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Before we explore the types of cranes in the market, let’s get back to basics to understand some crane terminology. Essentially, the important parts of every crane involves: Boom: The long telescopic, or fixed arm utilized to move objects and also an essential piece of the crane Jib: The projecting arm of a crane that allows the boom freedom to extend Counterweights: Stabilisers placed near the cab’s exterior that prevent the crane from becoming unbalanced when lifting heavy loads; in other words, weights used as counterbalance Rotex Gear: A large gear underneath the operator’s cab that turns at 2 revolutions per minute (rpm) to provide the crane the ability to rotate and maneuver load   Types of Cranes As we have discussed in History of Heavy Lifting: Evolution of Cranes, civilization has significantly advanced from the times of our ancestors in terms of heavy lifting and in construction. But in a quick gist, a crane is a structure equipped with cables and pulleys commonly used in construction industry to lift and lower items as well as in manufacturing heavy equipment. Overall, a crane’s lifting capacity and stability are the most crucial criteria in crane design. There are several types of cranes in the market so let’s begin the list: Mobile Cranes As the name suggests, the crane is mounted on a mobile platform such as a rail or wheeled. It is the most basic type of crane that has a steel truss or telescopic boom that is hinged at the base and using cables or hydraulic cylinders, the boom can be raised or lowered. Most times mounted on vehicles for the convenience of transportation, additional equipment is therefore, not necessary to transport the crane to job sites. Telescopic Cranes For the flexibility of adjusting the length of the boom, the telescopic crane has an extendable boom with a number of tubes fitted one inside the other. With a speedy set up, telescopic cranes are most suited for emergency or rescue operations. In addition to its precision, these cranes are able to move heavy loads with accuracy and are not just manoeuver around easily but are also able to reach great heights. Tower Cranes Better utilised during construction of tall buildings, a tower crane is a modern form of a balance crane. This is due to it being fixed to the ground during construction period and is held in place by mounting over a strong concrete pad so that anchor bolts can be embedded into the pad. With it secured, this helps to balance and hold the crane when it is lifting heavy loads. Most of tower cranes can reach up to 265ft out to 230ft with a lifting capacity of approximately 20 tonnes. Rough Terrain Cranes Designed for off road operations, a crane is mounted on an undercarriage with four rubber tires and are run on a single engine machine whereby the sole engine powers both the undercarriage and the crane. To level and stabilise the crane when hoisting, outriggers are used to extend the crane vertically and horizontally. In most instances, the engine is normally mounted in the undercarriage instead of in the upper portion. Crawler Cranes Not requiring outriggers for stability, a crawler crane is mounted to a chassis with a set of tracks instead of tires. Whilst it is usually mobile on site, it generally needs to be disassembled and loaded on to transport trucks for transportation between sites. For crawler cranes, they have a lifting capacity from 40 tonnes to 3,500 tonnes. Loader Cranes To load equipment onto a trailer, a loader crane with hydraulically powered articulated arm that is fitted to a trailer is used. When the crane is not in use, its many sections are gathered into a confined space. Overhead Cranes Also known as a suspended crane, this is meant to lift extremely heavy loads and most times used in factories. For this, the hoist is set on a trolley that will move in one direction along one or two beams which move at angles to the direction along elevated or ground level tracks. Aerial Cranes Otherwise known as sky cranes, they are helicopters used to cater wholly for exceedingly heavy loads. Useful when conventional cranes cannot work, these cranes have been useful in disaster mitigation and risk relief operations. Floating Cranes Customarily used in waterway construction such as bridges, ports and dams, they are either mounted on pontoons or on special barges. These are the several typical cranes used in construction and there are many other cranes such as fixed cranes, sidelifter cranes used for specific functions. But one thing constant across every type of crane is the enforcement of safety measures and compliance to rules and regulations to ensure a successful operation.   Source: