Overhead cranes are mechanical equipment used to lift and move heavy objects within a definite space. They are mainly used in industrial buildings to move goods around. However, they can also be used for other purposes such as feeding raw material into a manufacturing machine, moving components vertically, horizontally along a product production line, and moving goods to shipment yards.
Why use an overhead crane?
Overhead cranes are a default part of almost all industrial processes. However, there are several reasons for an industry or a manufacturer to use an overhead crane. Some of these reasons are listed below:
- The use of overhead cranes greatly minimises the use of manpower and also saves valuable time. Workers cannot be used to tow and lift and heavy objects beyond a particular limit. The cranes’ help does this process more efficiently, in less amount of time. With an overhead crane, the lifting, manoeuvring, loading and unloading of goods becomes automated.
- Overhead cranes also reduce the number of accidents caused during the shifting of goods. There is a lesser hazard to the workers. It saves them from direct physical injuries and muscle strain. They can also be used to transport corrosive or dangerous elements that cannot be moved using human workers.
- The use of these cranes also reduces the possibility of product damage. The materials or components can be safely moved without having to worry about breakage or disorientation.
- These cranes also have many indirect benefits. The overall workflow is improved, and the total cost is reduced in the long run. In addition, these cranes are environmentally friendly, cost-effective, time-saving equipment.
How to choose the right type of overhead crane?
The cranes come in several varieties and can be classified based on several factors. So it would be best if you had a rough understanding of the available types of overhead cranes and their functionality to help you decide which crane type is best suited for your particular need.
- Single girder and double girder bridge cranes: These cranes have two overhead runways on either side of the building structure. The crane uses these runways as a track and moves up and down. The side to side movement is provided with the aid of a trolley and a hoist. Single girder cranes have a simple hoist and trolley design, and hence they are much cheaper and require only light runway beams. They are also faster to install, but their capacity is lesser than that of the double girder cranes. So for heavy-duty application prefer a double girder bridge crane. If not, a single girder crane is a lot better.
- Gantry cranes: Unlike the bridge cranes that use overhead runways, these cranes use crane legs that move on fixed rails. They can be used even in outdoor systems where full beams and columns are not possible. They can be found in bridge construction projects, in steel mills, shipyards etc.
- Indoor cranes: Based on the method of operation, they can be classified as EOTs (electrically overhead travelling) and HOTs (one hoist track). These cranes are used in assembly lines and warehouses. Generally, EOTs have a higher capacity and better manoeuvrability.
Apart from these types, there are also other minor types like workstation cranes, monorail cranes and jib cranes. You can choose your ideal crane by looking at the features such as the motion of the crane structure, capacity required, location of usage (indoors or outdoors), expected frequency of use, and the span and size of the crane.