Shannahan Crane & Hoist

Top Overhead Crane Parts You Should Know About: A Guide

One of the most important aspects of any industry is having the right equipment for the job. This creates greater efficiency, productivity, and ensures safety for your staff.

Overhead cranes are ideal for moving heavy materials quickly and precisely. They are most often found in warehouses that have heavy lifting requirements and/or a high volume of shipments or deliveries.

Many different overhead crane parts make the operation of these machines possible. Understanding their function and how to replace or repair them is an essential aspect of crane maintenance.

The information below lays out the functions and some of the advantages of overhead cranes. It also covers the main components that make up these machines. Keep reading to find out more.

Advantages Of Overhead Cranes

One of the biggest advantages of overhead cranes is that they can move very heavy materials. They do not rely on counter-weights or the stability of a carrier. Overhead cranes are stationary though (they are not designed for moving around a worksite).

Overhead cranes are also very efficient. They can move materials from point A to point B much faster than forklifts or even other types of cranes.

Another advantage is that an overhead crane can provide safety for your workers. You don’t have to worry about it tipping over or swinging in unintended directions. It is also an ideal machine for handling hazardous materials, including chemicals or hot metals.

Parts Of A Crane

The advantages of overhead cranes depend on the durability and function of their many parts. There are different types of overhead cranes, and they come in a variety of sizes and configurations. So, the components can vary from machine to machine.

There are some basic parts that you will find on almost every overhead crane. Here is an overview of some of the major ones.

Columns And Bridge

Unless they are ceiling-mounted, the main structure of an overhead crane comprises large columns. These beams are joined by a bridge, which can be single- or double-beamed.

The bridge moves along runway tracks on the beams using bridge drives, wheels, and bumpers. This creates a rectangular lifting area beneath the crane.

Most beams and bridges are made from steel and will last for a long time. They are the main load-bearing structures of the crane. Any signs of corrosion or cracking should be addressed immediately to ensure the integrity of operation.

End Trucks, Lifting Trolley, And Hoist

End trucks attach to the bridge and move it up and down the rails. They use motors and usually have between four and eight wheels, depending on the size of the crane and its lifting capacity.

The lifting trolley runs along the beam using a motor and brake. They can be either top or bottom-mounted.

The hoist has a reducer to convert the high-speed motor shaft rotation to an output speed for lifting. A chain or cable descends from the motor and connects to a hook block or other lifting accessors.

Chains have the advantage of lifting straighter without any lateral drift. They are often used for loads of less than ten tons.

Wire cables can lift much heavier loads. They also have a wider range of usage options and flexibility. One downside is that they are more susceptible to lateral drift.

Power And Control System

Most overhead cranes use electricity to power their operations, although some rely on pneumatic systems. Cable festoons run power from the supply to runway and bridge. Insulated conductor bars or cables move the trolley back and forth along the track.

The crane control system operates the drive and hoists motors. It allows operators to determine the movement and speed of crane operations. Some have joysticks that control the movements of the beam and trolley, as well as “up” and “down” controls for operating the hoist.

Many cranes have hanging pendant controls. Others are battery-operated or otherwise remote systems. These can increase safety by allowing operators to move farther away from the crane while it is in operation.

More advanced control systems provide diagnostics of operations. These can be useful in identifying errors in operation. Usage data also is a great way to keep up with wear and tear on the crane and its parts.

Overhead Crane Safety Tips

Maintenance is perhaps the most important aspect of safe crane operation. Routine inspections can prevent breakdowns, which can result in serious revenue losses. And minor repairs are less expensive than major overhauls over the long term.

Another safety tip is to ensure that the crane is not lifting loads beyond its capacity. This goes for each of its parts as well. Remember, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”

As overhead crane parts become used and wear out, you increase the risk of malfunction. For this reason, it is a good idea to test the crane when not in use. While this can detract from operating time, knowing that each component and system of your crane is in full working order will pay dividends down the road.

Find Overhead Crane Parts Near You

Now that you have an idea of the main types and functions of overhead crane parts, you can have a better understanding of what it takes to keep your equipment running. One of the most important things you can do is find a reputable retailer that can further assist you in identifying replacement parts. It will go a long way toward keeping your crane running and performing as intended.

Shannahan Crane and Hoise is the Midwest’s leading designer, manufacturer, distributor, and service center of overhead crane equipment. For more than 60 years, we have worked to meet our client’s material handling needs and exceed their expectations in terms of quality. Reach out to us today to learn more about our products and services.

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