What are the Different Types of Mobile Cranes?

April 8, 2019

Anyone who has ever walked past a construction site has seen all sorts of cranes working away. They’ve seen tower cranes dominate the site skyline. In its tall shadow, an all-terrain mobile lifter navigates sandy rises and muddy ditches with ease. Curious now, we can’t help wondering what other crane types are either driving on a public roadway or huffing their way around a dirty work site.

Determined By Chassis Differences

There are at least two chassis profiles that come to mind when looking at different crane types. First off, there’s the lower half of the lifter. A basic crane truck looks a lot like a regular flatbed vehicle, although it might feature an extra set of wheels. However, there’s a crane mounted on that flatbed. All the same, when its boom is secured, crane trucks can drive on a public highway. That’s something crawler cranes can’t do, nor can their rough-terrain cousins. Crawlers are equipped with high-traction tracks, just like a battlefield tank, so they can drive across all kinds of rough soil and sand. Similarly, rough-terrain mobile cranes utilize multiple axles and huge, knobby wheels. Last of all, all-terrain mobile lifters also drive easily across uneven ground, but they can quickly switch gears and rumble slowly along public roads.

Checking Out the Boom Differences

After a mobile crane arrives on-site, its independent brakes are locked, then the equipment is configured so that it’s ready for work. Outriggers come out from all sides, if fitted, to stabilize the vehicle. There are marked differences between those lifting arms, though. Knuckle booms add articulating versatility to a lift. For larger cranes, rigid booms telescope their solid or lattice-type arms, but they only ever stretch as far as the vehicles’ loading chart permits. Smaller truck mounted cranes come with or without turntables, then there are longer flatbed vehicles, which use their extra storage space for transporting felled trees. 

Considering their many shapes and features, it’s important that the right crane is selected for the right job. Just like selecting the proper tool for a difficult piece of mechanical disassembly work, the hiring procedure relies on previous knowledge. The client supplies that information, then an informed decision is made by the two parties. It’s not like that customer can just point out a crane on the parking lot, after all. A best foot forward approach involves a contractor-hire service rapport. The role of the mobile lifter is then determined so that the client comes away with the right hoisting vehicle, be it a site crawler or a road cruising crane truck.