Shannahan Crane & Hoist

The Ultimate Guide to the Different Types of Cranes and Their Uses

The global crane market is valued at $19 billion per annum, and this growth is expected to increase by 6% every year up to 2025. With the market for housing and construction showing no signs of slowing, the machinery to push growth forward is in high demand. But do you know how to get the right crane for the job?

With so many on offer for a range of tasks, it can be hard to know what your business needs. Read on as we discuss the types of cranes available. 

Crawler Crane

A crawler crane is one of the most common types of crane. It is operated from a mobile platform that uses heavy-duty tracks, which can move over terrain other vehicles of a similar size and weight would get stuck in. 

On their body is a powerful hydraulic system that powers a large arm, capable of shifting heavy weights. Of all the mobile cranes, the crawler can lift the most weighty packages and cargo. 

Floating Crane

Floating cranes are used for maritime and marine projects. They have a platform that is buoyant and sits on top of the water. For this reason, they are commonly found in ports and at oil rigs. 

These are some of the oldest crane types in existence. Used since the middle ages, they have been essential for trade. Now, there is a wide range of floating crane types available, such as semi-submersible ones and the sheerleg version. 

Rough Terrain Cranes

Rough terrain cranes are very similar to crawler cranes and can move over the harshest and roughest ground, usually at the start of a project when the earth has been torn up. Instead of tracks, they have four large rubber tires.

Though they are not able to lift as much as crawlers and are not as stable, they do have other advantages. Being smaller and lighter they are more maneuverable and can slot into tighter spots. With telescopic booms and outriggers, they have a little more choice when it comes to movement. 

Carry Deck Crane

Carry deck cranes are small four-wheeled vehicles that have a crane on their back. The crane can rotate a full 360 degrees, so it makes them extremely versatile. They evolved from pick and carry type trucks that appeared on the market in the eighties. 

As they are a hybrid of a truck and crane, they are great for quick jobs that require lots of movement. You will usually find them zipping across job sites or areas with large ground surfaces, such as warehouses and airports. 

Truck Mounted Cranes

These vehicles are large trucks that you would see carrying goods on the road. Unlike standard vehicles, they have a large boom arm to complement the carrier section. It allows them to easily move from a building site to the road carrying goods. 

To ensure they are stable, truck-mounted cranes will have outriggers and counterweights to stabilize them, making them much heavier than a standard truck. There is a range of different types available for various jobs. For example, some get designed specifically for building bridges or inspections. 

Gantry Cranes

A gantry crane is a type of overhead crane supported by two freestanding legs. These are then placed on wheels or more commonly on a track. 

This gives them stability and allows them to shift in designated directions on their frame. Ports often have a number of them to lift shipping containers and pallets from ships to docks. 

Jib Crane

A jib crane is another type of bridge crane. It will typically attach to a wall or pillar. They have a small range of movement so can be useful for repetitive tasks. 

Telescopic Crane

Telescopic cranes consist of a large boom arm. Hydraulics inside them allows the arm to extend in a telescopic manner. While fixed types are available, they are usually mounted on a wheeled platform so they can move from job to job. 

These types of cranes are very useful in several situations. As the arm can collapse and the whole unit moved, they are great for emergency relief or short-term projects. They are often used at the scenes of disasters to assist in moving debris and wreckage. 

Stacker Crane

Stacker cranes are mainly used in warehousing and inventory storage. They have a forklift-type mechanism that moves up and down on a vertical rail. You may often find them in places where it would not normally be suitable for a human to work, such as under extreme temperatures. 

Bulk Handling Crane

A bulk handling crane usually has a huge grabber on the end of a jib. Instead of a standard hook, the claw and bucket type mechanism can pick up specialist materials and lift them to wherever they need to go. They are commonly used for coal and minerals and can be seen in industrial sites and docks. 

Harbor Cranes

Harbor cranes are a specialist type of crane that comes in a wide range of types and sizes. Their purpose is to help unload ships when they arrive in port. As they can contain a range of different cargo, these cranes need to be extremely strong and versatile so they can be used in a range of situations. 

Choosing Between the Different Types of Cranes

The types of cranes you need will largely be dictated by your industry. Look at the job you have to do and see where a crane could assist or relieve bottlenecks in production. From here, you should speak to an expert on hiring the right one for your needs. 

Shannahan Crane and Hoist should be your first stop. We can provide machinery for material handling in all shapes and sizes. Speak with one of our expert staff members here and let us assist your business. 

Share this post

Scroll to Top