How do construction cranes work?

17/05/2022

Crane hire in Australia is a necessary part of the construction industry, allowing developers and business owners to conserve their cash flow and reduce their overall costs. In other words, they can save money that would otherwise be spent on purchasing, maintaining and repairing their cranes by hiring them instead.

Since some crane hire contracts can last for up to a year or more, these costs can be substantial. However, just because you don’t own these cranes, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t understand how they work, even if you aren’t the person operating the crane. After all, the more knowledge you possess, the better your site is managed and the sooner the project is completed.

So let’s take a look at tower cranes vs mobile cranes since both are popular within the construction industry. Then we’ll take a look at how mobile cranes work and how versatile they are on construction sites.

Tower cranes vs mobile cranes

As the leading provider of mobile crane hires in Australia, we don’t offer tower cranes because there’s a bigger demand for the more versatile mobile cranes. This versatility is clearly demonstrated when you compare the start-up processes of tower cranes with mobile cranes, and then consider the use of mobile cranes on site.

That’s because a tower crane needs to start with a solid concrete foundation, followed by using a mobile crane to begin assembling the tower crane. Once it reaches a certain height, however, the tower crane itself takes over its own assembly, as follows.

Creating a solid foundation for a tower crane

Tower crane hire isn’t a simple matter of immediate deployment on-site. Instead, these massive tower cranes require an equally massive concrete foundation to provide a solid, level and secure foundation. The type of soil, the height of the crane, type and weight of loads are all required to calculate the size of the concrete slab. Once ready, the base of the tower crane is bolted to the concrete slab and a mobile crane begins the assembly.

Beginning the build with a mobile crane

The mobile crane starts to build the tower, lifting each section into place, one on top of the other. Once a certain height is reached the mobile crane then lifts the jib, counter jib and cabin into place. At this point, the actual tower crane is already assembled, but it’s not reached its required height. This is left to the tower crane to complete.

Allowing the tower crane to finish assembly

Each tower crane can be built to a different height with the addition of new sections that can be included in your original crane hire contract. However, if, for some reason, you need additional sections, these can be hired from us during your contracted period.

So since the tower crane is essentially complete at this stage, it can now lift its own new sections and slot them into the boom (using a hydraulic jack) to increase its height. At this final stage in the assembly, it’s critical that the counterweights are perfectly balanced to prevent the crane from tipping over as its height is increased.

Assembling a mobile crane onsite

Whether you hire a truck-mounted crane or one that’s attached to a loader, our cranes are ready to go when they reach your site. All that’s needed is to level and secure the crane using the counterweights and outriggers, and once stable, it’s good to go.

How do mobile cranes work?

It’s no wonder that mobile crane hire in Australia is so popular, given how quickly they can be deployed on-site. They are the preferred choice on most work sites unless the height and reach of a tower crane are a necessity. So let’s take a look at how mobile cranes actually work.

How much weight can mobile cranes lift?

At Quinlan Cranes, our mobile cranes can lift anything from 20 tonnes to 250 tonnes. Our Franna cranes can lift up to 25 tonnes, and our all-terrain and rough terrain cranes can lift up to 250 tonnes. If you’re not sure which crane hire option is best for your job, just give us a call and chat with one of our friendly team members.

How do mobile cranes operate?

Once their counterweights are balanced and outriggers deployed, the boom can be activated to start taking the load. Some of our mobile crane hires have telescopic booms that increase the crane’s reach, making them ideal for confined spaces or oversailing.

Another great feature of mobile cranes is that they can lift a load and carry it to another location very easily. They can also be used to erect a tower crane (as mentioned previously) and to stack loads to be lifted by tower cranes.

Read more about how to safely operating mobile cranes in dangerous weather conditions here.

Australia's leading providers of crane hire vehicles

If you’re looking for crane hire in Melbourne or Geelong, you can’t do better than Quinlan Cranes. We can help you select the best crane hire for your worksite, whether it’s a single lift or a longer contract hire for the life of your project. Call us on 03 5275 8595 for more information.
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