Whatever the job, there's probably a crane to handle it
When it comes to heavy lifting, the adage about having the right tool for the right job is bang on. For those of you who aren't familiar with the world of cranes, here's a short primer and examples of what you'll find on the market today.
Carrydeck cranes have decks for carrying loads from place to place. Smaller than other cranes, they typically have multiple steering options that make them very manoeuverable, even in tight, congested spaces.
Manitowoc's Shuttlelift industrial cranes, pictured here, are used for a wide range of applications in many industries, including general construction, power generation, petrochemical plants, public utilities and manufacturing facilities. The smallest, the 3330F, can lift up to 8.5 tonnes, while the large CD7725 has a lift capacity of 25 tonnes. Because carrydecks are often used indoors, many Shuttlelift industrial cranes can run on liquid propane.
Using the power of hydraulics, these cranes are able to lift extremely heavy loads relative to their size. "Our cranes can lift up to 22 tonnes, but you can get bigger ones that can lift more," says Darcy Newitt, sales manager at Chariot Express in Calgary.
Knuckle boom cranes, like the one shown here in a photo provided by Chariot Express, are suitable for a range of applications. Chariot Express has used them to install the concrete lions on Calgary's Centre Street Bridge and to dangle helicopters on movie sets, as well as for a range of construction jobs.
Specially designed for rough environments, rough terrain cranes are found on construction sites and ideal for off-road terrain. Because they're not designed to travel on public roads and must be hauled to the site, they tend to be used on long-term projects.
Terex's RT 100 has a maximum load capacity of 100 tonnes and, according to the company, the longest main boom - 174 ft (53 m) - in the rough terrain crane category worldwide. The telescoping main boom makes it easy to operate when used for heavy jobs, such as erecting prefabricated concrete structures or positioning heavy machinery.
Able to go where regular cranes can't, mini cranes are used for a variety of applications, indoors and out. You'll find them on industrial and construction sites as well as in people's backyards, where they are used for landscaping and roofing garages.
Spydercrane mini crawler cranes, available at Encore Trucking & Transport Ltd. in Edmonton, lift up to 6,000 lb but can fit in extremely tight spaces. The leg placement of the three-tonne unit contributes to their versatility; the legs extend straight out at 4 ft, 6 ft and 8 ft lengths, but also swing into five other positions. Encore provides certified operator training.
Found in a variety of facilities, overhead cranes run on rails above ground level so they don't take up valuable space. This one, engineered and manufactured by JMF Cranes & Hoists, is a double girder powerhouse crane of 125-tonne capacity used for turbine maintenance. Double girders give a higher height of lift for the space available and are required for such a high capacity.
To increase versatility, this overhead crane has two hoists; a main hoist to lift the heaviest equipment, and an auxiliary hoist for lifting smaller items.
Crawler cranes are likely to be spotted at bridge erections, gas plant shutdowns or large construction projects. Because they are taken apart for transport, crawlers are considered on-site cranes. They can be configured for multiple job applications, even if they've been adapted for a particular use.
This CC 2800-1NT is a 600-tonne crawler manufactured by Terex Cranes and adapted for wind turbine erection. Equipped with a narrow track chassis, it can travel on access roads between turbines. The main boom is reinforced to increase the capacity in steep positions. This crane has a maximum capacity of 109 tonnes at an 18 m radius, and can lift 125 tonnes at a 24 m radius when a superlift mast is attached.
The boom truck crane is another that can go virtually everywhere and do pretty much everything. "Deck trucks are pickers with a deck on back, or you can have fifth-wheel mounted pickers that can pull trailers," Wyers says.
Boom trucks are getting bigger, a benefit when used in places like the oilfields because they can be used for both hauling and offloading skids, reducing the amount of equipment that has to be on site. This 26-tonne Terex BT 26106 Super Stinger is based on a rough terrain crane design so that it can handle extremely harsh environments.
Gantry cranes are mounted on frames and run along rails on the ground. They can move forward and backward as well as left to right, but only within the frame. Typically found in factories, they are often used many times an hour but may also be purchased for use just once or twice a year.
This double-girder gantry crane, engineered and manufactured by JMF Cranes & Hoists in Laval, Que., is for outdoor use, can lift up to 10 tonnes and has a relatively high lift of 43 m. Because it's used outdoors, all components from electrics to motors, controls and panels are specially protected from temperature and climate extremes.
All Terrain mobile cranes are good for "pretty much anything and everything," says Brad Wyers, estimator for Stampede Crane and Rigging Inc. in Calgary. They can be used in a variety of conditions, including in muddy off-road areas, and are found on all kinds of construction sites, from the oilfields to city centres.
Terex's AC 100/4L, for example, can be used in tight locations, handle even the heaviest loads and is compact so it can fit in more places. It operates within a 12-tonne axle load to keep transport costs low.
Lattice boom cranes are truck cranes used on job sites that are difficult to access or have limited space. This one is the TC 2800-1 from Terex. It's similar to the crawler crane, except the narrow track chassis is replaced with a truck-mounted chassis.
These cranes can save users time and money because they are easy to transport - this one can be used on roads with up to a 12-tonne axle load limit. If outrigger support wheels are added to the TC 2800-1, it can be moved around the job site, as long as the ground is even.