Construction Cranes 101

Blog, Cranes

Before you attend a crane operator school like West Coast Training, you may want to familiarize yourself with the different types of heavy machinery you’ll be learning about. There are many different types of construction cranes, each specialized to perform a different task, depending upon what the job requires. Often, you’ll see several different types of cranes at one jobsite, each one working tirelessly to handle a certain element of the project.

We’ll discuss the different types of cranes and where they are most commonly used. West Coast Training offers certifications in all of these.

What Is a Crane?

The dictionary defines a crane as “a large, tall machine used for moving heavy objects by suspending them from a projecting arm or beam.”

Cranes are actually quite simple devices, utilizing the principle of leverage to hoist weights up to incredible heights. Using a technique known as “mechanical advantage,” cranes are able to lift a great deal of weight, provided they are strong enough to hold the load without breaking. They must also be properly counterbalanced, otherwise, they run the risk of toppling when the load is applied.

Modern construction cranes are designed from heavy-duty, advanced materials and often have computerized help in order to move the maximum amount of weight without toppling. Operators also undergo a rigorous certification program at schools like West Coast Training to ensure they can safely handle the machine.

Types of Cranes

While the basic principles remain the same regardless of the type of construction crane being used, other characteristics vary, depending on the needs of the job.

Lattice Boom Crawler

For large-scale jobs that require a crane to be transported over uneven terrain, the lattice boom crawler is a common choice. With treads that can drive across rubble and other unpaved areas with ease, the lattice boom crawler crane is used for the biggest jobs with the heaviest loads.

Telescopic Boom Swing-Cab Crane

When a construction crane with maximum maneuverability is required, the telescopic boom swing-cab crane is recruited to the task. “Telescopic boom” means that the boom, or arm, of the crane can be extended and retracted depending upon the need. “Swing cab” means that the cab, or operator’s compartment, can swivel 360 degrees, allowing the operator to face the crane in any direction.

Fixed-Cab Crane

The ability of a crane to swivel isn’t always advantageous. It is a benefit when maneuverability is required, but in some cases, it is more important to maximize the strength of the crane. In this case, a fixed cab, one that does not move, may be utilized.

This type of crane can be either mobile (installed on a truck or treads) or immobile, depending upon the task it will be used for.

Jobs That Require Cranes

Cranes are used in all types of construction jobs. Once you have earned your crane certification from West Coast Training, a world of opportunities will open up to you.

You may help build high rises, clear rubble, or even perform maritime jobs such as lifting heavy loads on and off of cargo ships. The more types of construction cranes you learn to operate, the more jobs you will be qualified for.