What Can a Mobile Crane Lift?

by | Apr 14, 2023 | Blog, Crane Certification, Crane Operator, Cranes, Heavy Equipment, Heavy Equipment School | 0 comments

If you’re considering going into professional heavy equipment training, you might have looked into the Crane Operator & Rigger program at West Coast Training. You may think this category is more narrow than some of our other classes, but the truth is, there are many kinds of cranes, and there are four certifications you can apply for after taking our mobile crane operator preparation course.

So what is a mobile crane? How does it work? And how much can it lift?

What Is a Mobile Crane?

While there are many types of mobile crane, the basic definition for this piece of heavy machinery is that it is mounted on a prime mover (something that moves) and controlled by pulleys and cables. The main difference between a mobile crane and a fixed crane is mobility. A fixed crane is set in one place in the course of the job you’re working on, whereas a mobile crane can easily be moved.

Mobile cranes are especially helpful in situations where you have less space or no need for a larger crane, or if there’s some sort of rough terrain. They’re easier to set up and move around than a tower crane. A mobile crane can be set up and have its ropes and load testing usually all on the same day. A tower crane might take three or four days to build and then a day for load testing.

How Does a Mobile Crane Work?

As with any other type of crane, a mobile crane has a long arm called the boom, which the operator moves around. The end of the boom has a cable with a hook on it—this is what is raised and lowered to lift and move heavy objects. A mobile crane can be driven around a jobsite. Some have wheels and some have crawlers or are mounted on truck-like vehicles.

Civil engineering constructions often prefer crawlers, which move on a tracked undercarriage, because they are among the most stable kinds of cranes. They don’t often get bogged down in mud, so you may see these at more rugged jobsites.

Mobile cranes can lift things vertically, but there are also some types that move items horizontally at the same time.

How Much Can a Mobile Crane Lift?

A mobile crane can carry loads weighing up to 660 tons. That might seem like a pretty wide range, but there are variables to each type of mobile crane you use. What is the terrain like (all-terrain, rough terrain, city configuration)? What kind of weather do you expect (high wind and precipitation, very cold, very hot)? A crawler crane can also lift a bit more because it has a wide, steady base. As with all things, it’s important to match the right tool for each project.

If you’re looking for small class sizes, hands-on training, and lifetime graduate employment services, West Coast Training has you covered. Contact us today for more information on how our programs will help you realize your ambitions.