What is an Overhead Crane?
In the simplest terms possible, an overhead crane is a device, or piece of machinery, that enables you to precisely lift and transfer heavy objects from one place to another. Each overhead crane is designed for a specific purpose or application to meet a business’s material handling demands. Hence there is no “one size fits all” definition of an overhead crane.
Different components can be swapped or engineered into overhead cranes to increase capacity and performance. Overhead cranes can be designed and constructed in a variety of configurations. The following are some of the most common justifications for deploying an overhead crane:
- 1. Material loading or unloading from the truck
- 2. Moving goods more effectively than a tow motor or human labour can
- 3. Turning or removing dies from stamping equipment at a manufacturing site
- 4. Raw materials being fed into a machine at a factory
- 5. Controlled movement of components or parts down an assembly line
- 6. Container movement in a shipyard or railyard
There are two primary reasons why a business might want to put a Light Crane System, or several overhead cranes, at their facility in addition to streamlining some of the processes mentioned above:
Overhead cranes can work up to 2-3 times faster than a team of employees or tow motors and are more effective at lifting and moving items. Consider how a company, mill, or warehouse could automate the lifting, moving, and unloading of materials at their facility to expedite their processes and procedures.
Installing an overhead crane in a warehouse, assembly line, or industrial facility has the added benefit of increasing safety. Cranes can handle caustic or dangerous items like hot metals, chemicals, and big loads and lift and move materials in harsh settings. A workstation or jib crane might be installed to assist workers in moving large objects in a controlled manner and reduce repetitive motion injuries and muscle strains.
What are the Components of an Overhead Crane?
A hook attached to the hoist supports the raised load.
The hoist performs the lift and uses a wire rope or chain to hold, raise, or lower the weight. The power sources for hoists include electricity, compressed air, and manual labour (pneumatic).
A load-bearing beam that spans the width of the structure is called a bridge. This main structural element links the runways and uses a trolley to move the hoist forward and backwards.
One or two beams can make up a bridge; these designs are more frequently referred to as single-girder or double-girder designs. Girders can be produced by welding the beams together into a steel box design or built of rolled steel.
Runway: The surface that the bridge crane uses to go up and down the bays. There are normally two (2) of them per overhead bridge crane system, and they serve as beams in the structure of the building.
What are the Different Types of Overhead Cranes?
Jib cranes come in a variety of designs and types, but they do not use a runway or a track system. They come in a wide range of capacities, heights, and spans and can be wall- or column-mounted or stand-alone. Jib cranes are practical, affordable, and great for tasks like navigating tight spaces or moving parts for assembly. Even small ones may hoist several tonnes of cargo, normally rotating between 180° and 360°.
Workstation cranes are made to provide operators with an ergonomic way to move or raise objects with little effort in a condensed workspace. Workstation cranes are typically lighter-duty machines with a lifting capacity of 150 lbs to 2 tonnes. They are made to lift things repeatedly while boosting worker productivity and streamlining job processes. Workstation cranes come in top-running and bottom-running designs and can be freestanding or ceiling-hung. Workstation cranes’ adaptability, customizability, and ability to grow via modular design make them desirable.
We hope this article can help you understand an overhead crane more fundamentally. In the simplest terms, an overhead crane precisely transports materials or large items from one place to another. When assembling a product, a crane’s design can be as straightforward as a jib crane that moves material in an arc of 5 feet. A 50-ton double girder top-running bridge crane used for hot-dip galvanising at a steel plant is another example of how complicated it may be.