One of the most common types of machinery seen at job sites around the world is a crane. However, what many often don’t realize is that companies working on job sites rarely own their own cranes. Cranes are extremely expensive to purchase, and even more expensive to maintain. The majority of the time, construction companies and other contractors will turn to a crane rental company to provide the equipment they need.
This is also advantageous for the renter because there are a wide variety of cranes available, often with different methods of movement or operation. Turning to an experienced crane rental center allows them to pair the right crane to the exact needs of their job, improving safety and work efficiency in the process.
In this blog, we will briefly discuss how cranes work, the types of cranes typically found at crane rental companies, and what you should know before renting.
- How Mobile Cranes Work
Various types of cranes can have major differences in how they are built and, particularly, how they move around. However, the basics of how a crane works are similar across all types of cranes.
Cranes start with an extremely large and heavy base, which is necessary to support the weight which will be lifted. Often, a crane will include outriggers, legs, and other methods of support to create additional stability. The crane itself is mounted on top of the base, with a cab where the operator (usually) sits, and almost always includes machinery to allow the crane to rotate around. Many cranes can rotate a full 360 degrees.
From the cab, a boom extends outwards at an angle. It will be doing most of the heavy lifting. This boom is often supported by a jib, a latticework running alongside the boom to add strength to the structure. Most booms use hydraulics to power a telescoping arm that can move back and forth at will. Thanks to this combination of controls and movement vectors, a crane has the capability to pick up and move objects at a wide variety of positions and elevations.
- Types of Mobile Cranes Typically Available
Telescopic cranes are the most common type of crane seen at a job site and are what you likely think of when you hear the word “crane.” They come in a range of sizes, move about on standard-sized truck wheels, and use an arm that “telescopes” outwards to extend itself. The body of the crane often resembles a forklift truck. This means they can go almost anywhere under their own power, and – depending on local conditions – may not even require a flatbed truck for transportation.
Telescopic cranes are the go-to “all purpose” cranes, capable of a wide range of lifting, carrying, and depositing jobs. Their 360-degree rotation and adjustable arm allows them to work even in relatively small or cramped workspaces.
Crawler cranes are similar to telescopic cranes, except that they move on tank-style treads rather than wheels. This gives them excellent off-road capabilities, as well as allowing them to work on somewhat uneven surfaces – such as the dirt at the bottom of a dig site – without compromising safety. They are slow to move and require more space to maneuver than many wheel-based cranes but can still handle jobs no other crane can reach.
As the name suggests, rough terrain cranes are designed for use in deep off-road environments, where even treads would have difficulty maintaining maneuverability. Rough terrain cranes utilize huge earthmover-style tires and utilize both all-wheel-drive and all-wheel-steering to give them the best possible traction and mobility, even in extremely challenging environments. To add to their stability, they utilize outriggers which can be planted into the ground and prevent any additional side-to-side motion.
Due to their size, rough terrain cranes are rarely seen at job sites. Rather, they are most commonly used in operations such as logging or mining which may be far away from any maintained roads. They can also be useful in construction projects happening under rugged circumstances, such as building bridges or railroads.
All-terrain cranes carry over features from both telescopic and rough terrain cranes, to create a “jack of all trades” which can go almost anywhere. They utilize a truck-style cab but generally, have more than four wheels. Some models may have six, eight, or even ten axles. This allows them to move down most roadways under their own power (local laws permitting) while also having the stability and reliability to work in a wide variety of job sites that may be off-road or otherwise in the mud.
In terms of operation, they are similar to basic telescoping cranes, although they may or may not have a 360-degree rotation.
Carry deck cranes are generally the smallest units you’re likely to find at a crane rental operation, designed for lighter-duty work or for working inside very tight quarters. Their overall size is generally comparable to a pickup truck, with a cab alongside a small telescoping crane arm. However, the smallest models may even be the size of a compact car and only include standing controls. Due to their small size, they often have four legs at their four corners which extend downward to improve stability.
Of course, their small size also gives them exceptional mobility. They can go almost anywhere. Some may even be deployed inside warehouses, aircraft hangers, drydocks, or similar indoor structures. They’re an excellent option for moving equipment or stock which is too heavy for individual workers.
III. What You Should Know When Working with A Crane Rental Company
When you’re working with a crane rental company, things will go much more smoothly if you do some preparation beforehand. These are the most important aspects to consider.
1 – The requirements of your job and site
As discussed above, there are numerous different types of cranes available, and many are better suited – or not – for different job roles. Before renting a crane, you should know the following:
- The location of the job
- The condition of the roads leading to the job, as well as the grounds where the crane will be operated
- Height, width, and other clearance requirements at the site
- What materials will be moved, including their size and weight
- The estimated length of the crane’s job.
- Any special considerations that might make the job site challenging
2 – Do you need operators?
Cranes require specialist training and licensing to legally operate. Do you have anyone in your organization who is qualified to operate the crane you want to rent? If not, your crane rental company will undoubtedly be able to provide you with expert manpower along with the equipment.
3 – Your crane rental company’s reputation
As with most rental or leasing situations, you want to make sure you rent your crane from a company with a good reputation. Long experience in the field is a plus, as are referrals from other professionals in your industry. Ask around or look for reviews online.
In particular, you want to make sure your crane rental partner has been keeping up with maintenance. If necessary, ask to see their maintenance documentation. A reputable outfit will happily show you proof.
4 – Their commitment to safety
Cranes are extremely useful pieces of machinery, but they can also be incredibly dangerous – particularly when they are carrying a lifted load. You want a crane rental partner which is truly dedicated to safety. This means having well-trained and well-vetted staff, as well as coming up with individual safety plans to fit the exact needs of your job site.
Often, all you need to know about whether a particular company is worth working with is their safety record. The lower the better. Once you start asking around, you should quickly get a feel for which companies truly place safety first, and which only talk about it.
If You Need A Crane Rental in Texas Or Oklahoma, Call Bobcat Contracting
Bobcat Contracting has over twenty years’ experience in selling, renting, and working with heavy machinery. Companies across Texas and Oklahoma know that they can rely on Bobcat to provide all the equipment, manpower, and expertise needed to get the job done. From laying pipeline to assisting in construction projects, we’ll see you set up with the right hardware for the job, and see it done with an impeccable eye for safety.
Contact us directly to discuss how we can make your next project a success.