If you're expanding your warehouse operation, you may be in the market for some new material handling equipment, like overhead cranes. If you've never bought an overhead crane before, you may not know what your options are or what you should be looking for. Understanding the basics of the choices is the first place to start. Here's a look at what you should know before you invest.

What Types Of Overhead Cranes Are Available?

Overhead cranes are available in four primary types. Depending on the type of project you're planning, you may need one or several.

  • Gantry Cranes - A gantry crane connects to a track attached to the floor. The bridge portion of the crane, which transports the trolley and hoist, is connected to a set of solid steel legs. Those legs run along the floor track to move the load to its destination.
  • Jib Cranes - Jib cranes rely on a boom assembly and pivoting head to transport the hoist and trolley. Usually, the mast is attached to the floor. You can get models with a complete boom rotation or with a half-circle rotation. These are good when you need to be able to have flexibility in the load placement instead of a straight travel line.
  • Overhead Traveling Bridge Cranes - These cranes are connected to an elevated system that runs the length of the factory. You can usually choose between both single and double girder formats, making them a versatile option. With these girder choices and the flexibility of the hook movement, you'll be able to handle loads both precisely and gently.
  • Monorail - A monorail crane system is unique in that it operates with only two travel directions. The hook can only move up and down or across the central monorail beam. These systems are best used in continuous function facilities like metal foundries that have consistent production lines.

Things You Should Consider While Shopping

When you start shopping for an overhead crane system, the first things you're likely to consider include things like the length of the lift, the coverage area of the hook and the basic weight capacity. In addition to those factors, there are a few other things that you should think about.

You'll want to look for a crane system that's going to include safety features to secure the load in place and keep your workers safe on the site. You'll also want to have a crane that is durable enough for the amount of use your shop will demand of it. If it's a low-demand environment, you don't need a crane that's as durable as if you're going to need to keep it running at all times. Finally, you'll want to make sure that you know how much free movement you need from the hook system. You don't want to lock into a crane that's restricted to parallel movement if you need a system that allows you to move the load in many directions.

You'll also need to think about the routine maintenance requirements that any system might need. Ensure that your company will be able to meet those maintenance demands. In addition, look at the availability of employee training to ensure that your staff understands how to operate the crane properly. These two things will reduce the risk of downtime once you've installed the crane system.

Sometimes, the best way to approach the process is by working with a crane supplier who can come in and inspect your facility. By having someone on site to help you, you'll be more likely to get the crane that's going to fit seamlessly into your operation. The hands-on approach also ensures that you have the proper dimensions from your system. For example, a skilled crane supplier will be able to measure the space to ensure that you have proper clearance This eliminates the risk of missing a measurement and ending up with a system that's too big for your space.

For more information, talk with crane suppliers or see this website.