5 Different Types of Cranes and Their Uses

mobile crane

When most of us think of cranes, we think of one particular type of machine. However, the fact of the matter is that there are a variety of cranes out there, from the mobile crane to the stationary crane and everything in between.

Interested in learning a little more about cranes? Curious as to what exactly these different cranes can do? If so, you should read on!

These are 5 different types of cranes and their uses.

1. Truck Crane

The first type of crane we’ll discuss is the truck crane. Capable of being driven on public roads, truck cranes are commonly used, endlessly versatile, and exceedingly easy to transport.

Truck cranes consist of a long, extended component as well as a mobile platform component. The long, extended component works in the same way as a hydraulic crane, moving in and out, and turning in different directions to accommodate different items. The mobile platform component is most typically mounted to a truck bed, allowing the crane to be easily taken from place to place.

Due to their extreme versatility, truck cranes are very popular. Not only can they allow for quick transport, they can be transported to spots that other cranes can not.

Though they don’t have the greatest of strength capacities, truck cranes are still a great option for many purposes. They can lift up everything from small fittings to large steel components.

2. Tower Crane

Typically used in the construction of exceedingly tall buildings (i.e. skyscrapers), tower cranes are both extremely tall and remarkably strong.

With very few exceptions, the bases of these cranes attach firmly to the ground. If they didn’t, they would likely flip over, causing unbelievable amounts of destruction.

In some cases, they are even attached to the buildings on which they’re operating. If they’re not attached, they will sway back and forth, potentially resulting in disaster.

Some tower cranes stand well over a half a mile tall. This allows them to pick items up and drop them off in an entirely vertical manner. The arms of these cranes are positioned exactly parallel to the ground.

The operational areas of these cranes are located at the same height as their arms. Therefore, if you’re going to operate one, you have to be completely unfazed by heights.

Tower crane operators typically have to work in tandem with a partner known as a rigger. The rigger communicates with the operator by radio, telling him or her when to pick up and drop off loads.

3. Floating Crane

If you’re going to be performing construction on water, you could very well make use of a floating crane. Floating cranes are exactly what they sound like they are: cranes which float on water.

In some cases, floating cranes will essentially be boats with cranes attached to them. Other times, floating cranes are simply mounted to a floating platform.

These cranes are used heavily in off-shore construction projects. They assist in the building of everything from oil pipelines, to oil platforms, to electricity transmission systems, more.

On occasion, they will be used to load and unload items on cargo ships. On very rare occasions, emergency crews use them to haul up the remnants of sunken ships.

Generally capable of lifting around 9,000 tons of weight at a time, floating cranes are some of the stronger cranes used today.

One of the problems associated with floating cranes, however, is that they lack versatility. They are, in most cases, incapable of rotating from side to side.

4. Air Crane

Though they’re not the most commonly used cranes out there, air cranes still serve a very valuable purpose. Often used for construction projects which are occurring in remote areas, air cranes can access spaces that other types of cranes can not.

You might be asking: what exactly is an air crane? Well, it’s a helicopter; a helicopter that can pick up large, bulky items without ever having to touch the ground.

Helicopters have been used as cranes since the 1950s, at which point, they could only carry a few hundred pounds at a time. These days, however, some helicopters are capable of lifting up to 100 tons of weight at one time.

Places where you’ll often see air cranes include remote wooded areas, the ocean, and the mountains, to name just a few. These are areas which, in most cases, aren’t accessible by other types of cranes.

Obviously, if you’re going to operate an air crane, you’re going to have to earn a helicopter pilot’s license. A simple crane certification will not suffice.

5. Rough Terrain Crane

When construction is being carried out on rocky, hilly, or uneven terrain, a rough terrain crane will often be brought in to assist with the project. These are mobile cranes sporting 4 huge, textured tires. These tires possess high levels of shock absorbency, allowing the crane to maneuver with great balance and stability.

The arms on rough terrain cranes are capable of moving in just about any direction you could ever desire. Not only can they extend inward and outward, but they can rotate from side to side as well.

Rough terrain cranes are a lot like truck cranes. For example, both types of cranes are driven and operated from the same console area. The big difference between the two is that, while truck cranes can only drive on flat, even surfaces, rough terrain cranes are able to traverse extraordinarily bumpy surfaces.

Towing capacities for rough terrain cranes range from the fairly light to the extraordinarily heavy. Whereas some of these cranes can only haul 10 tons of weight at once, others of these cranes can haul up to 100 tons of weight at once.

In Need of Mobile Crane Training?

Are you looking to become certified in the use of one of the cranes reviewed above? In need of mobile crane training in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, or Delaware? If so, we here at Atlantic Crane Inspection Services can help.

We offer training courses of all kinds. Take a look at the training courses we offer by clicking here!

Have any questions? Contact us!

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