Three Basic Types of Overhead Cranes

Overhead cranes are a staple in industrial facilities and warehouses, helping to lift, move, and transport heavy loads with speed and precision. But did you know there are several different types of overhead cranes, each with their own unique characteristics and applications?

In this post, we’ll explore the three basic types of overhead cranes:

  1. Top-Running Bridge Cranes Top-running bridge cranes are the most common and widely used type of overhead crane. As the name suggests, the bridge of this crane runs on top of parallel runways or rails that are supported by the building’s structure.

The trolley and hoist mechanism travel along the length of the bridge, allowing the crane to cover a wide area. Top-running bridge cranes are highly versatile and can handle a wide range of capacities, from a few hundred pounds to hundreds of tons.

  1. Underhung Crane Systems Unlike top-running cranes, underhung cranes have the bridge suspended from the building’s support structure, rather than running on top of it. The trolley and hoist mechanism are supported from underneath the bridge.

Underhung cranes are better suited for lighter-duty applications, with typical capacities ranging from 1 to 10 tons. They often require less building clearance than top-running models and can be an economical solution for some facilities.

  1. Gantry Cranes Gantry cranes feature a bridge that is supported by legs that extend down to the floor, rather than being suspended from overhead runways. This leg structure gives gantry cranes greater mobility, as they can be wheeled or rail-mounted to different locations within a facility.

Gantry cranes are commonly used outdoors or in areas without overhead building support. They come in both portable/movable versions as well as more permanent, fixed-location models. Gantry cranes can handle capacities ranging from a few tons up to hundreds of tons.

The specific type of overhead crane that’s best for your application will depend on factors like:

  • The size and weight of the loads you need to handle
  • The available overhead space and building clearance
  • Whether the crane needs to be portable or fixed in location
  • Your budget and facility layout constraints

Consulting with a material handling expert can help you determine the optimal overhead crane configuration for your unique operational requirements. Choosing the right crane type is essential for maximizing productivity, safety, and efficiency in your facility.

Want to know more? We’re here to guide your operation to efficiency! 

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