At any construction site, a wide variety of material handling and hoisting equipment are used for lifting the loads, transferring them from one place to other and placing them at designated location. These include equipment like forklifts, hoists and cranes which in turn are of many types. Out of all, cranes are the most popular hoisting equipment.

Cranes for hoisting materials at construction sites

Cranes are equipped with a hoist, wire ropes or chains and sheaves which can be used to lift and lower materials and move them horizontally. They are extremely valuable asset for the construction industry because they make working with heavy machinery and materials easy.

Typically, on a construction site, cranes serve two main purposes i.e., help to transport or deliver heavy building materials and supplies from one place to another and lift and place things like heavy steel beams and pre-stressed concrete sections for buildings. They also perform a host of other essential jobsite material handling tasks.

Different types of cranes used in construction industry

Cranes used in construction industry are classified into two main categories i.e., fixed and mobile cranes, both of which have many types. Whereas, in the fixed cranes category, tower cranes are the most popular, in the mobile cranes category, vehicle mounted cranes, rough terrain cranes, crawler cranes and telescopic handler cranes capture the major market share.

1. Fixed cranes: In these types of cranes, the main structure is basically fixed in one place and does not move during the period of use. They are used for carrying greater loads and reaching greater heights.

  • Tower cranes: Fixed to the ground, they are generally used in construction of tall buildings. They are always mounted over a strong concrete pad so that anchor bolts can be embedded into the pad. This helps in holding the tower crane firmly while it lifts the heavy load. Tower cranes can easily reach up to 265 feet and lift load up to 20 tons (approx). For high-end infrastructure projects, tower cranes that can reach up to 800 meters are used.

2. Mobile cranes: They are one of the most basic types of cranes found on a construction site and consist of a truss or telescopic boom mounted on a mobile platform.

  • Vehicle mounted cranes: Sometimes the cranes are mounted on vehicles like trucks to move them easily on the job site. These types of mobile cranes are called vehicle mounted cranes. From the base of the truck, when this crane is erected at the building construction site, outriggers are extended horizontally and then vertically to stabilise the crane during hoisting.
  • Rough terrain cranes: They are mounted on an undercarriage that has rubber tyres specifically used for off-road applications. The outriggers extends vertically and horizontally to stabilise the crane when hoisting.
  • Crawler cranes: They are mounted on a chassis with a set of tracks instead of tyres and do not require outriggers for stability. They have a lifting capacity from 40 to 3500 tons (approx.).
  • Telescopic handler cranes: Having a telescopic extendable boom, these cranes are like forklift trucks. They are often used to handle pallets of bricks and install frame trusses on many new building sites.

Simply put, while there are many types of cranes available in the market, contractors must choose the one which is most suitable for their job site.