What are cranes?
When we hear the word crane we usually think of modern technology or modern and innovative tools that are used for construction purposes but actually, cranes are much older than we think. Cranes were first invented in ancient Greece for heavy construction work and for the lifting of things. Back in ancient times, cranes were powered by either men or beasts; however, in modern times this obviously changed. Cranes are generally equipped with a hoist rope, wire ropes, and sheaves. Its mechanical components allow the machine to lift heavy loads and transport them to other places thanks to the powerful strength. Cranes can be used for various different applications. They are most commonly known for being used in construction; however, this does not trump the fact cranes are also extensively used for the loading and unloading of ships, oil pipelines, repairing and maintaining of railroads. And other important tasks.
Types of Cranes
There are plenty of types of cranes, and they are all designed for different purposes and activities including:
- Tower Crane: tower cranes are probably the most common type of all cranes. They are widely used for constructions of tall buildings all over the world. Tower cranes usually have a lifting capacity of approximately 20 tons
- Truck-mounted: the truck-mounted crane is one of the most commonly used cranes around the world due to the fact that they are able to travel highways, thus eliminating the need for special equipment in order to transport a machine.
- Crawler Crane: a crawler crane is a mobile crane. This machine is able to move around and perform certain tasks without many set-ups, the first crawler crane ever created dates back to the 1920s.
- Aerial Crane: Aerial Cranes also known as sky cranes are used to move objects that are hard to reach by land. Aerial cranes use cables in order to lift and transport things. Sky cranes are similar to helicopters when it comes to its appearance.
- Harbor Cranes: Harbor cranes are basically cranes that are used in ports and harbors in order to both load and unload ships.
- Railroad Crane: Railroad Cranes are cranes that are used for the purpose of constructing railway lines and repairing and maintaining of railroads.
While there are plenty of variations of cranes; however, they can be classified into two large categories:
1. Static Cranes: such as,
- Tower Crane.
- Hammerhead Crane.
- Level Luffing Crane.
- Telescopic Crane.
2. Mobile Cranes: such as,
- Rough Terrain Crane
- Truck-Mounted Crane.
- Crawler Crane.
- Aerial Crane/Flying Crane.
- Rail Road Crane.
- Floating Crane.
How do cranes work?
Despite differences of types of cranes, they all have some common features such as the way they work:
Every crane has a part that supports heavyweights. For example, a tower crane has a part that is called the mast which is responsible for carrying a heavyweight at great heights. A crane is also able to rotate thanks to a slewing unit which consists of gears and a motor. In order for a crane to be able to carry its loads, a trolley is used which is attached to the jib which is the long working arm of the machine.
2. Top 5 most powerful Cranes
Liebherr Mobile Crane
The Liebherr Crane is a mobile crane that can lift up to 1200 metric tons which is equivalent to almost 700 automobiles. This giant and the mighty machine is built by a German company called Liebherr Group and it is considered to be the most powerful mobile crane ever built but not the strongest Crane ever.
SSCV Thialf is a crane vessel. In fact, it is the biggest crane vessel in existence. This large machine houses hundreds of workers with a lifting capacity of 14200 metric tons.
The Asian Hercules
Hercules is a crane that is over 240 feet long and more than 130 feet wide and it weighs almost 6000 tons. This beast has a lifting capacity of 1600 MT which is the equivalent of almost 2000 small cars.
The Kockums Crane
The Kockums Crane is a towering 453foot gantry crane. It is used for the building of ships in Sweden. This giant machine is able to lift up to 1500 tons making it one of the most powerful cranes ever built.
Saipem 7000 is a colossal crane and is actually a vessel crane containing two cranes with 459-footlong booms. Each crane has the lifting capacity of 7000 tons which is immense. This machine can still be functional in the worst weather conditions thanks to a complex system of 12 thrusters.
In conclusion, cranes play a dominant role in the increasing number of huge buildings like skyscrapers, and other colossal machines such as warships. Without the help of cranes, mankind would have never been able to come up with so many fascinating buildings. As stated before, cranes exist in an enormous variety of forms with each types being used for certain tasks. For example, mobile cranes can perform different tasks without having to do many set-ups. They are very mobile and flexible for such large machines; however, they are very expensive and too heavy for a mobile vehicle, not to mention they are not as powerful as static cranes. On the other hand, static cranes can lift heavy weights and move them to other places but they require a lot of work and setup before even doing a basic task. On top of that, the fact that they can’t move can be problematic for certain tasks and jobs.