Shannahan Crane & Hoist

The Different Types of Lifting Devices Explained

Are you looking to boost manufacturing efficiency in your facility? It might be time to upgrade your current overhead lifting devices.

If you still have team members manually having to lift or move large, heavy materials, not only are they at risk of overuse and injury, but your production slows way down. Both of these scenarios cost money and can be negated with proper lifting equipment.

Wondering what overhead lifting devices are available to install in your facility? Looking for easy, turnkey ways to automate your workflow?

Keep reading to discover the most common types of lifting device you are likely to encounter, and which is going to be best for your company’s needs.


Chain Hoists are a commonly used lifting system inside manufacturing and warehousing facilities. They are often small making it simple to lift awkward-shaped objects or those too heavy for hand-lifting.

Wire Rope Hoists are also commonly used and typically designed to handle larger and more frequent loads

They can be powered by air, electricity, or manually. They use a durable hook and chain or wire rope to lift objects. Hoists can be attached to a fixed ceiling point, on a single monorail beam, or a bridge crane.

Hoists are vital to workplace efficiency. Whether you need a simple, off-the-shelf design, or a custom-made solution, Shannahan Crane & Hoist has been the one of top hoist designers in the Midwest for over 60 years.

Bridge Cranes

Bridge cranes, or overhead cranes, operate on parallel runways or beams. In the middle is a bridge that moves about along the length of the runway.

Depending on your application, bridge cranes and runways can be designed to suspend from your existing structure (Underhung) or installed on a floor-mounted freestanding structure (Top running) The specific design of the crane system depends on considering several variables such as existing structure, clear height, span, capacity, etc. 

Manufacturing facilities use bridge cranes as part of the workflow to ensure smooth, efficient travel of materials. They use them to move loaded pallets of products or materials. Steel factories or paper mills use overhead cranes during the entire process of production, moving materials from one station to the next on a fixed path.

We can design a unique, custom bridge crane from start to finish for any type of facility, offering a turnkey install and repairs during your crane’s entire lifespan.

Jib Cranes

Jib cranes are horizontal crane arms, called booms, attached to a fixed, vertical pillar. Jibs can either be fastened to the floor or the wall, making them ideal in manufacturing facilities. Rotation can be manual or motorized depending on the application

They are installed in work station areas where they can perform specialized, repetitive lifting tasks, streamlining a production line.

Booms can be designed to rotate a full 360 degrees around the pillar with the addition of a bottom or top entry collector ring assembly. Typical jib cranes are 5 ton and under with span and under boom height up to 20′-0″ however you can find booms up to 30 feet in length and height capable of lifting to 30,000 pounds.

Gantry Cranes

Gantry cranes are very adaptive cranes suited for the largest outdoor jobs or small indoor jobs. The gantry crane is designed to straddle a workstation, whether that’s a work table, boat, or building.

Gantries consist of two vertical legs with a cross beam or girder affixed to the top. On the beam is usually an underhung hoist, that can move back and forth.

Full gantry cranes are large and strong enough to lift entire shipping vessels. Small, portable gantry cranes are easy to take to job sites or move around your facility. Smaller gantry cranes make it easy to perform tasks such as removing engines from vehicles.

Workstation Cranes

Workstation cranes come in a variety of systems such as, freestanding, ceiling-mounted, or mixed systems that can often run the length of an entire facility. 

The bridge can move along the length of the crane system, carrying loads up to 4,000 pounds. Workstation cranes are ideal for carrying smaller loads across further distances.

They improve facility efficiency, prevent worker strain and injury, and product products and materials from damage.

Below the Hook Devices

A below the hook device is the connection point between the crane and the object to be lifted. Many different devices are available depending on the size, weight, shape, and center of gravity of the object to be lifted.

Sheet Lifter

Sheet lifters are perfect for large, flat objects such as drywall, plywood, glass, or metal. These use carrying angles that lift by supporting the edges of your sheet materials, preventing damage and falls.

Gripping Lifters

Gripping lifters function as tongs. They use pressure or friction on the sides of the object to hold and move a load. Variations such as the gripping tong, which holds round loads, and pressure tongs, which hold vertical-sided objects, are available.

Coil Hook

A vertical or horizontal hook can be inserted into the center of a coil or tube.  The hook can be rotated to provide greater support and control.

Pallet Lifter

Pallet lifters use forks that slide into a pallet, lifting it from the bottom. They function similarly to a forklift.


Lifting beams are longer, allowing for multiple lifting points across longer loads. Multiple connection points also prevent excess movement when transporting a load, holding it more securely.

Die Turner

Die turners help to rotate large dies securely. This is a better option than flipping them using a traditional lifting device.

Vacuum Lifter

Vacuum lifters can be mechanical, electric or entirely pneumatic. They create a vacuum under sealed pads to hold onto a load. 

Magnet Lifter

Magnet lifters are used to carry magnetic metals. Loads can be round or flat, and these lifters can function with or without electricity. 

Drum Turner

Drum turners can lift and turn large drums. This enables proper mixing and rotation of contents.

Fall Arrest Safety Systems

Did you know that out of the 5,333 workplace deaths in 2019, the leading cause was falling without the proper fall protection equipment in place? To ensure the safety of your team, the longevity of your company, and compliance with OSHA regulations, you need to use fall protection equipment.

This is vital, even when team members are only working a few feet of the ground, such as repairing shipping containers or railroad cars. Gorbel Fall Arrest Safety Systems, such as the Ranger Mobile, is used widely for aircraft maintenance, tanker car repairs, and during installations and repairs of industrial equipment.

Fall arrest safety systems secure team members while allowing them to move about freely. Many models are available, including portable systems that are easy to transfer to different job sites, as well as permanent models for your facilities.

Getting the Proper Lifting Devices

As you can see, there is a wide selection of lifting devices and below the hook attachments available for many different applications and industries. We provide customized solutions and turnkey installation for many different industries, including, but not limited to, the aerospace industry, automotive and locomotive industries, the military, the energy industry, and many more.

Many facilities also have custom-made lifting devices made for specialized jobs. Contact us today so we can find the perfect lifting solution for your workflow.

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