Overhead cranes form the backbone of many industrial, mining, and transport operations across the globe. They make the movement of goods both more efficient and safe through a facility. While the decision on whether or not an operation needs an overhead crane is often easy, in our experience, business owners struggle with selecting a right-sized option.
To help, our team has put together a brief guide on the six types of overhead cranes, crane parts and functions, and their duties.
Factors That Affect Classification
A number of factors can determine what crane suits your operation the best. Businesses should not overpay for too much equipment, nor should they invest in a crane that is too small for the job.
We recommend that you take the following factors into consideration when looking at a crane.
- Rated load or an estimation of the loads lifted at or near capacity
- Total hours of operation during the day
- Estimated number of all types of lifts during a typical hour
- Length of each crane movement
Beyond the basic needs of the job, companies should also consider maintenance requirements, future needs, and other big picture-type issues.
All of these contribute to the crane's official classification.
Why the Right Crane Matters
Purchasing the right crane for your operation is vital. Too much capacity means too much money spent that could have gone to other concerns. Too little capacity leaves your operation inefficient and unable to maximize the potential of the investment.
Class A1 and A2
These types of cranes provide the perfect match for companies that need them for irregular use only. Cranes with an A1 designation are used sparingly and on an as-needed basis, usually for maintenance or movement of heavy equipment, such as in various types of power plants, especially nuclear.
Class A2 cranes are also used for infrequent use, but for lighter loads. Small maintenance operations, warehouses, and others may use these as infrequently as a few days per month. These cranes also feature slow speeds and lower levels of needed accuracy.
These cranes work best for routine and light service. They can carry multiple light loads per hour and fit best in small maintenance shops, light manufacturing, light warehousing, etc.
These cranes handle regular moderate loads in establishments such as paper mills, machine shops, and other operations with continual moderate requirements. At best, they can average 50 percent of the rated capacity, making five to ten lifts per hour, with not over 50 percent of the lifts at rated capacity.
Operations with heavy service requirements should consider an overhead crane from the class D category. These feature higher speeds, an average lift distance of 15 feet, and not over two-thirds of the lifts at rated capacity.
Foundries, heavy machine shops, lumber mills, most bucket and magnet operations, and many other businesses will require a crane of this type.
Severe service capable cranes can carry items routinely at their rated level under difficult conditions for the life span of the equipment in a predetermined cycle of operation. They can handle twenty or more loads per hour near or at the rated capacity.
Examples of Class E industry uses include scrap yards, lumber mills, other heavy-duty bucket and magnet combinations, container handling, and more.
Class F equipment is reserved for the heaviest loads in the most challenging conditions. In some cases, these cranes are customized for use across the entire facility. They must meet the strongest standards of reliability and durability.
Reach out to T&M today to learn more about our wide selection of cranes and discuss how we can meet your needs. T&M Cranes manufactures and distributes cranes and parts, and located in Merrillville, we know all there is to know about crane parts and functions for all industries.