Shannahan Crane & Hoist

The Ins and Outs of Proper Jib Crane Care

Analysts expect the global overhead crane market to be worth more than $7.4 billion by 2031. Jib cranes are part of this strong growth.

Are you considering buying a jib crane? Or do you want to optimize the use of the jib crane you have now?

Proper care and maintenance of your jib crane help ensure you get the most benefit from this versatile piece of equipment. Learn more here about how to keep your crane working its best.

What Is a Jib Crane?

A jib crane is a type of overhead lifting device. Jib cranes are ideal for repetitive and unique lifting tasks in a smaller work area. Several different jib crane systems are available:

  • Free standing
  • Foundationless
  • Mast type
  • Wall mounted

Understanding which type you have will help you maintain it better.

Jib cranes have a simple design. They’re easier to operate than workstation, bridge, or gantry cranes. They need less maintenance because they have fewer parts to potentially break down.

Regular maintenance and good upkeep are still important, though. Following best practices will keep your jib crane in top working condition.

Free standing

Free standing jib cranes are very popular because you can install them anywhere. However, a free standing jib crane needs a special foundation. Free standing jib cranes have a greater capacity and longer span than other types of jib cranes.


Foundationless jib cranes are a type of free standing crane. They’re slab-mounted and bolted to reinforced concrete for indoor use. Installation is faster because you don’t have to wait for a poured concrete foundation.

Mast Type

Mast type jib cranes get additional support from an existing overhead beam or structure. As a result, they only need 6″ of reinforced concrete to support the crane on the ground.


A wall mounted jib crane mounts to a wall or building support column. It takes up less space than other jib cranes because it doesn’t need any floor or foundation support. Wall mounted jib cranes are more economical.

Free standing, foundationless, and mast type jib cranes give you 360º of rotation. Wall mounted jib cranes give you 180º-200º of rotation.

Gorbel Freestanding Workstation Jib Crane yellow
Gorbel Freestanding Workstation Jib Crane yellow

Start with a Quality Installation

Proper care of your jib crane starts with the installation. If the installation process has problems, you’ll have problems later when operating your crane.

You should always have specialists install your jib crane.

A registered professional engineer should be part of the installation planning process. The engineer will determine the foundation requirements based on your specific site.

Experienced professionals will ensure that the foundation can support the weight of your crane and its load. For wall mounted cranes, an engineer will verify that the support structure in your building is robust enough.

Mounting the crane securely is another critical part of the installation. Nuts and bolts need to be properly tightened (but not overtightened). The installer will torque the nuts and compress the lockwashers.

The final step in a quality installation is fully testing and certifying the jib crane. You’ll be starting with your equipment in the best possible condition.

Keep Up with Preventive Maintenance

Regular preventive maintenance helps keep your jib crane working trouble-free. How often you conduct inspections depends on the duty rating of the crane.

The Crane Manufacturers Association of America (CMAA) established a duty classification system for overhead cranes. The duty rating depends on how often you use the crane, the type of load, and the average weight of the loads. The CMAA standard has six classes:

  • Class A (standby or infrequent use)
  • Class B (light service)
  • Class C (moderate service)
  • Class D (heavy service)
  • Class E (severe service)
  • Class F (continuous severe service)

Cranes in heavier service classes need more frequent routine maintenance. The manufacturer will recommend a maintenance timeline. Federal, state, or local codes may specify a maintenance schedule as well.

Conduct Thorough Inspections

The crane operator should check the system during operation to be sure that everything is working properly. The maintenance schedule will normally include frequent (non-documented) inspections and periodic (documented) inspections. Documented inspections are usually annual, semi-annual, or quarterly depending on the duty class of the crane.

Qualified personnel should conduct your jib crane inspections and maintenance procedures.

Non-Documented Inspections

Your non-documented inspections should include several items. First, the inspector should conduct a general visual inspection to check for broken or missing parts. This overall examination verifies that the jib crane is in good working order.

The inspector should check all the fasteners. This step ensures that no fasteners are missing and that they’re properly tightened.

The rotational movement of the crane is another item to check. It should be smooth throughout the range of motion. The movement of the trolley along the rail should be smooth as well.

Documented Inspections

Your documented inspections should include everything from the non-documented ones plus a few additional items. For free standing, foundationless, and mast type jib cranes, the inspection should check the foundation, base, and mast.

Inspections for all types of jib cranes should check the boom and rotational stops. All tags and labels need to be intact and visible. For cranes with a rail trolley or an air system, documented inspections should check those items as well.

If the crane has any accessories, the documented inspection should check them. Accessories can include features like an electrical bottom entry collector or a fusible disconnect switch.

The inspector needs to record the results of this inspection. Inspection results should be available for personnel to review.

Use Good Operating Procedures

Good operating procedures are another important part of properly caring for your jib crane. Safe and efficient operation helps you get the most from your crane.

The crane operator is responsible for safely operating the jib crane. Proper training is very important. Crane operators should be familiar with the parts of the crane. They need a thorough understanding of crane control functions and movements.

In addition to general training, crane operators should know the particular features of the model in use.

Buying, Maintaining, and Repairing Your Jib Crane

Whether you’re looking for a jib crane for sale or you need maintenance and repairs, you want to work with the best crane and hoist company. Shannahan Crane and Hoist has been providing quality service since 1961. We offer a range of services including annual safety inspections, certified load testing, and operator safety training.

We know the importance of your jib crane to your operation. We provide 24-hour emergency service if anything goes wrong.

Contact us today for all of your crane and hoist needs.

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