By Jim on 30th December

An overhead crane is used to lift heavy loads on a building site or in other industrial environments. It might also be known as a bridge crane and it is a large structure that is permanently in place, unlike other smaller types of crane like a mobile crane.

An overhead crane has parallel runways, and a bridge that goes between them, which is where the term bridge crane comes from. It is different to a gantry crane because it is not supported by rigid legs.

There are many different fields and applications that make use of overhead cranes. Some of the main industries where you might find these particular types of lifting equipment are:

  • Steel refinement
  • Automobiles
  • Paper mills
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Shipping

It can be used in lots of other applications as well – it depends on the best crane for your requirements. If you need to find out the best crane for you, it is best to ask a supplier. They will be able to carry out an assessment and find out what you would use your crane for, and how you can purchase the right kinds of lifting equipment for you. By seeing the site for themselves, any good supplier will be able to asses the space you have and advise you on your crane choices and the suitability of different crane models for your site.

Overhead cranes are usually used to transport materials from one area to another – they are not just for lifting. The main factor to take into consideration is the space required. Overhead cranes are never small and are always permanent, meaning they need to fit into the space available. You should think carefully about the type of crane you want and how you can accommodate it. If you have a smaller floor space, it might be that a jib crane or a transportable crane will serve you better for your specific purpose.

If you do decide on a bridge or overhead crane, here are some of the key benefits you will enjoy:

  • Increased productivity. A crane helps lifting processes to take place quicker and with less effort. This means that more work can be carried out in the same space of time.
  • Reduced costs. Whilst the initial cost of a crane is going to be quite high, it will be cheaper in the long run than hiring out transportable cranes as and when you need them. If you use cranes on a regular basis, an overhead crane will pay for itself quite quickly.
  • Better health and safety. Using the correct kind of lifting equipment reduces the strain on staff. They will simply need to be educated in how to operate the crane, and from then on, their work will be much easier and much safer, as it reduces the need for manual lifting.

Some of the main components you need to know about are:

  • The hook – used to support the load
  • Hoist – used to lift the load
  • Trolley – moves across the crane bridge
  • Bridge – the load-bearing beam that the trolley attaches to