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A Glossary of Types of Cranes and Crane Parts

Crane Accidents

As the old saying goes, "the whole is little more than the sum of its parts". This phrase is often used for philosophical symbolism. However, it can be taken literally as well. This is most evident when you look at the design of the "common" crane.

Now, the word common is placed in quotes for a reason. There is nothing common or average about the amazing engineering that goes into building a crane. Actually, upon close inspection, a mechanical crane reveals itself to be a physical marvel.

There are several different types of cranes which serve individual and unique purposes. Each of these cranes is comprised of a series of working parts which serve a variety of functions. So, a glossary of the different types of cranes and the parts that comprise them is provided herein. If you have been injured contact a crane accident lawyer today.

Types of Cranes

Gantry - This type of crane is fitted to gantry rails connected to a beam. The beam is connected between uprights that are also connected to a set of wheels. The wheels then operate along preset tacks. Obviously, this is done to achieve travel and mobility.

Overhead – This is a crane designed in a manner similar to a gantry crane. The main difference is that an overhead crane does not include an upright mounts. Movement of an overhead crane is limited to coincide with one or two beams.

Derrick - Sometimes called a mini-crane, a derrick is a lifting machine with one, singular mast or pole. A wire/rope/cable is connected to the pole. At the end of the wire, there is a hook. The hook connects to vessels, etc and then the wire hoist the item through pulleys.

Helicopter Cranes – These types of cranes are often a marvel to watch. As the name infers, these cranes are connected to helicopters and used to carry loads/materials through the air.

Crawler Locomotive - These types of cranes are fixed on a rotating mount that is attached with crawler treads that all it to "crawl" (move) to a new location when needed. A variant of this type of crane is known as a "crawler locomotive". This type of crawler crane is affixed to railroad tracks. As such, its movement is achieved through back and forth travels on the tracks.

Truck Cranes – This is another form of mobile crane. Actually, it is not the crane that is mobile. It is the truck that the crane in mounted on that is mobile.

The Parts of a Crane

Hoist – A hoist is essentially the parts that allow loads to be raised and lowered. Specifically, a hoist is comprised of a drum and a rope/cable/wire.

Hoist Wire/Rope – As the name would imply, a hoist system of a crane involves using a wire and rope system to raise and lower loads.

Braking – A braking system refers to the ability for a crane to stop raising or lowering materials by applying friction to the ropes/cables.

Secondary Braking - As the name would imply, this is a back up hoist braking system designed to maintain safety if the primary braking system falters.

Upper Limit Switch – This is a safety device designed to make sure the hoist does not "crash" into the drum. Specifically, it limits the height the crane can reach to reduce such problems.

Speed Controls – Hoisting a load too quickly can create a number of problems. Speed controls make sure that a controlled speed is always programmed an maintained.

Overload Protection System – As the name reflects, this is a built in safety system designed to limit the ability of a crane to lift dangerously heavy loads. Note: not all systems are built with this protection in place.

Tie Down Chains – These chains are used to fasten cargo or vessels safely in place when they are moved, hoisted, or transported.

Anchor Bolts – These are used to fasten a multitude of objects in place. In particular, they fasten items to a specific structure. Anchor bolts come in many shapes and sizes as their use is varied.

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