The Right Crane for the Job Type (Part 2)

February 22, 2023

Choosing the right construction crane for a job is essential to ensure the safety and efficiency of the project. The type of crane required depends on several factors, including the weight and dimensions of the object to be lifted, the height of the structure, and any obstacles the crane will need to navigate both on the ground and in the air. In this follow-up post to "The Right Crane for the Job Site" we will examine the pros and cons of using various cranes in construction operations and scenarios.

Pick the Correct Crane for Lifting Requirements

Determining lifting requirements involves considering the weight of the material you need to move, its dimensions, the necessary rigging equipment, as well as elevation and radius change between the pick and set points.

Overloading a crane can lead to accidents that may result in severe injury or death. It can also damage to the equipment or the structure it's servicing. It's essential to select a crane with a lifting capacity that exceeds the weight of the object lifted to ensure safe a successful operation. Other than the standards employed by governing bodies such as OSHA, ASME, etc., many agencies, municipalities and private companies have their own, often more stringent, rules and regulations that must be followed. Be sure to check with your lift planning specialist as early as possible in the planning process to make sure all of these factors are being taken into consideration.

A crane's lifting capacity is not only determined by the weight of the object but also by its size and shape. For example, a long, narrow object may require a different type of crane than a short, wide one. Wind loading during a lifting operation is driven by the sail area of the material being lifted. It is critical to understand and account for this factor during the planning process.

What will your crane be lifting?

Your crane's rating should exceed the loads it will be lifting. You should refer to the manufacturer provided load charts to know a crane's capacity. Additionally, the dynamics of lifting operations need to be accounted for beyond static specifications. A fixed crane is the best choice for many long-term repetitive operations, such as the construction of a multi-story building or something that requires constant maintenance.

Where is the object being lifted to and from?

The elevation change and the radius change can affect the type of crane required for a job. A crane with a longer boom may be necessary for a job with significant elevation or radius changes, while a crane with a shorter boom may be better suited for a smaller working area. Jobs that require multiple picks and crane locations can benefit from using a mobile crane.

How high is the structure?

The structure's height also plays a role in choosing the right crane. Taller structures may require a crane  That can grow with the building.

What is the elevation change between pick and set points? 

A tower crane is efficient for lifting materials vertically. This type of crane is well-suited for situations with significant elevation change. If the pick and set points are far apart both horizontally and vertically, you may consider a telescopic crane.

What is the radius change? 

Telescopic cranes are also a good choice when lifting requires a significant radius change. They can be extended and retracted to adjust the radius of the lifting operation. A second option is to use a lattice-boom crane. These cranes can be adjusted by pivoting the boom's angle to change the lifting operation's radius. 

How far apart are pick and set points? 

A mobile crane is the best type of crane to use when the pick and set points are far apart. Mobile cranes can be moved around the construction site. They can be equipped with various boom configurations to suit the project's specific needs. Another option, if the pick and set points are drastically different and the terrain is inaccessible by ground, is to use an aerial crane.

What obstacles will the crane be working near or lifting over? 

Any obstacles the crane will need to navigate should also be considered. For example, a floating crane may be necessary if the construction site is over water. If the site is near a railway or highway, a crane with a shorter boom may be required to avoid interfering with traffic. And if the site is near a densely populated area, a more compact crane may be needed to avoid disrupting the surroundings. Here are a few scenarios where different crane types will be more efficient:

Planning for the Best Crane and Lifting Procedure

There are many considerations when planning how to  select the right crane for a construction procedure. As industry professionals with an unmatched track-record, Vento Engineering Services engineers and plans lifting operations for the heavy civil construction industry both on the east coast and many states nation-wide.

Please contact us if you have any questions about your project and need assistance in planning on-site inspection, site surveys, crane selection, crane placement, and rigging design.

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