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What Are The Types Of Overhead Crane

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  • 02-08-2021
What Are The Types Of Overhead Crane

What are the types of overhead crane? We look at the types of overhead crane and how they are used in construction and industry.

There are many different types of overhead cranes used for different purposes and to suit different needs. Here are a few examples of the different types of overhead cranes you can find.

What is an Overhead Crane?

An overhead crane is a form of crane used in industrial manufacturing or warehouse storage environments. 

They consist of a pair of parallel runways that have moveable bridge girders between them. They are primarily used in rectangular areas, such as warehouses, to transport heavy loads from side to side or forwards and backwards.


The lifting component itself is called the hoist, and it is attached to a trolley that runs on rails along the top of the bridge beam. 

This beam is connected to horizontal girders, which are then attached at each end to trucks. These trucks are connected at right angles to the horizontal girders and travel along the bridge or parallel runways.

The horizontal travel of push-type overhead cranes is powered manually by the person operating the crane. There are alternative power sources for overhead cranes and electrical and pneumatic or air-powered crane systems. 

You can find overhead cranes in a wide range of different styles, each with its own particular uses. They are also compatible with a variety of different attachments for different types of material handling.

What Are The Types Of Overhead Crane?

Types of overhead cranes

There are many different types of overhead cranes used for different purposes and to suit different needs. Here are a few examples of the different types of overhead cranes you can find.

Bridge Cranes

Overhead bridge cranes are typically one of the more common types of cranes you can find in operation. 

Bridge cranes come with a duo of overhead runway beams attached directly to the building's support structure. They also come in a single and double girder configuration, with double girder bridge cranes having a similar strength to their single girder bridge crane counterparts. 

The difference between the double girder crane and single girder crane configurations is that double-girder cranes can lift loads much higher than single girder bridge cranes.

Bridge Cranes - Types Of Overhead Crane
Gantry Cranes - Types Of Overhead Crane

Gantry Cranes

What differentiates gantry cranes from other overhead cranes is that the girder, as part of its configuration, stands on its own legs rather than being suspended from a support beam. 

These legs can stand directly onto the ground or on a platform above it, depending on your needs. 

Given that gantry cranes are not dependent on the structure of the building it is housed in, they are perfect for outdoor use such as transportation or shipyards.

Monorail Cranes

Monorail cranes differ from other overhead crane configurations in that they do not have any girders as part of the hoist system. 

The hoist is moved up and down by a trolley and hoist system attached to an I-beam. This trolley moves in a straight line along the monorail, but it can also be configured for different, bespoke purposes. 

Overhead monorail cranes are best suited to assembly or production line work, where loads need to be transported up and down, generally in a straight line.

Workstation Cranes

Workstation cranes are designed to be used in places where floor space is very limited. 

They have a simple design and are straightforward to operate, and can lift loads weighing up to 2 tonnes. 

Overhead workstation cranes are perfectly suited to routine warehousing tasks, such as transporting packages or boxes around a warehouse. Their simplicity and easy operation make them the best form of an overhead crane when they need to be used regularly every day.

Jib Cranes

Workstation cranes are designed to be used in places where floor space is very limited. They have a simple design and are straightforward to operate, and can lift loads weighing up to 2 tonnes.

Overhead workstation cranes are perfectly suited to routine warehousing tasks, such as transporting packages or boxes around a warehouse. 

Their simplicity and easy operation make them the best form of an overhead crane when they need to be used regularly every day.

Jib Cranes - Types Of Overhead Crane

How are Overhead Cranes Used?

Given that there are many different types of overhead cranes, all of which are suited to different environments and purposes, it isn't easy to give an overarching answer as to how they are used. However, there are some common tasks that all overhead cranes can be expected to assist with. These include:

  • Transportation: Helping to lift finished and packaged products up onto trailers or empty railcar beds.
  • Assembly: When placed on production lines, overhead cranes can be used to move components from one stage of the production process to another.
  • Storage: Helping to transport heavy products from one storage area to another. 
  • Staging: Supporting the production process by holding onto components that are yet to be finished. 
  • Warehousing: Transporting heavy products from one dock or storage bay to another.

How Do Overhead Cranes Work?

There are two primary ways in which overhead cranes are powered, these being manually and electronically.

Manual operated

Pulling on wire rope or hand chains constructed from interconnected links, the crane operator transfers power through the gears of the hoist to the hoist load chain sprocket. 

Pulling the chain in one direction will lift the hoist load hook, raising whatever it is connected to from the floor. Pulling the chain in the opposite direction will drop the load. 

The lifting medium used in manually operated overhead cranes is usually made from welded or roller load chain links. Manual overhead cranes with larger load capacity may have multiple hand chains, requiring multiple operators to work them.

Electrically operated

Electrically operated overhead cranes are controlled using a device or panel of buttons that move the crane via electric motors. 

Again transferring power through the hoist chain sprocket to the hoist load hook, the electrical motors can raise or lower whatever is connected to the load hook. 

The controls on the device or panel may have names such as "raise/lower" or "lift/drop" for the operator to control the crane.

How Do Overhead Cranes Work?

Benefits of Overhead Cranes

There are various benefits that those who use overhead cranes in their work can enjoy, such as:

  • Adaptability: Given that overhead cranes can be configured to suit various needs and constructed to operate in many different environments, they have a great amount of flexibility in their application to manufacturing or industrial processes.
  • Ergonomic: Having overhead cranes conduct most of the heavy lifting, you can save your operators the strain, further reducing their risk of injury.
  • Customisation: Again, the various configurations and overhead crane types mean that you can customise your rig to suit whatever job you need them to do. Whether you need specialist tools to carry out certain procedures or an all-purpose machine to carry out various duties, overhead cranes have it all.
  • Load control: Standing back from the overhead crane and controlling the system remotely allows a better view of the overall load. It also allows the operator to stand at a safe distance from the load.
  • Faster direct paths: Overhead cranes allow you to lift loads over other obstacles through overhead space, rather than having to navigate around them or through aisles.
  • Lower maintenance costs: Using up-to-date technologies and increased load capacities, overhead cranes often have far lower maintenance costs than other lifting systems.
  • Accuracy: Automated systems mean that you can position your load with the utmost accuracy and precision.
  • Less damage: Smooth and direct transportation paths mean less chance of your products being damaged in transit. With inbuilt soft start mechanisms and speed controls, you can delicately transport loads when using overhead cranes.
  • Lower costs: A single overhead crane can replace a fleet of forklift trucks and operate over a wide area, ultimately saving you money. 
  • Higher product stacks: Cranes can reach greater heights than traditional lifting methods, such as forklifts, allowing you to create higher product stacks, improving your storage capacity and allowing you to manage your floor space efficiently.
  • Safety: Given that most of the work is taking place with the crane overhead, this reduces the risk of collisions or limitation of space that comes with traditional lifting methods like forklifts, ultimately improving worker safety through an overhead travelling crane.

Where are Overhead Cranes Used?

Overhead cranes can improve transportation and movement of heavy, large loads in multiple industries, such as:

Beverage

Chemicals

Automotive

Maritime trade

Manufacturing

Newspaper

Commercial printers

Paper

Steel

Warehousing 

Distribution

    
    

Are you planning to use crane hire in the UK? If you need to lift heavy objects or machinery, we offer lifting equipment and lifting services for the construction and industrial industries.

    

Follow the links below to find out more about our specialist lifting services throughout the UK.