Hydraulic Cranes

Hydraulic Cranes

Hydraulic Cranes

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Hydraulic Cranes

Hydraulic cranes operate on a very simple concept, but can lift incredible amounts of weight - making them invaluable pieces of machinery for building or road construction, pipe-laying, railroads, factories, dockyards, mines and hundreds of other instances where bulky or weighty objects must be lifted and shifted.

Hydraulic cranes are normally designated by how much they can lift - in other words, a 30 ton crane can lift 30 tons. Incompressible fluid (such as oil which is at its maximum density) is used to provide resistance to alternating pistons. When one piston pushes down against the oil, the oil pushes up against another piston. A pump is used to create initial pressure to move the pistons.

Hydraulic cranes are generally composed of an engine and cab mounted on a steel frame and propelled by heavy tires or metal tracks (the latter known as crawler cranes). A boom extends up into the air, providing height; a job may extend of at an angle form the boom to provide additional reach and allow the crane to lift further out from its own center of gravity. Many hydraulic cranes feature a telescoping boom, which can be raised or lowered with ease and without changing the angle of the boom. A large gear allows the hydraulic crane’s boom to rotate (in some cases up to a full 360 degrees).

Counterweights can be used to help balance the load, and outriggers may extend from the hydraulic crane’s base to provide additional support and stability. Reinforced-steel cable lines run from a winch behind the operator's cab and extend up and over the boom and jib. The cables end in a heavy hook for lifting (a metal ball or weight weighing several hundred pounds may also be present to keep the hook from swinging when there is no load on it.)

Hydraulic cranes are used for lifting huge beams into place when building bridges; in the steel industry for handling steel; in the automotive industry for shifting raw material; and even by zoos and aquariums for moving large animals including elephants and whales. Cranes are also a familiar sight at docks, where they are used to move containers to and from freighters.

Some of the best hydraulic cranes are manufactured by the Manitowoc company, which builds crawler cranes, Grove which provides mobile telescoping cranes, and the Tadano Mantis Corporation which creates custom hydraulic cranes for a wide range of industries.

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