Because taller construction projects are largely based in urbanized environments the most popular types of cranes are all-terrain cranes. The ability to have a truck-based crane means that it can navigate paved roads in a timely fashion compared to tower cranes or crawler cranes that have to be loaded, transported, and unloaded before any construction can begin. Of these all-terrain lifters one brand name sticks out above the rest. Hans Liebherr built the first mobile crane in 1949 solidifying his name as an a leader in the crane industry. Today the Liebherr company manufactures the frequently sought after LTM 1030.
It can be difficult to fathom how far crane technology has come since items early origins. Historians have been able to track a rudimentary winch and pulley system back to ancient Greece and Rome. Some even speculate the the philosopher Aristotle wrote of the first compound pulley around 350 B.C. However, as bright as he was, Aristotle could never have imagined how the compound pulley system would change the way the world is built today. Some of the most extreme examples of how this technology has advanced lies in the world's most powerful cranes. The ultimate combination of mobility and power is the Liebherr 11200-9.1. With a crane that can extend well over the length of a football field (328 feet) the 11200-9.1’s boom is the longest telescopic boom in the world. The magnitude of this crane helps it to be able to lift up to a breathtaking 1322 tons into the air for its various tasks on the worksite.
While the Liebherr is the biggest of these mobile machines it is difficult to compare it to other categories of cranes. In the Netherlands there is a harbor crane that is so monstrous
they built and entire shipping vessel around it to house and transport the crane. This machine, named the Thiaf, ties the Liebherr 11200-9.1 with the world record for the longest telescopic boom at 328 feet. Unlike the 11200-9.1, the Thiaf has a stationary frame that gives it a major advantage for lifting the heaviest objects. This is most blatantly displayed by the Thiaf’s ability to lift 15652 tons more than ten times that of the the largest mobile crane. Another competitor in the crane heavy lifting competition is Liebherr LR 13000. This machine is unique in the sense that it is the worlds largest crawler crane. Crawler cranes sit on large tracks that provide the stability like a tower crane with some rigid mobility. Used at a nuclear power station, the Liebherr 13000 is able to move 3,000 tons of material at one tine. It’s 47 story latticed boom combined with its wide base weighs a ground-shaking 748 tons.
Like most heavy equipment technologies, cranes have grown into fulfilling various roles. Some of these heavy-lifters are called tower cranes.
Tower cranes use a 90º
angle as a load bearing joint unlike mobile cranes that use a adjustable jointed boom. The style of a fixed load bearing joint combined with a wide, rigid frame base is what allows the tower crane to manipulate such massive objects with ease. When looking at tower cranes it begs the question, how do they get there?
Crane operators actually use a smaller type of crane to build the bigger tower cranes. After transporting the components of the tower crane via semi-truck a mobile crane pulls up and begins to lift and assemble the its larger counterpart. There are multiple types of mobile cranes that find their effectiveness in different areas. All-terrain cranes typically sit on the flatbed of a large semi-style truck while a rough terrain cranes latticed boom extends from a self-contained engine powered until. These units have a wide wheelbase and large tires to help navigate challenge terrain as well as provide a stable base for the extended crane. A lesser known but equally productive crane type are harbor cranes. Sometimes called maritime cranes, these oceanside hoisters are built for withstanding salt-water and the seaside environment. Maritime cranes often include both tower-style cranes as well as mobile cranes (some that can even operate in shallow water) and are most commonly used for loading and unloading cargo from ships in the harbor.
It is impossible to over-emphasize the importance of safety while operating a crane, both for the drivers and for the surrounding construction workers. To help operators improve their skills and be challenged by different environments without risking injury crane companies have developed digital crane simulators that look and operate like real cranes. Crane operators also have the opportunity to pursue educational classes surrounding the crane and lifting industry. Both simulators and classes can be found at conventions like the NACB's Lifting and Load Handling Training Expo that takes place every year in Orlando, Florida. This crane expo also features expert speakers and a great environment for networking with other crane owners and operators.
With so many different types of cranes available on the used heavy equipment market narrowing a buyers search isn't always easy. It is vital to take each cranes specifications into consideration when walking through the purchasing process. For that reason mascus.com accumulates used cranes being sold by their owners into one place for easy browsing or searching by keyword. Mascus also provides additional filters to continue to taper the buyers search towards the best machine for them. The owners of the used cranes are able to upload their equipment just as easily after registering on the site.