different lifting gear accessories boast their own features and advantages.
Where is your crane coming from?
There are cranes on the market from big name brands, smaller manufacturers, and those that are being sold second hand. Think about whether you want a crane from a well-known manufacturer like Camlok or Gunnebo, or if you are happy going second hand.
If it is second hand, be sure to ask the right questions such as how long it has been in operation and what kind of loads it has been lifting.
There are many different cranes available on the market, including the recognisable tower cranes
Factors to consider after you have purchased your crane
Once you have settled on which shiny new crane is right for you, it’s time to get that piece of mechanical magic back to your worksite! Unfortunately, the considerations don’t stop there:
You must ensure that you keep your crane securely and safely stored at all times. This means that it’s in a place where it’s out of the way and won’t cause any potential harm to any of your employees. Alongside this, it is important that your crane is stored in conditions that are conducive to keeping it working at its optimum level. For example, away from water damage which could cause rust.
For more information and guidance on the safe storage of lifting gear and cranes, be sure to read the Materials Handling and Storage guide.
Checking and inspecting all cranes and lifting equipment regularly
It is important that you thoroughly and regularly check all of your cranes and lifting equipment. While all equipment and machinery will always be manufactured and produced to an extremely high quality, all cranes will suffer wear and tear as the years go on, particularly if they are put through regular use. The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) recommend that you check your lifting equipment at least once every six months. Following the above guides and advice will help you to find the best crane for you, and will prolong the life of your crane for as long as possible.